8 June 2019
\nToday was our first day working with teachers through story based learning at The Urukundo Foundation Center. We first met in a big circle in front of the classrooms and Drew gave a big introduction to what we were going to be doing for the next two days. We were developing our village and creating at least village rules for our village. The next day we were developing our story. We were split within the subjects the teachers teach so Monique (my fellow village member) and I were assigned to the social studies and geography group. When Monique and I got our group we circled them up. We showed them the giving and receiving hands and took three breathes in together. First game we played was pulse and I have to say I thought since we are all adults that we all would be somewhat pros with this game but nope. We had a lot of hiccups with this one but it was funny. Once everyone got in the groove we were moving faster. With every hiccup we had we took breathes to clear our minds and to get present. The next game we played (which is everyone's favorite) ha-lo. The teachers got right into this game and was playing as if it was a tournament. Some teachers struggled but nothing a few good breathes with the village can't help. After our games we create three village rules that as a village we should live by. Before the rules Monique and I asked our group how each game made them feel and three words stuck out the most and those words were communication, respect and confidence. So we made sure each village rule was with that one word. Our first rule; We agree to communicate with each other in order to share our stories. Our second rule; We agree to respect each other. Our third rule; We agree to act with confidence. We read the rules together as a village and then we went to lunch.
\nAfter lunch each group was given the same quote by Howard Zinn in which we had to create a short quote that sums up what we feel the qoute means. I first read the quote twice to the group and then Monique asked if there were any words that came to mind after reading that quote, words that were important. We came up with close to 20 words and we started to break them down to what words were similar and words we felt we didn't want on the board. That help made our list smaller and so we were left with at least 7 words but the most important words that stood out to the group was goals, determination, and success. With those words we came up with "With strong goals and determination; we can move forward towards success." After we created the qoute we put it into our bodies. We first made the quote into a machine. Then into statues. After we did that we went outside and showed the other groups what we came up with and what our quote was and they did the same. Before we went back to our classrooms, Drew told us it was now time to create a story using our quote we made. So we had to use the story structure; Once upon a time there was...Everyday...One day...Because of that...Because of that...Until finally... So with that structure we created a story about forest animals coming together to defend themselves against predators.
\nOnce upon a time there was a big forest with lots of animals and trees. Everyday life was busy. With birds singing, lions running, monkeys climbing, and elephants grazing. Until one day hyenas tried to chase the peaceful animals. Because of that the animals, especially the lions came together to fight against the hyenas. Until finally they defeated the hyenas and peace was restored.
\nEveryone in my group played a part in the story. Some were trees, birds, lions, monkeys, elephants and I was the hyena. We performed our story for the other groups and got a great response. Our story was a clear example of our quote which was "with strong goals and determination; we can move forward towards success."
\nAfter our first day with the teachers we got a tour of the Urukundo Foundation center. It was really spread out and bigger than I expected. Lots of resources there and free help to those at the school and within the Urukundo community. The views were gorgeous and just a site to see. I don't think the pictures I took of it does it complete justice but I captured the beautiful hills not only with my camera but it will forever be embedded in my mind.
My name is Janae' Leonard and I'm a senior Theatre major at Buffalo State. Since I was a little girl I always dreamed of traveling and seeing the world. The one place where I dreamed of going was to Africa. The motherland, the place where life started. I want to go to Rwanda to experience different cultures, hear stories, and learn how to not only love myself but how to give and show love to others in different ways. I want to show people in Rwanda that they matter and their stories matter. It took me a while to understand that I mattered and that my story matters and so I want to show what I learned and express it through love. I plan to go to Rwanda open minded and open hearted. I want to take in as much as I can and bring it back home with me where I can share everything I learned and felt through story, song, acting and other mediums.