I knew this book of non-fiction would not be an easy read, but I like Ferguson’s style of writing so wanted to get into his newest book. He can take a very dark subject – Rawanda, and while giving us the history, the statistics and facts about war, he is able to intersperce it with humour that makes me laugh out loud! Let me clarify – there is not a lot of humour about Rawanda. Mostly Ferguson pokes fun at himself, or plays with words, “gorilla” or “guerrilla”, or makes his conversations with kids met along the way into lots of fun, or he just leaves us to imagine his wife’s delight that after travelling for weeks in Rawanda, he bought her an apron as a souvenir!
Ferguson and Jean-Claude Munyezama – who narrowly escaped the genocide in his home country, meet in Calgary as soccer dads. Jean-Claude was working at the Cargill plant neat High River, as a new immigrant. Their friendship matures t the point where they will travel to the “Land of a Thousand Hills”. They get to the legendary source of the Nile, they see Dian Fossey’s “Gorillas in the Mist,” they visit tragic genocide sites and museums, and the world’s “most escapable prison”, all the while dispensing donated soccer equipment, jerseys and balls from Canada. Rawand is a country reborn for Jean-Claude and an eye opener for Ferguson, and for me!
“Open door visa policies, full internet access, the free flow of trade and information, a zero tolerance policy for corruption, the abolition of the death penalty – these are not the actions one normally associates with a totalitarian regime – yet this is “…what Paul Kagame is in fact presiding over…”. “The World Economic Forum places Rawanda among the best countries in the world when it comes to governance with accountability built into the system.”
Ferguson’s account of Rawanda twenty years after almost a MILLION Tutsis were massacred will break your heart. However, Ferguson’s gift will “…keep repairing it with the most beautiful, poignant, sweet, funny and human things, from the landscape and wildlife, to the people and culture, and all kinds of surprising, dusty corners.”
This is a rare book, even better than “419”. It is not for the faint of heart, as neither Jean-Claude not Ferguson sugar coat anything! However, all of Canada should be reading it!!