Rwanda 2013: The Journey
This space is for students to share, publicly, their observations, sound, images and reflections before, during and after the Harwood High School trip to Rwanda in February 2013.
I dont really have a name for this yet but i was up late last night and thought I would write something. Here it is:
Gabe and I did this film with Jean Luc's help. It's about some of the things we learned the past three weeks. Enjoy!
This film shares views on education in Rwanda and the U.S.
This is a short piece about Josie, maid, cook and nanny for Alexis and Gyslaine.
The first blog post I wrote, was about my first experience in Rwanda. So I thought it appropriate to continue the experience theme. As the title suggests, this post will be about my favorite experience in Rwanda, which was the Saint Benoit House, Kigufi. Its this amazing property with the front half surrounded by Lake Kivu, a large expanse, with teal water and sketchy canoe boats that seem to defy logic by floating.
-Journal Poem Write-
One lone boater, in this enormous blue lake, with water that molds itself like the plasticity of my brain
Its crashing one second, the next its calm, thoughts penetrate, kids jumping, like the crashing of a bomb
It grows ever wider as it erodes the dirty shores, breaking rocks, felling trees, and soon the time will be yours
Your flesh giving life to starving parasites, your bones giving structure to the rocks gargantuas heights
Eventually all you are and were will be giving lights, to shine bright in a lonely boaters empty night.
While staying in the city of Butare, Harwood students visted the National History Museum of Rwanda. Before witnessing the inside exhibits we were shuffled around back to see a breath-taking performance. Traditional Rwandan dancers train hard to showcase their cutlure through movement and music. Not only were we inches away from the performers, but we also could feel the beat of multiple drummers right in front of us. This video captures short bits of all sorts of dances that symbolize different culutral tradtions, such as womens labor, romance, and their holy cow. We also interviewed one of the woman dancers and the Artistic Director of the Urugangazi Dance group about the meaning of the dances, their training and thoughts. Hope you enjoy the video!
After entering Inzozi Nzazi, a local ice cream shop, I noticd what I thought was a white woman running it. Instead she was there to help as a volunteer from Blue Marble Dreams. This intrigued me. I felt that I needed to follow up and do an interview. Sure enough a woman from New York City is supporting the shop for three months. After concluding the interview, Meredith and I decided to return later that afternoon. We stumbled upon the Rwandan manager of the shop. We decided to interview her as well, and we found out the shop has been very successful, so successful they are planning to open up a new shop.
You’ve heard about basic human rights I’m sure. Everyone has. The problem is, no one ever seems to be able to agree on what these are. How many wars have been fought, how many people killed, trying to decide what is due to all humans simply because they are human beings.
I have always believed that water was a basic human right. Maybe it is because I am a naïve American girl who has always had clean cold water at her fingertips, at the turn of a faucet, the push of a button. But here, at a watering station only put in last year, I realize that water is not a commodity available simply because we are humans.
Before last year, the people here had no clean water, no water at all for miles. Education, kindness, family, everything came after water, because a lack of water makes people desperate. Water is necessary to stay alive.
Jenna and I sat down and interviewed the three girls that we stayed with during our home stay. We were interested in their view on America and Rwanda. Here's what we put together.
I listen to the rhythmic, mechanical thwack of my flip flops hitting the soles of my feet as I ruminate in the stench of calcified bodies and unequivocal, senseless waste. It seems to be the only thing keeping me from screaming and running headlong down the hillside. I am not made of stone, but these things make suddenly exhausted, world-weary and jaded. People will look at me, see my dry eyes and unwarranted calm countenance, and view me as cold and callous. But internally, it feels as though my insides are being ripped apart by claws, razor-sharp and malicious. I am boiling internally. But it won’t come out. Good or bad, in it stays. Stuck in my soul or written on a page, although my simplistic and ignorant prose cannot come close to how I feel, or close to worthy of the people I’ve just seen, mangled and forgotten, stiff as boards, piled on tables in countless rooms, to sit and marinate in the vast injustice and hope, hope, hope that people can learn to be kind and tolerant and decent to one another. These bodies cry out for this simple reprieve, and to be completely honest, it isn’t asking too much.
Stuck between the thumb and
Forefinger of Death,
Steadily being squeezed of the fervor
And anguish of life.
To be free of the
Pressure and pain,
The calamities of
So long life.
The candle won’t extinguish,
No matter how intensely
I wish it so,
Something cannot be crushed,
And I remain.
While we have been in Rwanda, we have experienced two incredibly different landscapes: the country and the city. While being in each setting for over a week, others and I have ventured out. While they are both alike as far as people and shops, the city is extremely different from rural Rwanda, which has a lot less wealth. Both experiences have been amazing.
Two photos represent the city of Kigali. In Kigali, we stayed at two types of places. One is Centre Christus where we had a roommate and a small room with a bed and a sink. It was a comfortable environment; it is also known as an “oasis.” Then we stayed with families in Tubeho. My experience was wonderful because I liked seeing how families work together and how they live. The roads of Kigali were buzzing with buses packed with people, speeding motorcycles, and stampedes of people walking. The kids were very friendly, had clean clothes, and most went to school which was in walking distance.
Just like going to school in the morning, you wake up in the morning; gather your things and head to school. A beautiful school, right on top of a hill so you can look out the window and see the rain coming. Hills for miles, houses, and land. Cows, pigs, and chickens. Just like back home in the green mountains. After school you head home and then have to go back at night because your town is being invaded and you’re searching for safety. Until 3:00am; your being woken up by the alarming sounds of “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! We are being attacked!” Try to run one direction being cut off by an explosion. Try to find your mom, your dad, your little brother and sister. The explosions stop but you’re still alive while they run in and start slugging people with clubs and you hear your baby sister scream as they chop off the limbs of the remaining survivors. 50,000 people dead; in a matter of 8 hours. You have been chopped and thrown, pushed with a bulldozer into a mass grave of people just like you. Then burned, some still alive until all of the evidence is gone.
So this video was very amazing experience for me. I dance back home and don't really share my dancing that often but I do on occasion. But when Teddy asked for us to show a special dance everyone looked to me to be the dance ambassador for the U.S and I just went in not thinking to show what I do back in the states. I was also happy to see my peers joined me in the experience and brought a few friends with them and by the end it was a dance party. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.
It is hot outside but I still want to give you a hug
My body is sweaty but I still want to hold your hand
The road is long but I still want you by my side
We show our love because that is what heals our open wounds
No matter how hard it may be, I've got love, affection, Rwanda and a friend like you