Humbled & nervous!

 Posted by Leonie Warcomika at 7:56 am  Rwanda
Oct 022013

So far I have been in Rwanda for a grand total of 2 days & already it has been more emotionally testing then I could possibly have conceived. After I landed in Kigali & said goodbye to my new fabulous rwandan friends (& of course exchanged emails) I met Sonia the wonderful lady we’d all been corresponding with to make this possible & i was then whisked off to the guest house, a beautiful house where I met my fellow volunteers & our surrogate mum kaytassa. Ah mum, this wonderful lady has the job of looking after the guest house & it’s inhabitants. Kay has to be the most fabulous cook ever & never thinks you’ve eaten enough!

After orientation we were taken to the office to meet the staff & some of the people we will be working with. We then realised how huge the language barrier is & suddenly everyone working community outreach bricked it! How can we possibly gain these ladies trust when they can’t understand a word we’re saying?! I guess we’ll find out…

next we were taken for a lunch of cassava leaves, rice & veggies & then it was off to the Rwandan genocide memorial. A lot of you know that I have read & researched all about the atrocities in Rwanda but let me tell you, nothing can prepare you for this. As you walk around learning more about the genocide it slowly takes the tour on a more personal level. First there are facts, then there are video interviews with survivors, then pictures of the people who had been murdered the old & young alike which is heartbreaking enough however after this you are led into a room full of skulls & bones of the deceased, some riddled with bullet holes other with huge fractures where they had been hit by a machete. Never in my life have I openly sobbed so much before. Once you’ve recovered yourself you are taken into the children’s memorial which is filled with pictures & information about said child ie:

Age; 5

best friend; brother

died; bashed against a rock (genuinely read)

The most incredible thing about the Rwandan people is there capacity to forgive. Once the genocide was over instead of committing vengeance killings the people let the killers talk, confess their sins & finally they forgave them. This isn’t to say they went unpunished.  I have a lot of respect for the Rwandans, they are truly incredible people & we have a LOT to learn from them.

Wow I feel like I’ve written a lot!  If you’re still reading even with the terrible sentence structure good on ya!

Today was a happier day, we went to meet the children faith victory works with & they are darlings! They loved the cameras & the sunglasses & even meeting muzungas (white people) after a short while myself & the other community outreach volunteer went to the market & farms to meet some of the women we will be working with & they were amazing! These women have built up small businesses from nothing & are now prospering! Women that have set up vegetable market stores to phone charging booths to women making beautiful jewellery out of paper in the evening & farming in the morning! I truly cannot wait to get stuck in.

After all the excitement we were given our final task. To get home on public transit. ahh! Now for those of you who are unaware the roads here are madness, Rwandans have no fear. Cars will overtake motor taxis even though they can see a truck speeding towards them, motor taxis will weave in & out of cars as fast as they can & both will go on the footpath whilst all the while pedestrians will be casually strolling across the street of speeding cars & motorbikes without fear of getting hit! Complete insanity. after an eventful bus ride I rode my first motor taxi which is when you sit on the back of the morbike & speed home. This has to be the most exhilarating experience of my life, honest to god these guys have no road signs & no speed limits they just do what they want.

I really cannot believe I’m here & if these first couple of days is anything to go by it’ll be a helluva few months!


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