23. SCHOOL HEROINE MEMORIAL
After leaving Kibuye we could have stayed on the same dirt road to Gisenyi at the top of Lake Kivu but our destination was Bugesera, near Kigali, so we turned east on the main highway toward Gitarama.
Oliver and the driver knew of a genocide site and school a little way down the road and so we turned off into the hills to go visit. Below is the fenced off area (behind the three children) of a memorial, the name and details of which I don't know. Notice the flag-draped fences next to the red gate at the front.
After leaving this site we drove very high up a windy road to a schoolyard which was empty because every teacher and student were in class. I wanted to leave, before disturbing everyone, but before we could make our getaway a teacher came out. We were taken into the principal's office and explained to him that we had school supplies, soccer shirts and a soccer ball for the students. He was very happy to receive everything and was sure the children would be too, once they were told at recess.
As we were leaving (with students waving out the doors and windows) the teacher told us this school was the site of resistance by students who had refused to say who was Hutu or Tutsi when genocidaires had come to kill them. It was in 1997 - three years after the genocide was over - that killers from the Congo came back into Rwanda to resume the genocide. They arrived at the school and barged into the classrooms, demanding the students separate themselves into those to be killed and those to be allowed to live. The students stood as one and the killing began. But miraculously a RPF contingent of soldiers was nearby and came to the rescue before many students were cut down. I believe approximately six died in all.
The teacher took us to the memorial site of the grave of a brave young woman who has been honoured as a national hero, representing the stand the students took here.
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