This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.Kigali, Rwanda
Upon arrival to Kigali, we were welcomed by President Kagame, and Indemuka dancers. The ceremonial dance is performed for visitors and marriages. The Intore Dance Troupe also performed a dance for us, which has been preserved since the fall of the monarchy. It is performed by males, wearing long yellow wigs, and acting as warriors returning from victory.
From there, we headed to the Kigali Memorial Centre, a memorial for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Rwandan Genocide. It was opened in April, 2004, on the 10th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Today, 258,000 are buried there, and mass graves are still being discovered daily. The exhibition was a troubling reminder of how hatred allowed such atrocities to continue unchallenged. Within just 100 days, approximately 800,000 lives were taken, and 85% of the Tutsi population had been eliminated. The leadership in Rwanda has made steps to overcome violence and hardship. People are hard at work attempting to rebuild. The economy is re-emerging, and justice and reconciliation are priorities. It was clear this will take a great deal of leadership.
That afternoon we dedicated the new United States Embassy in Rwanda and were greeted by 21 Ambassadors resident in Kigali, representing their governments. This Embassy will be a home away from home for all Americans wishing to visit Rwanda.
President Bush and President Kagame discussed the progress of foreign and domestic investments on the Rwandan economy. In particular, the coffee and IT industries are blossoming. Rwanda is becoming a more attractive place for U.S. businesses to invest. Currently, U.S. companies like Starbucks, Macys, and Costco have investments in Rwanda.