Day 11: hate media/rebuilding journalism/trivia

I’m sitting in our Kigali-living room, trying to catch up on my blogging as everybody else crowds around the breakfast table, chatting and laughing and drinking their tea and coffee.
I’m feeling a little groggy after staying up late last night. Tim, one of the other students, spent yesterday afternoon digging us a fire pit in the backyard and last night most of us stayed up around the campfire, drinking massive Rwandan beers and talking about life and dreams.
We had two lectures in the morning, one from a senator who is also an academic expert in linguistics and how media before the genocide used hate language to incite violence, and one from the founder of the Rwandan News Agency, one of the first news organizations to emerge after the genocide. They both offered interesting insight into how a country’s media can descend into the worst type of hate propaganda, implode in genocide, and then be forced to rebuild (or start anew) and serve a new role in a recovering society.
In the afternoon a group of us set out to find internet to do some research for our class projects. As has become the trend here, however, we had difficulty finding a solid signal at either the Kigali library or the Discovery Youth Hostel. Still, it was a pleasant afternoon, filled with conversation as we sat and waited for webpages to fail to load. Noah, N., and I walked home right as the sun was getting low in the sky and everything was bathed in fading light.

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We went out for dinner to an Italian restaurant full of ex pats. It was trivia night and our table of six struggled through about 100 questions, as we gobbled up pizza and pasta. In the end, against all odds, team L’Enfant Terrible and The Howlin’ Commanders came in third place against a restaurant full of competitive (often overly-so) North Americans and Europeans who attend trivia night on a weekly basis. Our table cried of laughter as the ex-pats rolled their eyes.
We returned to our fire pit and set up around the crackling flames.
This weekend was Victoria Day weekend at home—May 2-4, all the Ontario kids call it—so we celebrated with beers and life talks. It was one of the nicest evenings of the trip so far, I think, gathered around the warmth of the flames and talking, talking, talking, underneath Kigali stars.

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