A month from today, I'll be leading a team of high school students on a short-term mission trip to Rwanda through International Teams. In honor of that, today, I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy in this month's edition of Twitterature in order to share short reviews of three books about Rwanda and it's neighbor, the Congo.
There have been lots of books written about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, during which ~800,000 people were killed. That said, Left to Tell is, I think, the quintessential book about the genocide. Unlike most books written about the genocide, this one is a first person account by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Immaculee survived the genocide by hiding in a bathroom. Her account is both harrowing and powerful. So, too, is her desire to forgive those who committed the genocide and even those who killed her family during it.
In the last 20 years, "over five million people have died and hundreds of thousands of women have been raped" in the Congo. The conflicts that have occurred there are complex and extraordinarily difficult to comprehend, making them something few people have attempted to write about. In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, journalist Jason Stearns explores this conflict in a way that is remarkably unbiased, daring to delve deeply into the mire that begins with the end of the Rwandan genocide. In the process, he gives a voice to the voiceless.
In A Thousand Hills to Heaven, author Josh Ruxin recounts his story of moving to Rwanda and working both to bring food and health care to the country's villages as well as opening a gourmet restaurant in Kigali. In so doing, he explores some of the root causes of poverty as well as creative ways to address them. His account of both the needs and assets of Rwanda is both honest and moving.