The Ride of My Life

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I’m on the most amazing ride of my life, through the hills of Rwanda to a village where we’re going to help build houses for the next two days. I’m so filled with a plethora of emotions.

This place is so beautiful, yet so poor. The children we pass and exchange waves with are so pure, and yet so rough. They’re in ragged, overused clothes, worn to tatters. Their faces have the dirt streaks of neglect; of a world that has neglected them.

And I struggle as I decide when to film. These are not zoo animals on exhibit. They are people. They are children. My heart aches to share with the world their existence. An existence that should shame the world.

Here are we, a caravan of buses with police forces. Observers that will simply leave; return to our comfortable lives.

I decide not to film yet – not until I develop relationships with the subjects. Instead I concentrate on the magnificent landscape, speckled with homes that look as though they grew from the ground just as the mountains did. It’s also a landscape that just 16 years ago was drowned in blood, during the genocide that took a million Rwandese lives.

We’ve learned, over these past few days, the remarkable lengths Rwanda has come since then. It is truly an impressive transformation. Yet these hills still appear haunted by those memories.

I am really looking forward to our on the ground work; to make a difference in some way. But I know it will be much smaller than the difference this trip will make in my life.



Author: John Abdulla

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  1. I do understand your feelings about filming, I would have to decide about shooting stills all the time (after a loss, injury, etc) I can give you an example of the time I shot an injured player coming off the field, parents and teammates quiet with worry…I flip flopped on whether or not to point and shoot. Something made me do it, and the team and parents were very happy to have the photo in the end. In your case, your filming would not be to exploit, but to educate and edify, which can only help them in the end.

  2. Aww! I can’t say how much I commend your efforts! It reminds me of the video I watched in my human Rights class of the torture that took place at the prison, Abu Ghraib. It leaked out to the public mostly by way of pictures. It was brutal. It is awful what those innocent children in Rwanda have to endure and I really feel for them. So yes, I think by further establishing a relationship with them, trying to get on their level and gaining their respect is key before getting their permission to film.

  3. As Cheryl said your motive would be in educating and people must see what goes on there as the truth could only really be exposed in Abu Ghraib through pictures and it took that to raise people’s awareness and to make change.

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