This past weekend and the next two days are about enjoying, learning, and finishing up our stay in Rwanda. Friday night we volunteered to assess Kepler and Akilah students in their networking skills at a mock event. It was held at “The Office,” a cool rooftop venue where Kilgali unrolled beneath the five story building:
Saturday morning at 7:00 am, Narcisse, another driver who has become a friend, picked us up drove us three hours to Gisneyi on Lake Kivu. We lived in luxury for thirty hours (read: hot showers and copious amounts of fresh fruit). Here are some images of this lovely lake from which we could see volcanoes and Congo:
We returned with Narcisse to Kilgali on Sunday evening in time to enjoy a delicious meal with Kaitlin and Morgan, the two kind, bright young women we are sharing the Kepler staff house with. Here’s the outside of the house (I need to get some photographs of Kaitlin and Morgan!):
This morning we drove forty minutes out of Kilgali to Nyamata to visit the Maranyundo Girls’ School, a spacious, growing boarding campus. As we sat in Sister Juvenal’s office, I was looking through photographs in a book, and there was Kate Harrington, a wonderful student of mine and now friend, the daughter of colleagues. I knew she had worked in Rwanda at a girls’ boarding school but never imagined visiting that particular school. Very small world. These young girls are testing at the top of all students in Rwanda; they are doing so many things well here. Some images from the school:
On the way back to the city to meet someone from the NGO, Shooting Touch, a possible partner with Nobles via girls’ basketball, we stopped at two Genocide Memorials in two different Catholic churches. These are tough places to go. And they are important places to visit. Like the organization, Facing History, in Brookline, MA, Rwanda believes in the need to face the brutality and savagery of the past so that this horror is never repeated. The churches remain exactly as they were found after the genocide, crumbled where grenades blew up, blood stained, and filled with clothing, bones, and skulls of the murdered. Both places were also mass grave sites, ten thousand in the first and five thousand in the second. Ben, after teaching a course on genocide for several years, has a stronger ability to witness this kind of atrocity. I had to leave the inside of the church and stand outside to breathe in fresh air. Primary schools were near both sites, and I saw kids walking by, arm in arm and singing. When they saw me, they waved and smiled. As usual, kids heal me (my own and others). They pull me into some better present. At the second memorial there was an eternal flame – a constant flicker of hope. We are leaving Rwanda tomorrow evening with so many memories of people who are healing this country.