Today I decided put aside my reservations about waking up early (and I have a LOT of reservations about waking up early) and go to church at 7AM. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to attend a Catholic service on Sunday - it just so happened that our delegation didn’t have anything planned, there was a church very close to our hotel, and Noel, our bus driver, agreed to take Lila and I there.
I didn’t take any pictures as I wanted to remain as respectful as possible. However, the church was gorgeous - a cavernous, reverent space. The seats were simple and plain benches, without backs or kneelers. I sat near the back, hoping to attract as little attention as possible, thinking maybe the service wouldn’t be full. However, the church was packed full to capacity, and Lila and I attracted many curious looks (as we were the only non-Rwandans there).
Despite not speaking any Kinyarwanda, it was incredible how much of the mass I was able to understand. Obviously I couldn’t understand the homily (where I found out that priests in Rwanda like to talk just as much as priests in Buffalo), but the opening prayers, Our Father, blessing of the Eucharist, and collections were basically identical to services in Buffalo. The bright spiritual music was also remarkably similar to the contemporary music ensemble at my home parish. It was a wonderful morning of joyful celebration!
I am traveling to Rwanda with the intent of a sponge - I want to absorb as many unique experiences as I possibly can, and bring them back to share with my culture. I am a multifaceted artist, and Rwanda is a treasure trove of valuable experiences to draw inspiration from. As a visual artist, I look forward to seeing unique handmade art, and letting it inspire an artistic vision. As a musician, I look forward to hearing vastly different than what I’m used to, and letting that inspire music from my soul. And as a teacher, I’m looking to see teaching methods different than what I have known. I want to bring these gifts back and share them with my culture.