When you think of Rwanda, you most likely think genocide. When you think of Africa, many different words may come to mind. In an article written by Binyavanga Wainaina titled, “How to Write About Africa,” some of the words he included were “darkness,” “the sunsets” and “safaris.”
I read the Heart of Darkness in high school and never thought about what the symbolism of darkness might actually mean. I am here in Africa now, and I see more light then I have seen in a long time. By light I do not mean sun, but the brightness everyone brings to the village we are in. All the smiles we are receiving every time us “muzungus” walk though the city centre. All of the children who come running from 500 feet away laughing and yelling, jumping into our arms and reluctantly letting go of our hands as we reach the gate to our hotel. To me, this is far from darkness.
As a girl who grew up in the 1990’s, of course I am familiar with the Lion King, and the incredible sunset that goes with the movie. Not to forget all the magnificent animals, such as the lions, the hippos, the giraffes and the elephants. Wainaina also writes in his article that the wildlife is viewed as far more important than the humans in Africa, at least in the eyes of foreigners. But I look around at everyone who is working so hard in the small country of Rwanda, and they are working so hard together to rebuild their country. Although I am an outsider, I will say that I have seen a country unlike one I was expecting. One that I would never think to treat animals better than the people. One where the people who are united. One where the people who are working together. And one where a group of people have gathered together to rebuild Rwanda from the ground up.
The way people write about Africa may never change, but more should be taken into consideration for what the country has to offer. Because from what I have seen, it is far from darkness, safaris and the sunsets, although they are beautiful.