The emptiness of evil
July 11, 2022
16th Sunday in OT (C)
July 11, 2022

Visit to Rwanda – a lesson on forgiveness and progress


By Darrion Narine

CCSJ/AMMR Programme Coordinator

Rwanda experienced one of the worst atrocities in human history 28 years ago.

A genocide against the Tutsi people resulted in over one million deaths, and disrupted the country’s social, political, moral, cultural, and economic operations.

But most of all, it impacted the conscience of the country and many people thought it was the end for Rwanda, with no one foreseeing the country recovering from that level of turmoil. However, almost three decades later, the country is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

I recently visited Rwanda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) June 19–26. I was the co-chair of the 21-member international task force organising the Commonwealth Youth Forum.

Although I was there mainly for work, I got the opportunity to visit areas outside of the city centre and experience different aspects of the country.

One of the most impressive characteristics of the people is their industriousness and commitment to building their country. They have a drive and a belief that Rwanda will be the strongest economy in Africa and that their country will be one of the economic powerhouses of the globe.

A people with that level of belief can truly change the world.

It is amazing that they have been able to rebuild and push forward in such a short time. However, what is most notable is that forgiveness is the main driving force behind the country’s unity.

Many people who survived the genocide had to forgive each other and work together to build a new Rwanda. I cannot begin to imagine the level of spiritual resilience that is needed to forgive someone who may have killed your family, friends, or neighbours. It is a true display of the New Testament ideology in contemporary society.

Rwanda was completely dismantled but they continued to see the light in the darkness and today they boast many impressive features of a progressive society.

Firstly, the country’s gender priorities are of top importance with Rwanda boasting a majority female parliament. Additionally, the country is the sixth safest in the world for tourists and one of the cleanest in the world.

During my visit I was also impressed by the many green spaces in the city centre. They have focused their efforts on going green and on the protection of wildlife, especially the gorillas which are at risk of extinction. Diversification is also a priority as they try to push for more tech innovation, and they are currently strengthening their culture and arts scene.

My visit to Rwanda gave me hope. It showed me that with the right mindset, leadership, and commitment to progress, people can learn from their past and begin building a future that will make their country a global powerhouse. Although Rwanda is still developing economically and infrastructurally, the mindset of their 13 million people is one of a developed nation.




“For Christians, the words of Jesus have an even deeper meaning. They compel us to recognize Christ himself in each of our abandoned or excluded brothers and sisters (cf. Mt 25:40, 45). Faith has untold power to inspire and sustain our respect for others, for believers come to know that God loves every man and woman with infinite love and “thereby confers infinite dignity” upon all humanity.[61] ”.

– Pope Francis, Fratelli Tuitti (85).

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee