The story continues: part 5

Alice and Immanuel  feature in From Genocide to Generosity. They are the pair of smiling faces on the Home page of this website.

Early in 2014 they were visited by a reporter from the Australian newspaper, accompanied by the media person from World Vision of Australia. When Alice invited the visitors to her home, the journalist noticed a tea towel, a cloth a souvenir cloth hanging on the wall of Alice’s home. Who gave you that? he enquired. It was a gift of John Steward, said Alice. Who is John Steward? they asked. Alice explained a little and Josephine, who was escorting the group, added her own explanation. Josephine Munyeli was a member of my team; she now holds the equivalent of my old position in World Vision Rwanda.

Alice at home

When the journalist returned home I spoke with him and explained the background to the work of healing and forgiveness in Rwanda. I stressed that forgiveness is not exoneration, it is not pretending that terrible things did not happen, it is not allowing the perpetrator to go free, but it does set the wounded (in spirit) person free from the perpetrator’s ‘power’ over them. Alice and Immanuel are an example that forgiveness does not dissolve the consequences of wrong acts, nor remove the need for Justice; forgiveness is part of the journey, a choice for which every individual must take their own time. It always benefits the one who forgives, while it may have little impact on the one who offended. In this case Immanuel can smile because he asked for forgiveness from his victim and she chose to do that.

The journalist presented some of these thoughts in the weekend Australian in early April 2014 commemorating the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide. You can see that on the Facebook page with the same title. The fuller, amazing story is in From Genocide to Generosity, where Alice and Immanuel are referred to by their Kinyarwanda names: Mukarurinda and Ndayisaba.

Mukarurinda-&-Ndayisaba

The story continues: part 4

On publishing the book: the copy-ready manuscript is at the publishers in the UK. The boutique publisher, Langham Global, focuses on the Majority World of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Most marketers favour the richer countries of North America, Europe and the southern hemisphere. Langham recognises that the content of the book is needed all over the world. So on-line orders for the paperback version and an e-book will be available. Read More

The story continues: part 3

After 18 months work drawing together the stories from the past 15 years, by April 2014 I had a manuscript of 90,000 words. Friends read it and said it was powerful material but heavy going. In the next six months a skilful editor cut almost 30,000 words and created a wonderful flow of one story to the next.

As the book took shape I contacted an agent in the UK who had been recommended to me. His response to my introductory letter was stark: ”Rwanda, another book on Rwanda…? Why do we need another book on Rwanda?” Read More

Agaseke baskets

Agaseke basicweb

Made of natural woven fibres the Agaseke basket is a wonderful Rwandan symbol. Traditionally gifts were given to a lady at the time of her marriage; they would contain household food items assuring a basic starting supply for the couple. Tourism gave Rwandan weavers the opportunity to make mini-versions for travellers to take home a momento of the country and a reminder of progress and recovery in the people of this amazing country. Read More

Book review: Frida

Frida: chosen to die, destined to live. By Frida Gashumba, with Sandy Waldron. Sovereign World, 2007, 169pp.

After years of fearful living and daily discrimination, because they are Tutsi, Frida, at age 14, is thrown unconscious with all other members of her family into a shallow grave near their home in rural Rwanda. But Frida, and only Frida, survives.

The graphic story, which comes from the writer’s clear and vivid memories, makes up the first half of the book; I felt I was right there with her through those frightening and challenging times. Read More

The story continues: part 2

In 2012 I visited some of the Rwandans Dave had filmed. They gathered close as I opened my laptop and played some of the stories he had created from the footage and I explained how we were using it. I showed them parts of Vanishing Point, the secondary school curriculum. Their response was gasps of amazement, smiling faces and then tears of joy. One group said “We have had 100 people come and take our story, but you are the first to return to say ‘thank you’ and to tell us how you are using the information.” Read More

About us

I was born in Adelaide, South Australia. As a lad I spent the best three years of my life in a Javanese village. In the morning I did correspondence studies, in the afternoon I went barefoot and did what village boys did. I learnt the practical wisdom of peasant life and knew that the color of the skin is an insignificant difference between East and West. Read More

The story begins: part 1

In 2007 David Fullerton accompanied me on a visit to Rwanda to film the stories of people in recovery. Over two weeks, with support from donors and some logistics from World Vision, and the guidance of three young interpreters, we filmed 28 amazing hours of story, culture and background material.

When Dave shared the footage with his partner Sally Morgan, she fell in love with Rwanda and the people we’d filmed. Using funds we raised from donors and philanthropists, Dave proceeded to create 21 short video stories introducing aspects of what Rwandan women and men had experienced. Read More

New beginnings

A new website is conceived.  A country is re-born.  A book comes to birth.

New beginnings almost always require forgiveness – to forgive means letting go of something that has inhibited or hindered me. So forgiveness gives us the chance of living in a new way or adding new dimensions to life. Read More