I let two decades pass before we met. A faraway land my parents were so fond of, yet my earliest memory of you was the endless horror film that played the entire summer of 1994. Fear, hurt, sorrow, confusion and despair were emotions I associated with you for a decade to follow. How could there be life in you when you bled out so much? I made it my mission to read every book about you I could get my hands on, attend all lectures with your name on the program. I followed you quietly. I was so fascinated by you but I never felt like you were mine to have. I entertained this pseudo-relationship for years as if I could never expect more from you.
Out of the blue one day, my parents suggested I visit you. I quickly accepted, after all, you were home to many relatives I knew only through pictures. I figured, if only for that reason, I should see what you were all about. When the plane landed, I instantly felt your warm embrace and a stream of tears poured down my face. My heart and soul harboured emotions for you I didn’t know were held captive for so long.
Today, as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, I am in awe of how close we have become. We moved from summer visits to full blown occupation. Thanks to the peace, stability and year-round sunshine you offer, I can proudly call you home. I have found myself in you, a missing piece of my existence has been revealed. I am so proud of you for standing tall and soaring despite all the adversity you faced. I wasn’t there for you in your days of turmoil but I am here for you now. The best is yet to come and I want to go through every step of the way with you, my beloved Rwanda. I LOVE YOU.