The best way to gain perspective and insight into my personal appreciation for the magic of Rwanda is for me to introduce you to Roz Carr. Born in Orange NJ, Roz came with her husband to the Belgian Congo in 1949. After the marriage ended, Roz became a plantation owner of a farm in Mugongo, within the shadow of the Virunga Volcanos. Roz and my wife, Charlene, became friends in 1995 after Roz started an orphanage for the children of the 1994 genocide. I had the great opportunity of meeting Roz in 1999 and we became great friends. Roz is a model of explaining the love affair we have with Rwanda. Roz had to evacuate her farm at the start of the genocide, because she was hiding people on her farm. The genocide began in April of 1994, and the Rwandan Patriotic Front took control of the madness in July of 1994. Roz returns to her farm in August of that year to find her farm, house, and business destroyed. Her love for the country was the impetus at age 82 to start all over again. Besides starting from scratch, she restores a pyrethrum-drying shed to become an orphanage for 35 neighbor children without families because of the horrific destruction of the country.
Roz not only rebuild her farm, began an orphanage and haven to vulnerable children, but also became a part of rebuilding the country. The genocide and the orphanage are two events of a lifelong romance with Rwanda. Getting to know Roz and her friends brings a perspective on love of country and love of community. Throughout her life, her most outstanding characteristic was working for the betterment of her neighbors. A best friend to Dian Fossey and a treasured friend to our family is the praxis for integrating the concepts of peace and justice to the pragmatism of life. Even more so, it is a visible example of how the mystery and mystic of the people and the land of Rwanda become a part of your soul.
I urge you to read about Roz’s life. The book is Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda by Rosamond Halsey Carr and Ann Howard Halsey. The pictures in this post give you a view of Roz’s flower farm, her love of flowers (her business), and the children who became the joy of her life.