Seventeen Bowdoin students and Brunswick community members participated in the Ride for Rwanda to benefit the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation.
With the help of additional Bowdoin students and the Bowdoin Cycling Club, Morgan MacLeod '09 organized the bike ride fundraiser. Participants followed one of two routes?either 15 or 45 miles long?from Brunswick to Freeport last Saturday. The participants collected donations, and many of them made personal contributions. The riders managed to collect approximately $680, which will be donated to Rusesabagina's foundation.
MacLeod said that he was inspired to organize Ride for Rwanda after seeing Hotel Rwanda and attending Paul Rusesabagina's Common Hour lecture last month.
"[Genocide] is something you hear about on the news, but you never actually see it or meet people like Mr. Rusesabagina in person who have actually experienced these things. It's so far away that no one can relate to it," MacLeod said.
According to event participant Charles Stern '09, "Ride for Rwanda was a great success. We were able to raise a good sum of money for the foundation."
"Morgan deserves all the credit for this event's success. He stuck with it from the beginning," Stern said.
The Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation supports children who were orphaned and women who were abused during the 1994 genocide.
According to the foundation's web site (http://www.hrrfoundation.org), there are about 500,000 orphans in Rwanda, and many Rwandan women are deeply traumatized from the emotional and physical effects of the rape and abuse they suffered during the genocide.
The foundation also provides aid to other African nations experiencing similar conflicts. The purpose of Rusesabagina's organization is to help victims of the genocide, to learn about it, and to prevent such events from happening again.
"The most abusive words that I hear are 'never again,'" Rusesabagina said during his lecture at Bowdoin. "Have we learned from history? I do not know."