3-Minute Interview: Carl Wilkens

Living in Rwanda in the early 1990s as a missionary, Wilkens witnessed the genocide that killed 500,000 Tutsis, the nation’s ethnic minority. He stayed in Rwanda during the uprising — the only American to do so — and provided support to orphanages in the capital, Kigali. Wilkens has been speaking at schools nationwide with the organization Facing History and Ourselves. In The City, he visited St. Ignatius College Preparatory on Tuesday and will visit George Washington High School today.

You were living in Rwanda with your wife and three children before the conflict. What was it like staying behind while they left? It was something we discussed very thoroughly. It was an opportunity for me to become a central part of helping these people, and my family understood that. I believe in the power of prayer, but if I could do more than that, why shouldn’t I?

What were your day-to-day activities during the conflict? For the first three weeks, I was forbidden to leave my house, so I was mainly concerned with having enough to eat and drink to survive at that point. After I was able to leave, I managed to find a Rwandan colonel, and I asked him what I could do to help. He directed me to a few nearby orphanages that needed relief work, and I dedicated myself for the next three months to finding food and water for all the people who had fled to these orphanages.

What do you hope students will gain from your presentation? The importance of entering into somebody else’s world. … Understanding our relationships with people outside of our worldis the key to preventing violence everywhere.

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Under stay-at-home orders effective today in San Francisco, outdoor dining is not allowed, and there are new limits regarding the number of people that can be indoors at essential businesses. <ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Bay Area counties to shut down outdoor dining, non-essential businesses

Regional stay-at-home order to take effect Sunday, sooner than statewide order announced Thursday

Former Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant received his 2017-18 Championship ring at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Oct. 16, 2018. Durant, now playing with the Brooklyn Nets, will play against his former team at Chase Center in February. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Kevin Durant to face former teammates at Chase Center in February

Schedule released Friday calls for Warriors to play Christmas and New Year’s Day games

Photo by Abalone Runner/ <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74406455" target="_blank">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>
Former Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard facing domestic violence, child abuse charges

Prominent Bay Area political strategist Nathan Ballard is facing domestic violence and… Continue reading

Construction crews work on new red bus rapid transit lanes on Van Ness Avenue on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board scrutinizes Van Ness BRT spending

Proposed contract modification would allocate $2.6 million for pedestrian monitors

Mayor London Breed said “I need to hold myself to a higher standard” in response to criticism of a recent meal at a Napa Valley restaurant. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Breed calls criticism for French Laundry trip ‘fair’

Mayor said she regrets that actions ‘distracted’ from public health message as COVID-19 cases rise

Most Read