I apologize for my silence.
I have been in Gisenyi for the past week, and we have been waking up at sunrise (or before) and working until late at night. I am with Melody, a bright young man with a passion for film who worked as a receptionist at the Impala Hotel; and Jacques, the intrepid sound man I worked with last year. Melody woke up with a stomach ache this morning, and Jacques with a sore throat. That and my congestion of the last few days was a sign that we needed to take a break before we crashed physically and mentally. We have been trying to compress 2 months of filming into 2 weeks, and while our spirits have been willing, our bodies have been weakened.
The rest has done us some good. Melody is feeling much better, as is Jacques. I took a nap this afternoon, and awoke a new man. Tomorrow has us visiting Jean-Baptiste, and in the afternoon we will be with John, the young man in the film. John was 4 at the time of the genocide, and has gone through a lot in his 18 years on this earth. Despite his loss, he is still a typical teenager with posters on his wall and Chris Brown in his radio.
I spoke to Kije MUGISHA of TV Rwanda yesterday, and she informed me that they would be airing ICYIZERE at 3 pm. I have also been booked for an on-air news interview this Friday at 9 pm, after which they will again air the film. I am so grateful for the doors that have been opening. The local prison is interested in showing the film to the prisoners, many of whom have been traumatized. On Friday we will leave for Kigali to meet with the minister for security to get permission to show the film at the prison. We will also film the Icyunamo (remembrance/mourning) in Kicukiro, and go to the TV station in the evening. After that we will catch a few hours of sleep, travel back to the Icyunamo before the sun rises, film the rest of the event, and then catch a bus to Gisenyi to film the Icyunamo in neighboring Kanzenze. Werner Herzog had it right when he said that film-making is athletic, not aesthetic.
The mood during this week of mourning has been heavy, and we have all been affected. We had just interviewed John a couple of nights ago when Theodora called the following morning. Speaking to my 5 year old daughter Wambui brought John's childhood reality closer. I am the funniest, strongest man to my children, as John's dad must have been to him. I cannot imagine them suffering like he did, and feel for him and the countless others in his situation.
I will try to update my blog as often as I can. Most of the time the server is down, and I don't have the time or the patience to wait an hour for a connection. I am well, and very very grateful for the people that made it possible for me to be here. The mountains of Rwanda, like the Ozark hills, have been carved into my soul.