In 2019, the 25th anniversary of the genocide, with my growing interest in ideas of trust and in connecting humans to nature, I took a walk all across the country, walking for every day that the genocide took place. I didn’t ask for food until people offered to feed us, I didn’t ask for shelter until we were given shelter. I wasn’t alone. I was with people who joined for a day or days or weeks. A person came to take photos and we walked together.
Back in 1994, I couldn’t even walk during the day because of what I looked like, because I was supposed to be killed. Now I asked, “Can I walk this path in peace?” In the genocide, if you knocked on the door of someone and said, “I need haven, I need to hide,” you were lucky if they didn’t kill you. I wanted to know what it was like in 2019.
I didn’t encounter any hate, and I walked for 100 days. I met people who rescued Tutsis in the genocide. I met people who have forgiven the killers. I met people who confessed for their crimes in the genocide. I was writing down their stories and getting their stories in writing on social media and really making aware that even though there was a horrible genocide, now you can walk, you can sleep in somebody’s home without knowing who they are.
In 2024, for the 30th anniversary, I will do a 100-day performance. A hundred days in darkness. The goal is to invite people to light up the light from within, because that’s what inspires me, the people who light the world from within. They are not looking for other light. And that’s the idea with Be the Peace. We say peace is what you give, not what you ask others to give you. We’ll tell these stories and invite people who have really been examples. And people would be invited to come and listen to the stories where we’ll be in the dark.
We’ll also take walks in the night. In the genocide, the daylight wasn’t necessarily a good thing. The darkness was better because that’s when you could move. But it could also be bad because you could be caught without noticing.
The light only exists in us and if we’re looking for light or peace and joy — we have it. We only have to light it from within, not anywhere else. And that would be my message. People are welcome to come and join for a night or a day, though we won’t know if it’s night or day, it’ll be dark.