The following blog post was written by Timothy Hall, Africa's regional field specialist for VisionFund International, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision.
On my final day in Rwanda, I attended a wedding. Weddings in this part of the world are a blend of the traditional and the modern. The celebrations begin in the morning with negotiations between the two families’ representatives. There are dancers, drums, and traditional costumes throughout. This is followed by lunch, and then progresses to a church where the ceremony is much closer to a typical Western wedding -- complete with a white gown, attendants, candles, and a priest.
The bride was a young woman who worked for one of VisionFund’s microfinance banks, translating and posting information for World Vision Micro. I assumed the man representing her in the negotiations was her father, and I asked a friend if this was the case. “No,” he told me, “I don’t think she has any parents left.”
Tempering the joy at this occasion was the memory, etched in the mind of every Rwandan, of the ferocious killing of the 1994 genocide, during which as many as a million lives were ended. The bride and groom were pre-teens at the time, and it is statistically impossible that there was anyone (aside from myself) at the wedding who did not personally witness a murder or other act of extreme violence.