Monday, March 30, 2009


I am really feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed. Rwanda has been pushing me to my limits, and I am at a point where I dont know how to handle anything. We went to three more memorials in the past week, and I cant get these horrific thoughts out of my head. All I can see is death, all around me.
I have started to become so angry and frusterated and helpless. Every day I feel like I understand less and less. I just have no comprehension of how a human being can commit these acts to a fellow human being. Day after day, I am more and more worn out physically and mentally.
Not only dealing with and learning about death, but I am extremely culturally fruserated. I am tired of being touched and groped and verbally harrassed because I look foreign. I am not a cultutral relativist, and this is not something I can continue to handle.
I have no escape from my own head. I dont have music to listen to, I dont have non academic books to read, I cant seem to find a way to get out of my head, even for just 15 minutes.
I feel bad, I have no energy to devote to my host family, and they really are wonderful and welcoming. But I dont want to talk about my day and all Ive been wanting to do is go sleep, because that is my only distraction. I feel like everyone in the group is feeling like this, and for my own sanity, I really need to get out of Rwanda. I have reached my threshold.
Besides going to the peace caravan yesterday, where there was music and dancing, I really havnt experienced any true Rwandan culture, except for the learning about the genocide. That is all we learn about, which is detramental in my opinion, because I know there is more to Rwanda than the genocide.

I just feel really lost.

Peace and Love,


  1. Michelle hun, it's me Rebekah. I can't speak on behalf of Rwanda, but I am trying to take what I learned about Apartheid and find the similiaities between my situation and yours. I'm so sorry you're having such a hard time, I understand that. I struggled more in Namibia than at any other time in my life. You can focus on the future, that helped me a lot. For me, it was to come home. For you maybe it can be to look forward to returning to Uganda towards the end of your trip. You are still planning on doing that soccer thing in Gulu, right? Know that I am thinking about you and praying for you.

    Much Love,

  2. I am so glad we got to visit yesterday. You are learning so much about yourself and that is a good thing. Maybe your group as a whole needs to talk to the the advisors that came with you and see what they can do to incorporate something other than DEATH for the duration of your stay. Just stay focused and you will be ok. We love you and can't stress how proud we are of you. Focus on your goal of helping the Ugandan's with the soccer you and Caitlin are planning. That will give you girls an outlet until you leave Rwanda. Document it all and we can put it in a book when you come home.
    LOVE YOU!!!
    MOM and Dad

  3. I invite you to see a new book on Uganda's child soldiers titled, First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army, available at Amazon. See more at and follow the issue at

  4. Michelle,

    I'm sorry the world around you is pressing in so hard. You're right that you DO need some quiet time and down time to replenish your soul and sanity. Perhaps since you're so near your wit's end, sometime soon when you're by yourself, (maybe tonight) you could just give it all up to God and ask for His amazing strength and ask for His protection, peace and purpose. I'll pray for you too. You're an amazing young woman in an amazing position to bring light to so much darkness. Blessings to you and your friends... I'm with you in mind and spirit. David Templeton

  5. Michelle,
    I wish I had the power to make all your hurt go away This journey you are on is showing the reserve of strength you have, your capacity to learn, the compassion you feel for the people of the world and your ability to teach all of us. Somehow I think that this study program will benefit from having you in it, you can come back and help the program improve by sharing some of the things that could be expanded upon. Do not be afraid to ask for what you need to take care of yourself. You are an amazing young women and bravery serves as an example to this old brood! I am learning from you, how cool is that!!!
    Here is a big old WS Hug and a dose of LOVE.

  6. you are having such an amazing experience in Africa. I am so proud of everything you are doing there. This is changing your life in so many ways and when you finally get through it all you are going to be able to look back at all that you have been through and realize how much you appreciate that experience. I am so excited for you to go back to Uganda. Your "luck" is going to change big time and Im so Excited for you to soccer it up there in Africa!!! And I hope we "run into each other" at some airport!!! haha.
    OK love you,
    miss you,
    hang in there,
    your have an amazing soul,
    see you soon,
    this is long,
    LOVE mal!

  7. My sweet meeche,
    Hang in there sweetie. Way deep down inside you have the strength to get through this. You will be alright. Just remember, all those you have intereacted with, you have brought a bright spot to, even if just for a short while. Keep in mind your desire in the long run to make a difference, and let that guide you through the rough times. I admire you so much, and like Debbie said, we are all learning from you. Keep safe, strong, and beautiful. Love you with all my heart,
    A. Gina

  8. Hi Michelle,
    You have received so many wonderful comments and I feel the same way everyone does. You are one special lady doing something so worthwhile and important. Hang in there & plan your soccer team in your quiet time. Think of how much you will be doing for these women. They will never forget you. Be stong, be safe, be yourself & you will survive. Love you, love you.. Grama