Lake Kivu  & Kigali
Vases planted by  Karen Johnson-Feltham and Tenzin Chopak, December 2013/January 2014

“Rwanda is a beautiful-and deeply scarred-place.  20 years after the genocide, the air is still heavy with mourning and tragedy.  Every Rwandan has suffered loss that should be beyond the imagination.  And yet despite this history, the country is beginning to heal and thrive.  Courageous efforts towards national reconciliation continue.  Families of perpetrator and victim live side by side.

I lived and worked in Rwanda for 6 months and Tenzin joined me for 2 and ½.  We were so honored to participate in the planting of a peace vase in Rwanda-to bring the blessings of such a vessel to a place that had known such horror.  We chose two locations that were notoriously brutal sites during the genocide-Lake Kivu and Kigali.

We rented kayaks on Lake Kivu in the town of Kibuye.  The day was slightly overcast but mostly light and clear.  As we walked onto the dock, we heard the first rumbles of thunder in the distance-startling us both. We climbed into the kayaks and set off away from shore.  The thunder began in earnest-echoing through the hills.  A dark gray cloud blew in from the west.  We paddled quickly.  Tenzin let the vase go in the water and we watched it sink towards the bottom of that deep lake.   Thunder and wind surrounded us as we made our way back to shore.

As quickly as it had arrived, the storm vanished.  We finished saying the prayers warmed by bright sun and a clear sky.

I planted the second vase in Kigali.  It was so difficult to find a suitable site that would not be disturbed-people and new construction are everywhere!  We decided upon a spot upon a hill in the new neighborhood in Kiyovu.  Our dear Rwandan friend John helped to dig the hole.  He is not familiar with Buddhism but was pleased to be part of a project that promotes peace.  We planted the vase together-each saying our own prayers for peace.”  (Karen Johnson-Feltham)