After a two-year hiatus, Salem State students were able to take a course on the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda and travel on a service trip to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The return to Rwanda was nothing less than breathtaking. With its dense population, restaurants, public buildings, open markets and shopping centers, Kigali is a “city that never sleeps.” We were in awe of how much had changed.
The students at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village stole the hearts of all participants. Despite their devastating family histories, they were lively, hopeful and motivated, constantly demonstrating a deep desire to learn and make the best of what the village offered them. They welcomed our students with open arms and hearts and asked endless questions about their lives. We also found the staff at the village engaged and engaging, thoughtful and thought provoking.
Here are the highlights of our trip:
- A visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial
- Time spent at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, including multiple meetings with staff and students and a series of sessions about orphanhood, trauma, service and global citizenship
- A visit to the Nyamata Church Genocide Memorial
- A walk from the village to a rural market (Rubona) and a visit to Kigali’s largest covered market (Kimironko)
- A guided tour of one of Kigali’s oldest neighborhoods (Nyamirambo) with a local women’s cooperative, Nyamirambo Women’s Center
The course and trip, a life-transforming event for our students, will run again in summer session next year. We encourage students who are interested in taking the course and traveling to Rwanda in June 2023 to contact Lauren Prema as soon as possible.
We extend the deepest gratitude to the Cummings Foundation for giving us the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and enabling our students to deepen their perspective and experience as global and engaged citizens.
Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies