Tuesday morning we met Muhanga District's Director of Education, and also the mayor. The Director spoke with us of how schools work in Rwanda, the challenges they face, and how schools are assessed. It was really interesting to hear the 'behind the scenes' of these schools. He also showed us some empirical data on their performance results, showing that they are one of the top performing districts in the country. This is absolutely wild, and helped me to really get behind their competency based curriculum, and also the importance of story based learning!
After we all met, we went to a village and helped with a youth group, who was helping create bricks for (I think) a home. After, we observed the cow donation ceremony. It was really interesting to see- how integral a cow is to ease the burden of poverty for families.
We all ate lunch with the mayor and then we left for Cyangugu. This 'Land of 1000 Hills' is no joke. We literally drove around, up, and over every hill. I felt so carsick. It was heaven when we finally reached the guest house.
I am honored to have been given this opportunity to go to Rwanda and look forward to growing from this experience, both professionally and personally. The Great Lakes region in Africa is of great interest to me, especially as a resident of the Great Lakes region in the United States. I currently work as a refugee resettlement case worker at a local agency in Buffalo. Conflict resolution and community building are two topics that are crucial in my work, and I am eager to both share my stories on those subjects and learn from the stories of others. Ultimately, through our collective stories, I hope to witness and engage in the solidarity that has developed in Rwanda since the mid-nineties. My hope is to bring that knowledge back to my work in Buffalo. The lessons learned can then be put into action by aiding in the development of programs that will have a positive effect on the families and communities that I serve.