Born in the United States, I grew up believing that the children who lived next door or the boy who sat across from me in class had it all. Even as an adult, there are bits of me that occasionally envy the family with the perceived “perfect life;” church every Sunday, home office with a big window, stain-less carpets, and children with perfect hair. But, I know better. Life in the United States is something I take for granted. I knew this and needed to remind myself just how truly grateful I should be for the life I live in the great states. How do I do this? What do I need to see in order to really understand life outside America? I needed to leave my country and visit a place that has many struggles; where people live humbly. What I didn’t realize was that I would leave the country I chose to visit, wanting to go back and make a difference.
Rwanda is rich with many things; culture, diversity, and land. Rwanda has also perfected the art of discrimination. When my plane landed, I could not have grabbed my luggage and left the airport more quickly. I was excited for what the change in culture would bring me. What I would take home to teach my own family and friends. Some were excited to see me and others were less than thrilled to see me traipsing my way through their lands. I did what I could to respect the people and their cultures, as I did my research before coming to Rwanda. The population there is made up of mostly Hutu; traditional farmers. The rest of the population, mostly consist of Tutsi (or warrior people) and the Batwa. Though I would have enjoyed getting to know all the different people and ethnicities of Rwanda, I spent most of my time with the Batwa (Whitelaw, 2007).
The history of the Batwa is something that I came to hold close while traveling with some who are conflicted with the fear of the past and the uncertainty of their future. The Batwa were...