Sunday, 14 January 2018

One Thousand Hills Review

This book is dedicated to every child hiding or running in fear because of conflicts that have nothing to do with them” – James Roy

One thousand hills was a very good book. It was filled with action, kept you on your toes, and kept you wanting to read more. Although it’s a good book, not everyone will appreciate it as much as I did. This book deals with very a very sensitive topic, the Rwandan genocide. In just 100 days, over 800 thousand people were killed. To many, this may bring bad thoughts.

 However, this book was very well written. I do not believe that this book will offend anyone because the story was told by someone who actually experienced this genocide. Pascal (The protagonist), described how the genocide was from his perspective. It described his better-than-average life before the genocide, and how his life fell apart during. His dad was used to get military trucks, then was killed, his mom and brother were murdered, and with only his sister, they managed to survive this terrible event. He escaped Rwanda due to Father Michael (priest from the book) helping him and telling him to run and never look back. However, father Michael was far from a good person, he and a few other Tutsis, gathered and murdered 8,000 people at once in a church.

This book starts off very slow. But, If you get past the slow beginning then it is a very good book. If you’re looking for a good book, I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Pascal's House

This is the area of pascals house. I have created a few artifacts that are from the book that had an important role in the book. This image consists of 8 artifacts.

Water tank (1):
In Rwanda, if you were more fortunate and wealthy you would own a water tank. If you didn't have one, you'd have to go to the town center to collect water. However, the water tank in pascals life plays a much larger role. While the genocide was happening, Pascal and his sister Nadine hid in the water tank. Nobody found them in the water tank. Pascal may have died if his family did not hide in the water tank.
Army truck (2):
Pascal's father was a very hard working man. He took pride in many things that he did. He made sculptures that he sold to tourists, and he had a very important job. He worked for the government and had access to military trucks that the government owned. During the genocide, Pascal's father was taken because the Hutu people needed the trucks for transportation.
Church (3):
Pascal had a very religious family. They would go to church every day and pray before every meal. Going to church was Pascal's favorite part of the week. During the end of the book, the church had a much darker meaning. While the genocide was going on, the priests that worked their gathered people in telling them it would be a safe place. When there were enough people in the church, the priests, along with other Hutu extremists, started to murder everyone that took shelter inside of the church.
Bottle labeled "whiskey" (4):
Pascal and his friend Henri loved to hang out with each other, in fact, they made their own hideout.  The found a very large hole in the ground and started to personalize the area. They made a drink that consisted of juices from plants that were found in their area. They liked drinking this "whiskey" because it made them feel like adults. It would force them to make the same face their parents did when they drank whiskey.
Hole in the ground (5):
While Pascal and Henri hung out, this is where they spent most of their time. They loved to get away from their parents as much as possible. They personalized this area to make it theirs. Pascal and Henri loved this area, and it had a large impact on their lives.
Birds in the sky (6):
Pascal's father loved to make wooden sculptures that were shaped like animals. He made many different animals but creating birds were his favorite. He described birds as elegant. He liked the other animals he created but not as much as birds. Pascal's favorite sculpture was the one shaped like a gorilla that his dad made.
Coke and M&M's (7)
This was the first time Pascal had ever broken a commandment larger than lying. He lied all the time to his parents, but this was much worse. When he was sent to buy M&M's for his sisters birthday, he and Henri ate all the M&M's for his sister's party. When he got home, he told his mom that there were none left, so he was sent back to buy another type of chocolate. When he got back he didn't have enough money, so he had to resort to stealing.
White Adidas shoes (8):
Pascal's father was very proud about his shoes, he spent hours keeping them in good shape, and looking new. He was one of the very few people that could afford shoes in his town. During the genocide, his shoes were stolen by Henri's dad. This made Pascal very angry because he knew how much those shoes meant to his dad.

Now, you may be wondering, why is there no color? Well, this is because black and white remind me of a much simpler time, of how things used to be. It is a sad memory that marks a horrible moment for many people living in Rwanda. Hopefully a tragic event like this never happens again, so this can remain a memory.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Rwanda Genocide

Henri, come on in. Have a seat, right there is fine. So how are you doing today?

I’m feeling better, I guess.

Where were we yesterday? Do you remember?

The day it happened… The terrible events, when all hell broke loose.

Ah yes, I remember now. Can you describe the events of that day?

Do I have to?

I think you should, it will help you in the long term if you talk to me about it. I can help you if I understand what you went through.

Okay, fine.

It started April 7th. I remember being so happy because we didn’t have school that day, it was canceled. But that didn’t mean I could hang out with Pascal, that meant I had to do chores. I didn’t mind doing chores, I like to help around the house because it keeps me busy. It keeps me from getting bored. I never saw my dad that day, I only saw my mama. My mama looked very worried and on edge. Every so often she’d call my name and ask if I was OK. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Then she said something that struck me as odd.
“Henri? Henri! Where are you!”
“I’m right here mama, what do you want?” Henri replied
“Stop doing chores.”
“Stop doing chores? Why what’s happening?”
“Nothing, I just need you to stay close.”

Every time I think about what she says, it makes my eyes water. Later that day, around supper time, I made a very big mistake. I left my mama alone. While I went to the washroom, I heard men screaming a chant; “Cockroach! Cockroach! Cockroach!” I wondered why there were saying that. 

The noise kept getting louder and louder until it was right by my house. Then there was a knock on our front door. I could hear my mom weeping. She was terrified. Then our front door busted open. Men came in shouting at my mom. Unsure of what to do, I kept as quiet as I could, while staying in the washroom.
“Leave me alone!” I heard my mama say
“No, you're coming with us” I heard a deep, unfamiliar voice say
“Come on, get up!” Another voice called

My mom continued to weep. Then the weeping faded away. I rushed out of the washroom to see if my mama was OK.
“Mama! Where are you” I heard no response

This is the moment I realized my mama was gone. So preventable. I didn’t do anything to stop those men from taking my mom. But what angered me the most? I didn’t see my dad all day? Where was he? How could he let mama be taken? There were so many questions that were left unanswered. I hid. It was the only thing that I could do. I remember that my family owned a water tank. I looked outside, no men were there. I looked around and saw dead bodies everywhere, but there was no sign of my mom. 
When I reached the water tank, I realized it was full of water. I emptied it out, sat inside, put the cap back on, and waited. I waited for what seemed like hours. I lost track of time. There was a small hole at the top of the water tank that was just big enough to see out of. I sat in that water tank almost all night, occasionally hearing the voices of men chanting, but they always passed by. All of the sudden I heard footsteps. My heart was pounding. The footsteps of two people, one sounded much lighter than the other.

I heard the voice speak, it sounded higher pitch than the ones that took my mom. Then I heard the voice of a little girl. Somehow I recognized these two voices, they sounded familiar.
“Henri? Henri? Where are you?” The voice knew my name! How did it know who I was?!
“Henri! You don’t need to worry, it’s me, Pascal” It was Pascal! How did I not realize that earlier, the voice was very familiar.
“I’m in here” I responded to Pascal
“It’s bad, really bad. They took my parents and my brother! I only have my sister” This made my stomach drop. I would never wish that on anyone, let alone my best friend.
"They took my mom, and my dad hasn’t been home all day,” I told Pascal. 
“What do you think caused this” I added
“I don’t know” I could hear the fear in his voice. His voice was shaky and sounded very paranoid.

Pascal, his little sister and I went back to my house to hide. Pascal noticed his dads white Adidas shoes in the front door.
“Your dad took my dads shoes! He spent hours cleaning those shoes when they got dirty! He loved those shoes” Pascal seemed angry.

They didn’t stay for long, Pascal told me he wanted to go to the church, he said it was safe. However, I didn’t follow him. I went back to hiding in the water tank. After several days of hiding in the tank, I realized that if I wanted to be able to eat and drink, I couldn't stay there for much longer. I couldn’t stay awake anymore. I was cold, thirsty, hungry and tired. I fell asleep.

I woke up the next morning and realized I needed to go, get out of Rwanda.

Wow. That’s awful, how did you escape?

I fled, I ran across the southern border into Burundi. When I crossed the border a man saw me. I was starving and looked very tired. He asked me what was wrong and I told him, I told him what happened. He adopted me and helped me get through the worst time of my life. I still wonder what happened to Pascal and his sister. I really hope they’re OK.

Me too. I’m very sorry if this talk makes you feel uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable? That is a very big understatement. The things that happened were awful. I hardly ever fall asleep at night, and when I do, I always get bad dreams. I’m done here.

OK. I understand. See you later Henri, have a good day.


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

There were many connections between the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and my novel. People were being slaughtered, people were being talked down upon on the radio and people getting kicked off of a bus for defending themselves.

   It is our right to not live in fear of getting hurt or being murdered. This right is called Security of Person, section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the book,  people are getting murdered just because they are a different race. That being said, this also connects to the equal rights amendment. This states that no one should be treated differently because of the pigment of their skin, "equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.".

   Also, people were getting discriminated because of their race. The Hutu people started killing Tutsi people because the plane carrying the president of Rwanda was shot down. On a public radio, with thousands of people listening, Tutsi people were referred to as cockroaches. On the radio, they said “No one likes cockroaches… Cockroaches are disgusting… Something has to give.” (Roy p.23) The Tutsi people being referred to as cockroaches. Although it is legal to have your own opinion on other people, it is wrong to talk about people like that on the radio. They are humans, and they should be treated with equality.

   This book also had minor connections to the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms but those were the major ones that really stood out to me. The minor one was pascal stole a pack of chocolates because his mom had told him to buy some, but he ate the ones he bought. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and see how the issues are resolved, or what happens. Does the rest of the world help these people out? Or do they sit and watch it all happen.

Lucas M.


Monday, 18 December 2017

What saddened me?

This book was very surprising and saddening. One moment life would be normal, going to school, doing chores, and the next the genocide starts. It really surprised me how quick the turn around was. Some people knew about it but said nothing.

   What saddened me the most was the fact that Dr. Singh knew that something might happen, and he only warned one person. When the president of Rwanda dies, Dr. Singh Knows something bad is going to happen 
"It's madness down there in Kigali... Have they said who's to blame? It's too early to know, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was the Hutus. No! That can't be right! He was Hutu himself! They wouldn't kill one of their own!” (Roy p.156)

This is how the genocide started.

   It also saddens me that Pascal's parents knew that something bad was going to happen, and they didn't get their family out of there. His dad was used to get trucks for the Hutu men to ride around on to quicken the process 
“did you ever find your sister? Yes. Alive? Yes. Your brother? Yes. Alive? No. Oh. I'm sorry. And your parents? No. So they died? I know what happened to Papa. Can you tell me? They took him to Ruhengeri. They needed him to let them into the government garage where he worked. For the trucks.

     The fact that people thought that it was okay to kill everyone who did not share common beliefs, makes me absolutely sick. The fact that the rest of the world knew that this was going on, and did nothing, makes me even sicker.

I hope later on in the book people understand that other countries around Rwanda understand that they need help, and take action.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Meet Pascal.

In my book, the main character is Pascal.

   Pascal is a young boy who lives a somewhat average life. He does chores, like milking the cow, cleaning his room and other things a young boy in his position would do. His family is very religious as they go to church, pray before dinner and thank the lord for their blessing "God is good, he's blessed us. We should pray. To give him thanks... Father, we thank you for your mercy and your generosity."(Roy p.35).  Pascal doesn't realize really why they go to church, he just finds it to be a good way to spend his Saturday afternoon "Mass was joyful. Joyous. A celebration." (Roy p.40).

   The setting of this book seems as if it is Africa or more of a third world society. The book mentions a problem with cockroaches in their house "Pascal had seen a few cockroaches wandering about" (Roy p.23). Not only that, it mentions people having to go to town to fetch water "He didn't want to imagine his brothers and sisters walking all the way down to the main pump just to get water to wash their faces in. Water to drink."(Roy p.15).

   As I have only read 45 pages of the book, I still do not feel very confident when I'm identifying where the setting is. I look forward to finding more specific evidence in the book and learning more about the main character, Pascal.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Why I Chose One Thousand Hills

My Reading and writing schedule:
December 7th
December 8th
December 9th
December 10th
December 11th
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 1st blog post
Edit and review first blog post
Read 20 pages

December 12th
December 13th
December 14th
December 15th
December 16th
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 2nd blog post
Review and edit 2nd blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages

December 17th
December 18th
December 19th
December 20th
December 21st
Read 5 pages
Work on 3rd blog post
Edit and review 3rd blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Read 5 pages
Work on 4th blog post.
December 22nd
December 23rd
December 24th
December 25th
December 26th
Edit and review 4th blog post
Read 20 pages
Read 20 pages
Off day
Read 9 pages

December 27th
December 28th
December 29th
December 30th
December 31st
Work on 5th blog post
Finish blog post #5
Off day
Off day
Off day

January 1st
January 2nd
January 3rd
January 4th
January 5th
Off day
Make sure there are no mistakes

The book that I chose is called One Thousand Hills. I chose this book because this book is about children going to war. The fact that some children actually went to war when they were only around 9 scares me. Even if they were not killed, they would have terrible memories that would really mess them up in the long run. This book was also recommended to the class by Ms. Veteikis. Lastly, I want to learn how this issue was resolved in this book, and what happens to the characters.