Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Rwanda Today

Many of us are seeing Hotel Rwanda and just now understanding the story of Rwanda eleven years ago. I want to let you know about Rwanda today.

I left Rwanda amazed at the progress eleven years has brought. In my view, the government has done and is doing an outstanding job of leading the country towards a developed country status. There is still a lot of work to do but they are certainly on the right track with their Vision 2020 plan.

An example is one story I read in Rwanda's national newspaper last week. The story was titled "We Need More Government Retreats" and I have to admit I rolled my eyes at the title. However, the story went on to tell how President Kagame announced last week at a retreat that the government would be reclaiming hundreds of government issued SUV's and would be auctioning them off to the public as they were considered an excessive expense to the people of Rwanda. Now that's good government!

I also had a chance to meet with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Gender and Family, who happened to be one high ranking official who had her SUV taken away from her. Rather than lamenting the loss of a $50,000 vehicle, Anne assured me that she fully supported the decision and that it was the right decision.

It is known that development in Africa doesn't come easy. There has to be a good and transparent government in place making good decisions and a willing international community. It helps to have a good geographical location and security surrounding the country. Rwanda is geographically and resource challenged but I can say they are making the most of what they have now and they are overcoming a horrible past in impressive fashion.

Hotel Rwanda shows how the world shamefully ignored Rwanda in a great time of need in 1994. I hope and pray that the world will at least now be willing to jump in and help a country that is doing their part towards improving the lives of its citizens. They may not be experiencing a genocide today but they ARE experiencing an AIDS epidemic, weather conditions that allow malaria to continue to be a devastating killer for the poor, and absolute poverty that in itself kills so many each day. Let's rally the forces to develop Rwandans' hearts, souls, minds, bodies and even bank accounts. They are willing and eager to experience a better life and they deserve it.


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