Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rwanda, you are too good to me.

Zambia bound in the am. Filled with a mix of sadness, anxiety, and well mostly sadness.  Since I have done a pretty bad job blogging in recent weeks I am just going to share some final thoughts and refections.

Sharing Rwanda with the people I love is quite possibly my favorite thing to do.  Spending time here with my mom and Alex was really a blessing.  And I am quite pleased to report I think Alex is smitten with Rwanda.  I mean, I didn't really expect anything less seeing as Rwanda is so amazing.  Every day I spend here I see something more spectacular than the last.  Today Alex played mancala (for those of you who remember the game from childhood) with the gift wrapper, Fidel, at the market.  Something so simple yet so meaningful--- two people who do not speak the same language, could enjoy a little friendly competition and find commonality over a variation of a game both had grown up with.

The center really seems to be blossoming.  I am amazed by the growth and the dedication of the current staff.  Yesterday I sat in on a training by the counselor (all in Kinyarwanda so much of it was lost on me) about shame and self-blame.  She gives weekly trainings to the entire staff-cook, social workers, guard, driver--about how to address the needs of the boys and best practice for vulnerable children.  The future social worker in me is beyond thrilled.  I think the center is on a path to being truly rehabilitative and going beyond the surface to core issues.  Wow, I am such a child welfare nerd!

I discovered this other wonderful street child center during my time here, if you have a chance check it out!
The executive director, Sean, from New Mexico, is really living the dream if you ask me!
Check it out here! 

This country never ceases to amaze me.  And this trip, more than ever before, has solidified that Rwanda is home.  I had the joy of seeing old friends and building even stronger relationships, and the pleasure of meeting new ones.  I spent far too much time in Kimironko Market, to the point where I could recognize any new fabric that came into my dear friend Josephine's shop.  But the hours I spent waiting for a dress to be finished or simply sitting and watching the world go by, were invaluable.  Thank you so much to Josephine for incredible hospitality and including me in the family.  You truly have become a sister.  Thank you to my superstar Willy, who is growing up into an incredible young man.  The world better prepare themselves for all he has to offer.  Thank you to all of my friends at the market for the Kinyarwanda lessons and for sharing Fantas, for the dance parties and the laughter.  And thank you to my wonderful Les Enfant de Dieu, to the place who has made me who I am today, the people who have brought so much love into my life, and the memories that will carry me through until next time...

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