Africa – Day 10

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 16th, 2006


Westmont women’s socer team played to a 1-1 tie today with the Rwandan National Team in Kigali. Senior midfielder Anna Gropp scored on a penalty kick for the Warriors after junior midfielder Brianna Russo was tripped in the box.

“When we arrived at the field, another game was already going on,” said Warrior head coach Rebecca Mouw. “The mayor of Kigali scheduled a different game without telling anyone, so we had to move to another field. Unfortunately the field we played on was mostly soft dirt which flew up every time you stepped. That was not a surface conducive to our style of play.”

Rwanda scored seven minutes before the intermission and the second half remained scoreless.

“It was a very physical game and we were emotionally drained after visiting the Genocide Museum,” said Mouw. “But there were lots of kids around and that was great.”

Kyle Beard, the American coach of the Rwandan National team, exchanged soccer balls with coach Mouw after the game. “We gave them one of our balls and he gave us a banana leaf soccer ball,” said Mouw.

The day began for the Warriors with a visit to the Genocide Museum at the Kigali Memorial Center. The museum is built at the site of a mass grave containing the remains of one-quarter of a million Tutsis who were murdered by Hutu militias in April of 1994. In all, 800,000 people lost their lives in 100 day of “ethnic cleansing.”

“It was emotionally powerful to understand what had happened to these people,” said Mouw. “There were personal memorials which were very sad. One exhibit referred to the holocaust and said, ‘When they said ‘never again,’ – that was for some people but not others.’ I don’t think any of us made it through the museum without crying.

“The positive part is that it makes you appreciate the efforts at reconciliation that have been going on over the past ten years,” continued Mouw. “There has been a lot of forgiveness.”

Mid-day tomorrow, the Warriors will fly to Nairobi, Kenya. After checking into their hotel, the Warriors will be given a brief orientation tour of the Mathare Slums – the site of Friday’s outreach activities.