The best plan,
or no plan.
Life respects no plan.
Life fire will rip through
the savannah dry brush.
without much effort at all.
Life’s plan is the question.
But it will happen the way
in which the wind blows
in which the planet turns.
We will never know how.
We will never know why.
The best plan,
or no plan.
Is the way
Azizi means “excellent life” in Swahili.
We got together and arrived at a home in a village where we put on some traditional skirts and head wraps. They sung a prayer and as if the sounds were different and the same, together the birds were chirping and singing as they were.
Both parties doing a part of their daily routine, the birds adding a layer to the melody with beauteous synchronization. Harmony: it all made sense after spending a day in the life in rural Rwanda.
With the family after, we did our introductions, we peeled potatoes, worked on breaking up the land for farming, went walking down and up the hill to capture fresh water, wove bracelets with, and ate a hearty lunch. At the end we danced and hugged our goodbyes.
What a life they live. I am no farmer but they were happy and so was I. That’s their life and wow those women are strong. How their environment and plants for utilization is incredible. They aren’t just balancing stuff on their heads. They tightly spin and wrap a common banana leaf and that serves as a base to hold whatever you may need to hold! That’s hands free to a whole other level! I love it!
Rwanda has been growing at a rapid rate. My friends who have been to Rwanda in previous years say it’s changed so much. I’m so happy they are economically prospering! But what a dichotomy that the city is roaring with quick living many cars many restaurants of all types. Some restaurants seemed like they could be right here in Buffalo, NY.
Yet only an hour away there’s many villages like the one we spent time with at Azizi life experience, that their lives are not anything like ours. Rwanda is so fertile to plant and farm, what will happen if people don’t want to be farmers? Is there ways to make farming less physically demanding within the means of cost effectiveness?
I hope as long as individuals truly do what makes their heart bloom there will be room to continually grow for the better.
To be dubbed the toy master is a great honor. I am the keeper of the group puzzles by Barbara Nelson! What it means to be a toy master is to bring peace, fun and light through the puzzles. It is so satisfying to do a nice handmade with love that is such a surprise (the puzzles have no pictures on them). Everything happens for a reason and I am blooming with joy that I am the one to teach and remind how to have fun and am the keeper of the puzzles. I am silly! I am happy with who I am, sillys and all. I even in tough times, it seems I to make people smile and/or laugh with my serious comments, then realize, hey! I guess that really was quite humorous!
The play we have been working on since January has exploded with such meaning. I am constantly at a loss of what to say especially at the memorials. At Nyamata and the Belgium memorial they had guest books to sign. Sitting in front of these guest books were moments that were the epitome of loss for words. Multiple times during this trip I have turned to Lilly and would quote the play.
Our play “Anne Frank in Rwanda” has the perfect combination of words that could drive my road of emotions to explanation. The play is written by our villagers Lilly (who went on the previous Rwanda trip, wonderful lady and recent grad to become a teacher) and Eve (another outstanding woman, a teacher and is the right hand woman to Drew the director of the Anne Frank Project) they took some parts right from the Diary of Anne Frank and Immaculée Ilibagiza (writer and survivor of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi) I knew that writing, “I’m so sorry” in the guest books, was not the note I truly wanted to leave. Two lines from the play that keep bouncing around my brain is: “What to read. What to write. What to do.” (Nyamata memorial note) Also, “My suffering is nothing compared to the thousands who are suffering more.” (Belgium memorial note)
I was so worried our play may offend someone becuase we do say "Tutsi" and theres no Tutsi anymore. Tutsi and Hutu were made up and everyone is simply Rwandan. At the end of the play we go back to being kids and play hand clap games and involve the audience. The audience told us we made them feel happy and sad, what a contract of emotions. To look into the eyes of someone you don't know whose story you may have just touched on, then to play patty cakes with them its a feeling of sparkle, light and joy.
All of this has been much more emotionally exhausting than I prepared for and expected. I can be a little scatter brained but I will try to write and reflect here as much as my heart and brain can handle!
Poetic on the beat cause that the way I’m feelin it:
Is oozing with emotion.
Observation that fizzles
from my brain
to my heart.
Through my blood
to my feet,
to the earth,
through my sweat,
To think or not to think?
Is that the question?
To run away.
To a land of no feelings.
to feel too much
Than no feeling at all.
MUCH LOVE TO ALL. Thank you for your time to read this.
If you have met me before I wonder if you read/hear these blogs in my voice?
What does it mean that one doesn’t want to experience a lifestyle that is different than yours? Is it fear? Selfishness? What is different isn’t wrong.
Yesterday was a wonderful walking your of Nyamirambo Women’s Center and the city. We saw a variety of sewing workshops, the market and homes. I found myself overwhelmed with happiness of the genuine I experience after the tour enjoying a home cooked lunch as a group. How sweet is it that our tour guides mother made us a home cooked meal in her kitchen, with her pots and pans, we ate it on her plates, made with love!
We went to the Kigali Memorial Center yesterday. Where about 250,000 bodies are laid to rest with dignity. We are so lucky to be here during Kwibuka. This is the remembrance of the 100 days of killing during the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. We were a part of a ceremony that we had the honor of laying flowers on the mass graves.
I found myself wanting to leave the Memorial Center. I think I wanted to leave my emotions more than leaving the memorial. In the room with all the pictures of those lost, I thought I was going to lose it. I wanted to scream. I thought maybe I could write something and all I had written in my phone was “I just want to leave I don’t want to know anymore but” … I realized I DO want to know more about how they moved so far grace from this.
Poetic on the beat: I feel better this way.
Felt the squeezing python
wrapped around my core.
My neck to my heart.
Squeezing my feels.
Not like this.
or bleeding heart?
Life is ours
NOT to take.
I am here to face the emotion.
I am the face of emotion.
Today we will cry again.
Thank you for your time you spent to read this.
The start of our physical journey started at 5:45 AM today, June 2nd. Our longest flight was 13 hours long. Surprisingly it wasn’t bad! We did Buffalo to JFK then had a layover in Doha, Qatar. After, we had a stop in Uganda but didn’t have to get off the plane which was convenient.
Maddie and I were waiting for the bathroom and started talking to a young man from France who was traveling to Congo to help doctors and make sure they have medicine and electricity. Maddie and I explained what we were doing in Rwanda and this gentleman’s eyes opened wide as he told us how brave we were that we are about to dig deep into an emotional experience. Here I thought he was the true brave soul going into the Congo to help doctors with primary resources, which to my understanding is much more dangerous than Rwanda.
I look forward to talking to more Rwandans about how they really feel now about the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. From what stories I’ve heard, people really are forgiving of what happened. Even this young man said in so many words that not everyone feels compassion and forgiveness. I can understand that in a sense, but not all people feel the same way as the majority. I will have a better understanding of how Rwandans feel about all that the more I talk to people. I have so much respect for this country that after the Genocide, the people of Rwanda were told to apologize to those that they wronged and those who were receiving apologies should answer with forgiveness and respect.
I am very looking forward to going to the Genocide Memorial tomorrow. That sentence really does read a little strange...haha! But I am so interested to learn more and how people moved through it all and to hear the stories through their on words. I know I’m an expressive person. I’m going to cry and it’s alright. Well all will be feeling a lot of different emotions and were all here to support each other. Its clear this group of people were picked with much thought in mind.
At work this weekend I presented at one of our weekly meeting at West Herr Ford Lincoln about our Rwanda trip. I explained a little background on Rwanda and described what our group is going to be doing there.
I am ecstatic that what I said compelled people to donate and positively talk to me about this trip!
I am so lucky to be a part of this educational adventure through the heart. I look forward to share the stories I’ll have! I know what I will have to say when I come back with have more power than what stories I had to share in explanation of why I wanted to be a part of this trip.
René Baia is a Textile Design graduate from Buffalo State. She has always had a passion for creative composition. She was awarded for her monologue and TV Real People performances in Los Angeles at The International Model and Talent Association in 2014. She is currently exploring a career in sales. She is delighted say her adventure as a Sales Consultant at West Herr Ford Lincoln has been full of excitement, new information and good people. In her free time she prefers to spend time learning new techniques for self defense and kickboxing. The story of Rwanda and the Anne Frank Project spoke deeply to Renés heart. She is ecstatic to be a part of this unique educational journey through the heart.