Today I woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning again which made me feel pretty accomplished and headed to breakfast excited to have another morning cup of Rwandan coffee. I find the authentic coffee here has a way of encouraging me to get out of bed in the morning in a way that Starbucks never could. After consuming honey bread, an omelette and some fruit the whole AFP group gathered to work on our story based learning project. The new project ended up taking a couple hours to create as a group but luckily the next activity planned required less energy since it involved eating lunch. We ate at Camalia, a rooftop buffet restaurant that was only a mile from St. Paul Guesthouse. It stood on the 8th floor of the building and gave us a view of the entire city which encompassed a plethora of rolling green hills and valleys mounted with houses, shops, schools, hotels, and people living out their daily lives.
Soon after we headed to the biggest market in Kigali where they sell everything you could possibly fathom and the best part is that it is culturally acceptable to bargain for an item.
With the exchange rate being in our favor of:
1 US dollar = 900 Rwandan Francs, we were able to purchase many souvenirs to bring back home to family and friends.
Within 15 minutes of leaving the market we headed to the Unema Arts Gallery where we met local artists and viewed their unique canvases and other various creations. After touring the gallery and the rest of the grounds that make up the art center we began our dance lesson. Our choreographer has the most charisma of any dance teacher I’ve ever had. He taught us traditional Rwandan dances that involved using the movement our whole bodies and we found our rhythm with the help of two tall African drums. The choreography involved swaying our hips, lunging and jumping as well as spinning around and adding our own flare. By the time we had finished and and performed the final product, we were panting with sweat coming down our foreheads.
After our "Work out" we rewarded ourselves with dinner from a restaurant called The Hut. With full bellies, sore muscles and smiling faces, we concluded our evening and headed back to St. Paul.
About the Author
Hi my name is Monique Newman and I am a junior pursuing a degree in Sociology at Pepperdine University. In my free time I enjoy spending most of it outdoors engaging in various hiking activities with friends, playing basketball or spending all day at the beach. The first time I heard of the Anne Frank Project was through a leadership conference that I attended while studying abroad in Switzerland during my second year of college. My desire to see the world, diving into new experiences and serving diverse communities is what made me want to embark on this new journey to Rwanda with SUNY Buffalo State College. One of the most important aspects about this trip is going in with an open mind and being willing to empathize. I believe this is essential in order to hear and be present while learning about people’s individual stories and life lessons as well as understanding the beauty of cultures that are different from my own.