It feels amazing to be back in Rwanda once again! Being here for the second time has allowed me to more fully immerse myself in the culture, learn the language, form friendships, develop as a practitioner, and continue to build relationships with the drama students at KIE.
After a busy and productive week working at KIE, it was nice to sleep in today and have a relaxing morning. I spent some time with the fantastic staff of the Civitas Hotel learning how to make African Tea. I have enjoyed it so much each morning and look forward to trying to replicate it when I arrive home!
Having the first part of the day free gave me the opportunity to reflect on yesterday’s successes and farewell celebration with the students of KIE. It has been SO wonderful to get to work so closely with the Level 4 students for the second time. Seeing them–and the Level 2 students–perform their original plays was truly astounding–they all have grown so much in terms of their theatrical skills, and ability to ask questions of their audiences. How rewarding it is to see how much growth has occurred in one year’s time! I know it is only the beginning for the students–and am excited to see what is to come.
One thing that has remained constant since last year is the students’ generosity of spirit. Their openness and commitment to the work, and genuine appreciation and affection towards us from CUNY are contagious. I am unbelievably grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them once again.
It felt good to “hit the road” today and drive north to Byumba for a visit at a secondary (high) school. Seeing the rolling green hills of the countryside once again reminded me of just how beautiful this country is–I feel more and more at home here with each passing day. At the school, we were graciously received with a performance of a play that featured issues like the spread of HIV and genocide ideologies that the community wants to move past. It is clear that they are excited about using theater as a tool for forward mobility. I know that the Level 4 KIE students will form useful partnerships with such institutions when they begin their internships later this year.
Change is happening slowly in Rwanda–as it does everywhere–and this trip has been a reminder for me to slow down, and trust that our work has incredible value in contributing to meaningful change. Nishimye kuba m’uRwanda!