I have been home for about a week. Not one day goes by that I do not think about my trip to Rwanda. I miss it there! Every experience was bitter sweet. I am so happy to have been able to experience everything that Rwanda had to offer. I hope to one day go back to not only visit but to teach there. It is a dream that I hope comes true. The people that I met on this trip were amazing, funny jokes, inside jokes, karaoke, and deep conversations. This was an experience I will forever be blessed to have had!
It is coming down to the last couple of days. I am just thinking about so much. What I have learned about myself, what I have learned about my own environment, what I want to change, and forgiveness. This afternoon Drew asked the village three question. What are you proud of? What will you take back with you? And Something you learned? I a proud of coming out of my shell, I was shy at first but I learned that being shy is okay but sometimes it is okay to take that lead. It is okay to be free and show people that silly person that I keep trapped up inside. I will take story based learning back with me. I will use it in my classroom when I become a teacher, I will take back the things I learned and share it. I learned that one should always have hope and to work towards forgiveness. I learned that the people of Rwanda have been through so much. Some losing some family members, and others losing their whole family, and they still continue to live their lives with hope and live by forgiveness. Those questions really hit me because the trip is coming to an end . I did not come to Rwanda with any expectations, this trip has changed me in ways I cannot explain. I just want my actions and my behavior to show the positive affect that Rwanda had on me as a person and on my future career as a teacher!
OMG, trekking was no joke. It was amazing to see the Chimpanzees but I don’t know if I could do it again. LOL. After trekking we all went to a museum that was on our way back to Kigali. It was very interesting, they also had a gift shop that I brought some beautiful things from. Today was a crazy day but another memorable day.
I have not slept but we are on our way to go Chimpanzee trekking. I am so excited!!!
Today we got to visit the three schools that the teachers we trained work at. We observed how the teachers incorperated story based learning into their lessons. Each school did really well, I truly enjoyed experiencing this! In the second school we visited Lisa and I served the class together in whichbthe teacher finished her lesson early so we got to interact with the students and play with them. It was so much fun. It was a breath taking experience. I cannot wait to be a teacher!!!!
After today I am certain that teaching is the profession for me. I loved doing story based learning with the young boys today. Their imaginations run so deep. My group made a barber shop machine. This blew my mind away. One of the boys instructed me to be the razor and was the cord to the razor while another boy added to the machine and grabbed my hand to pretend to be a barber. I was so blown away by how much they enjoyed the games we played, how they really put words into their bodies and expressed them so vividly! After working with the young boys we went on a tour of the school, they don’t have much but they do all they can to provide those boys with a place to live and the best education they can give them. At the end of the tour they showed us some of the art work done by some of the previous boys that lived there and some current boys. One painting stuck out to me in particular that symbolized hope. I had to buy it to bring home with me. I think I'll pack it and bring it to college with me to remind me of everything the people in Rwanda went through and if they can still manage to have hope, so can I!
Today I exposed my inner dancer to the village. It was amazing! I had so much fun learning new dance moves while getting to sweat and laugh with my village members ! I played on the drum and added my own little twist with my hips! Remarkable experience. We had dinner at a restaurant called the Hut. Oh My The Food Was DELICIOUS! It was really spicy but still so good. For dessert I had ice cream which I did not like so much but I was still overly impressed by main course. What a DAY!!!!!!!
Today was a full, wonderful and sad day! We started off exchanging our money, I was so fascinated at the color, texture and how their money had apes on one side and baskets on the other. Which is very different from American money which has presidents. Their money has things that symbolize their country, unlike America with money that has the faces of our previous presidents. After, we went to Nyamirambo Women Center, this center was founded by women to help women. They teach women English and provide many with jobs some being tour guides and others sew things that are sold at their store which is right across the street from their center (I brought a beautiful book bag).This was so powerful to me, that women out here want to help others build themselves, this mindset is something I want to bring back. I want to teach my students that uplifting one another is a must. After we heard a little about their history we went on a walking tour. I could not stop smiling Rwanda is beautiful! We visited places where some may get their vegetables and others ingredients for cooking.
After visiting Nyamirambo Women Center we went to Kigali Genocide Memorial. My heart broke in half after I was done walking through the memorial. To kill so many innocent people, CHILDREN, I could not wrap my head around how someone can bash a child's head into a wall, kill a child with a machete, but to kill a child period! This part of the trip was eye opening because the people of Rwanda believe so much in forgiveness. They have forgiven the people that killed their family members which is something I don't think I could do. The view in Rwanda is so beautiful, priceless and words just cannot describe the beauty that my eyes witness nor the pain that I felt today. I am so honored to be here!!!
We went to another genocide memorial today. At first I was okay, the outside gate was broken from the grenade thrown at it so that the soldiers could get in. As I looked up I saw bullet holes on the outside awning. When I walked in I continued to see bullet holes, I began to see blood on the walls and poles. I looked to my left to see a statue of Mary. These people came to a church that they believed would keep them safe, especially their children. When I looked down on the benches I saw more children's clothes than anything. These babies didn’t have a chance to grow to experience the world, to walk, or talk before theirs lives were taken away from them. Inside the church there are stairs going down that led to a small room they built that was made to preserve some of the skulls and bones of the people that died in the church. My heart stoke as u saw broken skulls from clubs and machetes. Below the skulls was a casket of a young lady who in 1994 was 26. She was raped before she was killed with a sharpened stick that was entered through her vagina and exited her skull. To be raped is brutal and to be killed with a stick... it broke my heart. I began to take deep breaths to stop myself from crying. As we exited the church there is a small memorial in the back where they put to rest over 45,000 people. As a took my first step down I was okay it was the last step as I looked at a picture of a beautiful young lady that was placed on top on the casket is when I could no longer hold my tears back. These people did not deserve this. People did not deserve to lose their loved ones, people did not deserve to have their lives cut short. I looked back at Molly with a pool full of tears in my eyes. She whispered, “ It’s okay” I proceeded to keep going down, the caskets were open with the bones being visible. My heart could not handle it, how could someone take the life of so many? What have them the right to kill these people? Why? I ran back outside to breathe and to cry. Cry because this happened to these people. Cry because I was overwhelmed but honored to have been able to experience this. Also cry because I realized how grateful I am to have my family, to live with both my parents, and to have my wonderful brother and sister in my life and to still have grandparents... overall I was heartbroken but very much thankful. In the background of my thoughts I heard children laughing and screaming, I watched them and smiled for a while. It was incredible that this country has gone through so much and is still happy and filled with joy. Lila came over to me and we walked to the gate where the kids were hanging on the gate. “Muzungu” they laughed and pointed at us. They waved and blew us kisses. These kids are the future! This was a beautiful experience, very hard and heart breaking but beautiful. The group all grieved in different way but this experience did touch us all and I believe will have a big impact on our futures
I am traveling to Rwanda because I believe the people there have so much knowledge and so much to offer. I want the people there to impact my life in a positive way just as much as I want to impact their lives. I want to go and compare how their living style is different from mine and how I can change my living style to better myself, and my family. I want to be a teacher and the things that I learn in Rwanda I can use throughout my teaching career to impact people through sharing my story about my experience.