Carl Wilkens, a Seventh-Day Adventist missionary, was living with his wife and kids in Rwanda at the time, doing church stuff as well as providing medical aid to people injured during the civil war that had just ended. He, along with his mother, father, and family, spent the days fixing hospitals and schools damaged in the civil war. It wasn't exactly Mayberry, but things were on the mend when this s**t went down.
"We had a cease-fire, and we were all really optimistic, hoping that the new government they'd all agreed on would be put in place. ... I'd say we knew we were on the edge of a precipice. ... Probably three to four weeks before the plane was shot down I sent a fax to our church HQ saying we were sitting on a keg of dynamite. We did have plans in place. If things blew up we had evacuation points. Right up until the plane was shot down we were looking for signs that things wouldn't get worse."
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Unfortunately, smoldering plane wreckage usually qualifies as getting worse.
It started with demonstrations in the city, tire fires in response to a massacre out in the nearby countryside. Twenty people killed. Then another massacre, 50 people killed. Then gangs of people with machetes turned stories like that from front-page shockers to an hourly toll of horror. Before this went down? Hutus and Tutsis in Kigali had intermarried and lived together in ... well, not exactly harmony. But not often outright murder.