But even in the face of the Pope's naysaying representative, Nneka Okafor's Alphonsine was a rock of humility, grace and the steel of the underdog come into her power. Her power, her absolute trust in the rightness of life, in learning that loving goodness is the only viable weapon against the violence of the human heart. A violence that had been seasoned during colonialism into a bitter stew slowly poisoning this beautiful country. Joaquina Kalukango's ferocious warrior for peace (Marie-Claire) and Mandi Masden's gentle Anathalie round out this trinity of young Joan of Arcs heralding visions of beauty, grace and fortitude. They dared to listen to Nyina wa Jambo's (Mother of God) prophecy of such killing that would send the sun spinning on it's axis.
Even as Starla Benford's bright and brittle Sister Evangeline, waged a battle to bring the trinity's growing power to an end, the truth could not be stopped. The darkness of the colonial strategy of favoring one tribe over another...a darkness that wrecked havoc, starvation, severed limbs and weeping mothers for centuries to come was working its venomous rage in the hearts of men. A darkness so profound that even once Rwanda found it's independence, the damage had been done and the colonial spirit of divide, conquer and wreck havoc finished the work the Belgians and the French began. I mean as long as the African's are in debt and fighting each other over long-dead resentments, the Europeans can sit back and watch while still reaping the results of centuries of slave labor and stolen riches that the Rwandas were forced to give them in tribute. They built European dynasties, they built Western civilization from that wealth, so the destruction of a people was an afterthought.
I was moved by Katori Hall's magic spinning its web around the audience as Michael Grief's sweeping staging indicted all of us in the events about to occur in Rwanda. The events that led to this epic sermon on the mount as the Nyina wa Jambo appeared in the sky of this tiny village sending love, light and a heartbreaking message of warning. The poetry of little girls chanting a medevil devotion, Our Lady of the Seven Joys, Seven Sorrows as each child saw images of themselves running through the seven hills of Rwanda with the rich life blood of it's people at their feet. Our Lady of Kibeho unfolds in the absolute devotion and grace of the Rwandan people, it rides our spirits like a beautiful, wise cautionary fable. One that the human heart has yet to learn.