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Rwanda is Beauty
April 20, 2012   Rwanda
I remember walking in the gardens of the genocide memorial in Kigali, admiring the strong tall trees and strange plants which I had never seen before. There was also a stone fountain placed in a serene setting; closing my eyes I could hear and smell beauty.

Emerging from the gardens I found myself staring at immense slabs of gray concrete. Young flowers were haphazardly cast upon them, disturbing the ashen soberness. Underneath, thousands of men, women and children lay, silent, screaming tragedy. I looked at the hills around me: Clay patches of earth in between shacks of wood and tin and mud and bananas, lots of banana trees. I could hear the city traffic, and the presence of many people. There was a certain rhythm in the air, which felt like music, and birdsong, which made me smile.Rwanda is beauty. Rwanda is tragedy. Rwanda is clay. Rwanda is rhythm and song.

My family, Musicians without Borders, had brought me there so I bring music to the people. But what I found was more music than I could ever grasp. The music of tradition, of change, of reconciliation, of rebuilding, of life. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.

I have seen the power of music with my own eyes. With Iraqi children who had lost everything. With Ugandan youth who had been forced to carry guns. With Rwandan women who had been the victims of dreadful deeds. With young Palestinians and Israelis who found each other with a simple song. With my own brother who had lost hope many times.

I’m going back to Rwanda in one month, to offer my simple perspective of the healing power of music. To be inspired by brave children and youth who fight the stigma of HIV on a daily basis. Mostly, I’m going back to meet my friends again.

Rwanda Youth Music is a music program. It’s hope, and it’s passion, and love:

Be part of it:

— Peace,


Topics: Rwanda