Monday, April 06, 2009

Too Old: A Rwandan Adoption Story

15 years ago today the most efficient genocide in history began. On April 6, 1994 under the impotent noses of the UNAMIR troops a slaughter of innocent Tutsi Rwandans began. This slaughter turned the hills of Rwanda into graveyards and the rivers ran red from the blood of nearly one million murdered souls.

The French were likely involved in the execution of the genocide. The UN was impotent. The USA knew within hours what was occuring and specifically Richard Clarke blocked early attempts to stop the genocide. The Clinton administration went so far as to prevent this butchering from being called a genocide.

While the world did nothing one women became an unlikely hero. This is a short essay that I wrote about that women; Rosamond Carr, it is titled Too Old

I'm Too Old!

Rosamond Carr was a New York City socialite who married a young photographer during the 1940s and moved to the country of Rwanda. Some time later, Roz and her husband divorced but Roz never left Rwanda. Roz stayed in Rwanda until the 1994 genocide when in a period of 100 days nearly 1,000,000 people were slaughtered.

At the age of 82 in 1994, Roz Carr was the longest living foreign resident in Rwanda and one of the last non-native plantation owners. When the awful violence of the Interhamwe descended upon Rwanda, Roz did the only thing she knew to do. She sheltered her neighbors from the genocidal madmen. When the mobs learned of this Roz was forced to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo. She then returned to her native United States.

Roz was already a hero for saving her neighbors and nobody would have thought less of her had she decided to live out her days in comfort in the USA. What happened next though is one of the most amazing stories of modern times. Rosamond Carr returned to her “home” in Rwanda.

When Ms. Carr returned to her home she found her country in shambles. The bodies were stacked up. The rivers ran red from the blood of a million Rwandans. Roz’s personal residence was ransacked. There was absolutely no reason to stay and every reason to just go back to America.

Instead Roz walked to the road in front of her plantation. She found an orphaned child and a short time later another. A kind hearted woman, she tried to find help for them but the more she looked for help the more children she found. It soon became apparent to Roz that she would need to be the help. At the age of 82, single, and never having had children Rosamond Carr became a mother to 40 children in a matter of days.

Roz Carr was 96 years old when she died in 2006. At the time of her death Roz had become the mother to over 400 lost Rwandan children. Roz Carr in her memoir Land of a Thousand Hills wrote “I can only surmise that God didn’t feel I was ready to have children until I was 82 years old. Then he sent me forty all at once.”

There are many reasons that people think they can’t make an impact in a lost child’s life including that they are “too old.” Fortunately for hundreds of lost children in Rwanda, Rosamond Carr realized that even an 82 year old divorcee with no kids and every reason to leave could be a mommy.

Scripture verse:

Genesis 21:1-8


If you have not seen the movie Hotel Rwanda please consider watching it


Anonymous said...

Wow...that's incredible women!!!


Mike and Christie said...

That story made me cry.