“Helen!” “Chris!” As we staggered wearily through the Kigali customs yesterday evening, our names rang out across the small arrivals lounge. Leon was shouting excitedly from behind the crowded rope barrier off to one side. Moments later, Jean was over it and striding towards us from another. Leon converged with him and before we had even reached the exit, excited, emotional, hugs and kisses all round – Rwandan, American and Applied Theatre style combined – confirmed, unequivocally, that we were back!
Outside, Dean Nsanzabiga was also waiting to greet us warmly. He had left an engagement party, bringing his wife and son to meet us for the first time: we were very honored. A short ride later found us home away from home, all back at the Civitas Hotel, where the evening staff, familiar personalities from last year’s visit, were waiting with more warm welcomes, lining up to proffer further hugs and handshakes.
Twenty-five hours continuous traveling makes you very weary, but the excitement of reuniting with ‘old’ friends – not to mention a glass of Primus under the Rwandan stars – is a wonderful tonic! Later, as the party finally broke-up, we realized we were relaxed for the first time in several days: the preparation and anticipation is over and now the challenge is to meet the high hopes and evident expectations of our gracious hosts. Our students will join us in one week’s time, but tomorrow the advance work begins in earnest. The adventure continues! Stay tuned.
Helen & Chris