Rwandans Work to Rebuild Their Nation

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KIGALI, Rwanda - Fourteen years later, the memory of one million murdered people still haunts this tiny African nation.

But Rwandans are getting along and for now are focused on rebuilding their nation.

A Dramatic Transformation

It could not have been a more perfect setting.

In the garden of one of Rwanda's top hotels, Sylvia and Steven Gahamanyi are capturing their first precious moments as newlyweds.

Steven said, "This is an amazing day for me!"

The couple, along with some of their closest friends who've gathered, have a lot to smile about these days. Their capital city is undergoing a dramatic transformation.

A drive through Kigali shows the pace of change. New luxury houses, office buildings and hotels are going up.

"The economy is stable and the standard of living is good," Steven said. And so too are relations between former enemies.

"Our two tribes are getting along," said one Rwandan woman. "We've not had any trouble in the past 14 years. Life is good."

But 14 years ago, life here was anything but good.

1994 - Bloody Civil Unrest

The killings began on April 7, 1994 and when the fighting ended 100 days later, up to a million people, mostly Tutsis, had been slaughtered by Hutus. Years later, they are still finding new graves.

"The genocide is still fresh on our minds," said one survivor. "I lost so many of my relatives, not just Tutsis, but Hutus as well."

Many CBN News spoke with applauded the Rwandan government for not just rebuilding the country, but also in helping to reconcile its divided people.

Bringing the message of reconciliation and forgiveness to this country 14 years after the genocide is an enormous undertaking since the victims as well as the killers must live side-by-side.

Faced with an overburdened criminal justice system, the government has in recent years released thousands of killers after they confessed and sought forgiveness from their victims. Some 50,000 people are still in prison awaiting trial for their role in the massacres.

Anglican priest John Rucyahana said, "Is it still hurting us? Yes, it does. But we know we have a nation to build and we don't have any luxury to wait until the pain is over. If we are to make a nation, it's now!"

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CBN News
George Thomas

George Thomas

CBN News Senior Reporter

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