Well, it is Thursday and I have been back in Buffalo for several days now. I would have written a bit earlier but I came down with a stomach bug and finally I am beginning to feel like myself again.
I know I was only there for two weeks, but I would like to go back again for longer , and would in a heartbeat (hint hint Professor Kahn).
I have a journal written with observations, quotes, thoughts, and notes from these two weeks. The biggest realization for me was the amount of cultural difference there is- in the way of life, transportation, language, body language, actions, food, religion's role in life, and so forth. This summer I plan on using what I have learned about East African culture from the Great Lakes Africa region and implement this into creating a more culturally appropriate resettlement and easier integration experience, to lessen social and cultural isolation in our families. Be prepared to hear about this in the future!
Personally, I will be adding French into my courses at Buff State, after realizing how weak my language skill was, and now seeing the necessity of French for my future.
This was a great experience, and one that I will be taking with me in my personal life and through my future career. Thank you all who have helped make this dream of going to Rwanda a reality, and I look forward to what the future holds for the teachers, family, and friends I have made there.
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.