Rwanda 1990. The Swiss development aid worker, David Hohl, arrives filled with ideals in a respectable country, in the “Switzerland of Africa”. But right from the start, his idealism meets with sobering experiences. His work is bureaucratic; questionable development projects by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in support of a dictatorship. In the capital Kigali, a boring dump, chaos erupts when the Pope addresses a packed stadium.
Hans Christopher Buch's novel, as he entitles it in the epilogue interlaces two historical levels which in a total of six chapters alternately and so far unexpected are placed against each other. The first part consists of documentary, diaryform records of three journeys to Rwanda and Zaire, the second of a literary autobiography of the african research worker, Richard Kandt.
This is a true story. It is based on the memoirs of Jeanne d’Arc Umubyeyi who as the only member of her family escaped the Rwandan genocide in 1994 and now lives in Germany as the adopted daughter of Hanna Jansen. The book, in which the author has recorded Jeanne’s story is the result of long conversations in which Jeanne tried to overcome the terrible experiences.