1/28/14 ** This short memoir focuses on Wilkens' experiences during the 100 day genocide - his attempts to obtain and deliver food and water to orphanages in both RPF and governmental-held parts of Kigali. Where some memoirs are able to weave parts of the larger picture together for the reader, I felt that Wilkens' tale was weak in this area. I had just enough sense of how the two major conflict parties were connected.
This book is self-published, and at times, the hand of an editor would have been appreciated. The narrative became disjointed, occurring in the book as Wilkens learned about them, not in the chronology that they actually happened. There were also a few word usage issues. The first third of the book is much more compelling (and better written) than the remainder of the text. However, I did appreciate reading about Wilkens' first hand experiences.
This week I've read two memoirs because I'm going to a charity event in which the two authors will be speaking. The first that I read is called Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
by Eva Kor. The charity event is a dinner to raise money for the foundation that Kor began to support the twin survivors of Auschwitz - CANDLES: Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors.
The keynote speaker is the author of this book, Carl Wilkens, who stayed in Rwanda doing humanitarian work during the 1994 genocide.
Wilkens' ongoing message is to listen, build relationships, and provide service to others. Through providing service to even the perpetrators of the violence, he was able to build connections that helped him obtain and deliver food and water to the orphans who were his prime concern.