Reporters on the Job

Looking Beyond War: The hills of northwest Rwanda are breathtaking, says correspondent Stephanie Hanes. "They are covered by a patchwork quilt of greens – rectangular fields of dark green banana plants, neon green bean fields, yellowish-green sorghum. They dive into cobalt blue lakes and rise to the Virunga Volcano region, an impossibly lush habitat of thick bamboo forests," she says. "It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen."

As Stephanie drove with her guide into the Parc National des Volcans, home of the rare mountain gorilla, she says that she felt discombobulated. "How was it possible, I wondered, that such evil could take place in such beauty? Twelve years ago, neighbors were murdering neighbors in this very spot. We had already passed at least five genocide memorials on our route – a microcosmic record of the slaughter. When the killing was happening, I wondered, did anyone notice the view?"

When Stephanie reached the park, she met rangers who had been in this place during the war – and who, as death piled up around them, worked to save the beauty. "I asked them why. They told me they did it because they knew that peace would return one day, and they wanted to save something for their children. They loved the gorillas, they said. They loved their country."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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