This is Joey with a quick “morning-after return from Rwanda” reflection.
Arriving back in New York yesterday after nearly 24 hours of travel was definitely a culture shock. The fast-paced nature of the city immediately jolted me—and as I sat in a crowded shuttle van on my way home from the airport, horns blaring and the busy cityscape unfolding before me, I instantly missed Rwanda! Rather than becoming overly sad, I tried to find a sense of inner quietness and reflect upon my travels. I tried to channel the peace, joy, and love I had felt in Rwanda over the past several weeks.
I recognize that this will be a goal—as well as challenge—of mine—and my CUNY colleagues and collaborators in moving forward. Trying to take all that we have garnered and apply it to our lives here will be a process that will not always be easy, yet it will be one that has the capacity to move us towards a fuller sense of humanity and strengthen our commitment to change.
Last year in Rwanda, my good friend and colleague Melanie Willingham-Jaggers taught me—and the KIE students— a song by Sweet Honey In The Rock that contained the lyric “We who believe in freedom cannot rest, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes”. After my second journey to Rwanda, this message continues to resonate for me. I am excited by the potential of theater as a universal language that stresses communication, builds knowledge, and plays a key role in the process of freedom.
As I sit musing and reading the blog written by my colleagues and collaborators of the past several weeks, I am feeling many emotions. Above all I am GRATEFUL for our time in Rwanda—for the notion of “let’s be now”, a commitment to “know more than we know”, and the continued burning desire to fight for freedom for all.
While this journey has “ended” in terms of actual time, its impact will matriculate in many ways—I SO look forward to see how it unfolds…