Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Final Weekend

Day 28
It’s an easy Saturday with a free morning for working on homework. At lunch time, some of students stay at La Palisse and enjoy pizza, samosas (fried pockets of awesomeness) and Fantas.  
 Afterward, we meet with journalists, Rogers, and Olivier, who work with our original Olivier and Teddy. They explain the use of media amongst young people to open up discussions, since it’s a good way to deal with things. They promote peace and try to resolve prejudice in the media. They participate in the Amani Great Lakes film festival, have a magazine called Heza and a radio show called Heza. Four days a week, Heza radio has a 30 minute clip on Voice of America (VOA).
You can learn more about the youth media in Rwanda by visiting: and you might also see some videos of our group!
Day 30
Some students head to the Pentecostal Church, and Carrie and I head to the Catholic Church.
Without a translator, or a sense of direction, Carrie and I realize that we have no idea where the Catholic Church is. We call Rogers, who is in Kigali, and he calls Yvonne’s husband, who sends her son, Morris to find us. Before Morris finds us, we run into Bob, one of the children we see often in town. He’s waiting in line with his friends and their yellow jugs to get water when he sees us. He gives us high-fives and we ask him where the church is but he doesn’t understand. Then we ask in Kinyarwanda and he grabs my hand and leads us in the right direction.
I can feel my hand sweating in Bob’s as the Rwandan sun beats down on my back. As he leads us down a road, we see Morris ahead of us, waving his hands frantically. Morris speaks incredible English, approaches us and says, “I heard you were lost!”
As we walk up to the Catholic Church, a nice brick building with windows formed by absent bricks, we hear singing. When we enter, the congregation stares at us and we realize that the woman we were planning to meet is not present. We take a seat on a bench, which reminds us of the benches at Nyamata, and listen intently to the Kinyarwanda although we cannot understand it.
Then, a young woman our age approaches us and tells us she will translate for us. She’s wearing silly bands on her left hand and whispers the translation quietly. We are so thankful for her help. She directs us to receive the body of Christ and lets us know when we need to stand. We clap along with the songs, but the best part is sending peace to our neighbors. AMOHORO! Toward the end of mass, the priest asks us to stand up and introduce ourselves and our purpose in Gashora. They wish we could join them every week to help them praise God.
As we leave the church, I get to talk with one of the students from the English club at the primary school, Bacht, and he’s excited for tomorrow’s lesson.
(Others may also do write-ups of their church experience this morning so keep looking!)
After church and lunch, we head to La Palisse to work on homework until we have class. We reflect on what we’ll say when people ask us about Rwanda. We want to talk about the community, about the amazing Rwandan partners we’ve had (Lama, Cedric, Teddy, Olivier, Rogers, William), and we also feel that expressing this experience will be difficult. So, if you’re reading this, thanks for making things easier for us and staying informed while everything is going on!
The sun sets once more. We walk to our compound, swatting mosquitoes. We feel moths in the candlelight of our hearts. How will we say goodbye?

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