We have a team video! Sorry about the poor quality everything seemed to stop working so we had to improvise a bit. Hopefully it’ll show a bit more of what we’ve been doing, although obviously it’s only a snippet of our time together. Here’s the youtube link:
Just about to set off for the airport! Everyone’s shared their stories and we’ve said our goodbyes to the ICVs (and most of the UKVs who are getting an earlier flight) now it’s time to go home! Our flight is 11.45 (9.45 UK) and we should hopefully get back around 11 UK time tomorrow morning. It was mid-20s and beautiful sunshine here in Kigali today, I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like back in the UK…
After a small leaving party with the AEE staff, we’ve now left the guesthouse and have gone back to where we had the orientation. We’re waiting for the other teams to arrive so we can have a catch up. After finding out what the others have been up to we’ll have some post-placement talks, then tomorrow we fly back to the UK. I’m really going to miss Kigali, although I am looking forward to some different food.
The staff at AEE very kindly treated us with a final meal with them at a local restaurant last night. The food was great and it was really nice to dine with all the staff, with many touching words spoken. AEE have been wonderful to work with and we’ll all really miss our time together.
On Wednesday afternoons we have been visiting Compassion, a youth group for students from around 13-18 sponsored by AEE. Whilst there we hold debates and do public speaking. The students are very good at English and are all great to talk to, so it’s one of the most interesting things that we do. Some of them also live nearby so sometimes visit, and one of the students, Arnold, is who I do the weekly workout with.
We had an early leaving party last night just at the house. It was so much fun just listening to African music and learning how to dance (something that I am very bad at), and just reminiscing about the good times so far.
Another project we’ve been doing recently is at a self-help group on the outskirts of Kigali. It’s the most rural place we are working and a beautiful place, set amongst the many hills, although through it’s very difficult to get there due to the awful roads. Whilst there we do whatever is asking of us, from basic gardening to making pathways.
Cows are very important in Rwanda, and they are considered something of great value. At weddings traditionally the groom gives the bride’s parents a number of cows to show that he can support the family. At funerals a cow may be presented to a member of the family as a form of condolence. Even traditional Rwandan dance is based around the movements of a cow.
Of course these customs are only carried out today for tradition, but a cow can still change someone’s life.
We recently went to see 60 beneficiaries receive their cow from AEE. It was a very important ceremony as these people are in absolute poverty so many people dressed up for the event.
I can’t believe it, my placement is nearly over. 9 weeks have gone by so quickly and now we’ve just got a few days left before flying back to cold, rainy England. It’ll feel weird getting off the plane from Rwanda, where it is so green and warm, to England where everything is so different. But now is not the time to think about that, now is the time to make the absolute most out of what I have left.
Rwandan singer Meddy has become a bit of an icon in our team, and his song ‘holy spirit’ is definitely our anthem. It’s an awful song, really terrible, but it seems to be on wherever we go; on the radio, in a bakery, even on the bus. So now we’ve embraced it as our own and blast it out of the minibus with the windows down, laughing and singing.