Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Does it matter to you?

by Jen Warner
The team debriefs the memorial at
J Lynn's with Jen and Serge (and Beni)
    This morning we went to the genocide memorial in Kigali. It is nearly impossible for me to describe how I felt walking through the memorial.  I could not find any words to say, any emotions to feel, and even my thoughts were empty. Once I was outside the building my thoughts started to return to me. Outside there were mass graves of those who were killed in the genocide. I was viewing one of these graves and I noticed a basket of flowers with a ribbon across it that said “Genocide never again.” My heart sank when I read this because as much as I would like to believe this is true there was an entire section of the museum dedicated to multiple genocides that have happened all around the world. These atrocities are even happening today and will unfortunately probably happen in the future.

     There was one particular paragraph I remember reading while walking through the memorial. It stated that when the genocide started many of the countries that had diplomats or citizens in Rwanda sent in their troops to get these people out safely. The number of international troops pulling their own citizens out would have been enough to stop the genocide in the beginning. I remember thinking if those troops would have stayed and helped out this memorial I am standing in right now might not even exist.

     After the memorial, we went  back to J Lynn’s for lunch and to debrief our morning with Jen and Serge. We talked a lot about the international involvement after someone brought up the question “ Why did it take so long for other countries to respond?” We got into a discussion about why other countries do not respond. Some of the reasons we came up with are they do not want to put their own citizens in danger, they do not want to intervene if they do not benefit in doing so, they think it is a problem the country needs to solve on it’s own to become stronger and many other reasons. It is so frustrating that many times the international community will not intervene just because it is morally the right thing to do. 

     We then got into how even today there are so many conflicts going on in countries that most people have either stopped paying attention to or do nothing about. There was an entire section of the memorial dedicated to other genocides, none of which i had learned about in school or even heard about before besides the Holocaust.  I feel hypocritical being angry when the international community does not step in because I myself am in a way guilty of this. Many times I'll hear about a problem in another country on the news, then soon forget about it. I remember Jen Kamari then asking, “ Does what’s going on in these countries matter to you? Do you care?” 

     This discussion got me really fired up as I began to process what was being said. Of course I care, but what can I do to help? I have been considering a career in the field of international relations for a few years now, was today a sign that this is what I should do? I am still not sure about many other things including these two but I hope to find the answers throughout the rest of my time here. 

Jen Warner 
The team with downtown Kigali in the background



  1. J-War! I'm so happy to hear from you :) What you said in the last part about going into international relations is really cool and I hope that you do find clarity by the end of the trip. I'll pray for that!! And I'm sure it is the first of many signs of God on this trip and I can't wait to hear about them!!

  2. Tears in my eyes, Jen. Imagine if this experience helps to shape your career. Certainly it is shaping your point of view and priorities. What a gift.

  3. Thanks for the daily updates.

    I knew this would be a hard day. In fact, I shared a bit with the participants in my workshop today based on what I knew from the participants on the last trip to Rwanda. None of them had ever seen Hotel Rwanda, so I suggested they rent it. I'm sure that was not even enough to prepare you.

    I look forward to hearing more when you return.

  4. I could feel the intensity and emotion as I read these words. The maturity coming through in these writings is so amazing. Even though it may seem overwhelming, you all have to realize you are helping tremendously. I am so proud of you Jennifer, and how passionate you are. May you all have the perseverance to continue to do God's work.

  5. Jen, when Andy was preparing for the trip and kept talking about all the readings, the personal stories, the itinerary, I wondered exactly what you wondered "will this trip affect anyone's choice of career". Time will tell, but the Holy Spirit is certainly moving there amongst your group. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today.

  6. Jen, your blog post was very inspiring and well thought out. It's exciting to hear that the trip to the memorial has you thinking about your future and how you can help in the future as well. Stay strong through the trip and allow yourself to be open minded about everything that is to come!

  7. Very touching, Jen. THanks.