The summer of 1994 in a complex but inevitable unfolding of post colonial Rwanda there was a merciless slaughter of the minority Tutsi tribe by the Hutu interhamwe (civilian vigilante death squads). During the ensuing civil war the Hutus were routed by the smaller but better organized Tutsi RPF forces and a panic exodus of over a million of a scared, defeated tribe poured over the boarder into Goma, Zaire.
The exhausted exodus, mainly on foot brought pain, disease and death in it’s wake. I came with a wave of aid agencies which were trying to cope with a million sick and starving refugees. Camps were created on the bare spiky lava of an extinct volcano. People were dying like flies of malnutrition, dysentery, and cholera and it was hard to cope both physically and emotionally. “Every third man in this camp is probably a murderer”, said Mike McDonaugh of Concern Worldwide, referring to the slaughter of over 500,000 Tutsis before the mass exodus. I spent a month in the camps and on roads of death. When I returned 3 months later to an orphanage where I had been working, out of over 1000 younger children only 2 had survived.