Return to Rwanda
on Rebecca in Rwanda (Rwanda), 08/Aug/2013 14:56, 34 days ago
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On Saturday, I will board a plane in Toronto to return to Rwanda for the first time in 3 1/2 years. I have mixed emotions. I can't wait to walk down the streets in Gitarama and I hope to see some of the children from my former Art Club. I am anxious to see Jean-Pierre, the boy who cooked me Christmas dinner but I don't have his contact information. I have been in touch with Marie and Jean-Paul and have a small gift for him. He is now a little boy heading to school and not the baby I remember strapped to his mother's back. My last memory of them is watching her walk from town to my house, determined to set up the business loan, with dusty feet and an eager stride. And of course, our memorable goodbye in her shop when she sent me back to Canada with an Agaseke basket overflowing with beans.I plan to visit the RCP school right away. I have added some photos to the blog to try and account for what has happened in my life during the 3 1/2 years. It has been very eventful to say the least! There are photos of the fundraisers we held in Ireland during the 10 months I spent working with the RCP charity. I can remember discussing the logo design, naming the school, buying the plot of land, seeing the building take shape, sourcing out places to host events and the passionate work of all those involved with a start-up charity. I can't wait to stand in front of the school and see the children relishing their opportunity at an education. I am looking forward to seeing the Headteacher Eric Platini and getting an update on the progress (and potential needs) of the school. It was always our plan to hand over full control to the Rwandan organisation within 5 years. I pray they have what they need to become independent.I am attaching some photos of different fundraisers I have done in Canada. Once I returned from Ireland, I wanted to maintain a connection with Rwanda even though I wasn't going to be working with the RCP anymore. It was unclear how I could accomplish that. I decided to have my students send care packages and in this way I could educate them in a global context while still keeping something very important to me alive and ticking. There is a photo of the package we received in 2011 from the RCP school and my students enjoying the gifts that were sent to them. There is a photo of my students this past school year, preparing 4 shoebox donations for the school in Rwanda. I told them they could send anything representative of Canada and so we sent lacrosse balls, a Raptors shirt and lots of letters with stickers on them :)Finally, another way in which I have kept Rwanda current is by speaking about it at different forums. I have spoken at InterFaith Youth Conferences in Dublin, at VSO recruiting centres in Ireland and Canada and I have told my stories at speaking events such as MoMondays in Toronto and Oakville. I love retelling some of the adventurous anecdotes involving spiders, motorbike rides and rafting on the Nile. Mostly I love the feeling of remembering the interactions between myself and strangers on the bus, teachers I did workshops with and people in my neighbourhood who treated me like family. As Ben Harper often sings in his repetitive ode to gratitude: "I am blessed, I am blessed, I am blessed to be a witness."Prayers for the journey. Next post: from Rwanda!!!