Thursday, May 26, 2011

Luxury Redefined

Every day, after teaching two morning classes, we come back to the guest house to rest and eat lunch. The two hour break is a nice refresher from the high energy of our mornings and afternoons. Today, we found a little friend, who must have come to work with his mother or father. He is not at all afraid of 19 big, tall muzunga (white people). It was a challenge to get him to stand still long enough to take a picture, but I wanted to share this sweet surprise.

Last night, for the first time on this trip, I retreated to my room. Both roommates were out for the evening, so I showered and was ready for bed by 8pm. I had no way to connect to the internet, so I rested and read, went to sleep early and woke up ready to tackle the day. In our fast paced schedule, this was a luxury, a word which now has a new meaning for me. Things that I have always taken for granted, I now know are a luxury to so many in this world.
While I don’t want to say that I take my family for granted, I realize that I do. In Rwanda there are so many young people with no family as a result of the genocide. One of my roommates, Cindy, discovered that one of the 4th grade students is a 21 year old orphan. His name is Tojay and he is very bright. Like so many Rwandan orphans, he lived on the street for quite some time, fending for himself. He now lives at an orphanage for young men called Ten Talents (I know that you understand the significance of the name). For the last 2 years, he has trained as a carpenter and now finds himself back in school to prepare himself with an education. He and another orphaned young man, Fred, came to the guest house last night to visit. Cindy is tutoring each of these students after school and today they joined us for lunch. The meal that has become tiresome for me (meat, 2 starches and vegetables) was the best they have ever eaten they said. How humbling. Bright eyes, big smiles, willing to learn…I admire the resilience of these young men, which is so characteristic of each of the Rwandans I meet.
Fred, Cindy and Tojay

They remind me to be grateful for three things: my family, my food and my education. Not everyone in this world has been so blessed.

Since it is noon here, I will eat lunch soon, then walk through the guest house garden, down the dirt road to the school to teach 2 more classes.

The Garden
The Road to School
 Today we are teaching parts of the body and have done the “Hokey Pokey” to remind the kids of their new words. I’m not sure who is having more fun, us or them. We can begin to see that the students are catching on, remembering new words, forming new sentences. We are just on week 2 and by the time the 3rd team leaves in late July, I hope that most of the students will be comfortable with their newfound knowledge.
And, likewise, I hope that I, a student of this new culture, do not forget all that I have seen and experienced, this glimpse into a world so different from my own.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the "Hokey Pokey" is what it's all about :)