There is a Rwandan proverb that says, roughly translated, you can't know where you're going unless you understand where you have come from. Today, Rwanda is one of Africa's bright spots--a developing country with great ambitions to lift its people out of poverty and a bold strategy to make that happen. Its rise is all the more remarkable if you recall that, just 15 years ago, the nation was ripped apart by the most stunning genocide of our time. About 1 million people, a full eighth of the population, were killed in three bloody months.

Andre Kamana, who fled his hometown of Nyamata during an earlier spasm of violence in 1992, survived with his wife and nine children. He now serves as the manager of Nyamata's church-turned-memorial site. Ten thousand people were killed in this parish church, some by soldiers who got on the roof and shot blindly into the sanctuary below.

"My uncles, my cousins, my sisters, my aunties--the rest of my family is here," says Kamana, who is standing in the sanctuary of Nyamata's former church, surrounded by the clothes of all those who died there. His job, he says, is "to tell the story. Maybe that's why God allowed me to survive, because the ones who are dead cannot tell the tale," he says. "It is painful in my heart, but I still have to tell it."

With the assistance of an American organization called Rwanda Works, Kamana is seeking the help of museum archivists and conservators to preserve the clothes of the dead, which to this day have never been washed and are piled on the pews in their memory.

In the crypt of the church, the skulls of those who were killed there are piled on shelves.

The bones of the dead.

The crypt has become a reliquary for things the dead left behind, including rosary beads.

When the killings began in April 1994, hundreds, then thousands, sought sanctuary in the church, which had protected people during previous bouts of violence. This time, they never made it out, and also left not just religious paraphernalia but the things of everyday life.

"I came back on June 4, 1994," Kamana recalls. "In my extended family, I lost more than 1,000 people." He says that things have changed immeasurably for the better over the past 15 years. Part of coming to work every day and facing the past is having the opportunity to help ensure that they never go back. "There is no more fear now," Kamana says. "Today, we have a government that unites Rwandans and protects Rwandans. There is no more fear."

The Rwandan Genocide: 15 Years Later

There is a Rwandan proverb that says, roughly translated, you can't know where you're going unless you understand where you have come from. Today, Rwanda is one of Africa's bright spots—a developing country with great ambitions to lift its people out of poverty and a bold strategy to make that happen. Its rise is all the more remarkable if you recall that, just 15 years ago, the nation was ripped apart by the most stunning genocide of our time. About 1 million people, a full eighth of the population, were killed in three bloody months.

There is a Rwandan proverb that says, roughly translated, you can't know where you're going unless you understand where you have come from. Today, Rwanda is one of Africa's bright spots—a developing country with great ambitions to lift its people out of poverty and a bold strategy to make that happen. Its rise is all the more remarkable if you recall that, just 15 years ago, the nation was ripped apart by the most stunning genocide of our time. About 1 million people, a full eighth of the population, were killed in three bloody months.

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