Today we went on a wonderful outing to a town called Byamba in the Gicumbi district in northern Rwanda, where we visited a high school called G.S. Delasalle. Wow – the drive was stunning; lush green hills and valleys for miles. The set-up was a bit similar to yesterday’s school visit in the sense that we were treated to a warm, performative welcome of song, dance, theatre and speeches in the school auditorium, followed by the opportunity to present some of our own work. The students were really enthusiastic about our participatory way of working and surprised that we did not simply offer a performance, but included them in games and asked them about their responses to our physicalized images of our impressions of NYC. As the students at this school are studying to become primary school teachers, our aim was to give them a sense of some ways to use drama in the classroom to enhance curriculum and facilitate dialogue. While the language barrier was a bit difficult because English has not been taught for very long at the school (we were humbled by the range of languages many of them spoke – Kinyarwanda, French, Swahili,etc. while many of us only speak one!), we managed to communicate with each other through the language of drama and movement. The assembly was followed by extensive photo taking, gracious invitations for us to return, and a declaration by the head of the school that “we are open” in regards to growth and change. It was unbelievably exciting to meet some of the future teachers of Rwanda and to have the opportunity to see what they have to offer as well as share some of our tools.
After a delicious lunch at a restaurant in a town overlooking Kigali with Jean and Leon, our FANTASTIC hosts, the second part of the day found us back at the hotel planning away for our first workshops with the Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) students, which begin tomorrow. We are all really eager to work with the students at the institute over the course of the next week, when we’ll have the opportunity to do more in-depth workshops.
Early to bed, early to rise – thanks to all who are reading and responding, we are happy to be connected!
p.s. I promised I’d send a shout-out to Jen’s mom…Hi, Jen’s mom!!!