Our First Day in Kigali

We have arrived! Today is the end of our first full day in Rwanda, and it was a wonderful one!

Half of our cohort, plus Professor Amy Green, arrived at Kigali Airport last night around 7pm, and the second half arrived around midnight. Despite 19+ hours of travelling and  a time difference of 6 hours, we all managed to wake up in time to enjoy a beautiful breakfast buffet including hard boiled eggs, fresh juices, fruits, cereal, coffee and African tea (which is spicy and served with hot milk like Chai).

We took a tour of Kigali in the afternoon with our new friends Jean and Leon guiding the way. We were able to get a brief look at the College of Education at the University of Rwanda where we’ll be going tomorrow morning to work with the Drama Education students! We then drove through the city, taking in all the beautiful sights and distinctive smells of this wonderful place.

Our tour included a memorial site for the Belgian commandos, Belgian citizens, who had died defending the Rwandan Prime Minister, Madame Uwilingiyimana and all the victims of the genocide. It was inside a building which was riddled with bullet holes, which has been preserved since 1994. A beautiful rock garden stood outside with tall, stone monuments representing each Belgian commando. It was the first memorial site we have visited, and was a powerful reminder of everything we have been learning, talking, and thinking about to prepare for our time here.

We also visited our first market, which was so much fun! Helen revealed her love of masks, but practiced restraint. It was hard to resist buying every beautiful basket, statue, necklace, and mask, because they were all so incredible and unique. We’re very excited to visit more markets this week.

After our tour, we came back to the Civitas Hotel to regroup one last time before we begin working with the students at Kigali University tomorrow morning. We are all feeling excited and a little nervous about tomorrow – it’s hard to know what it will be like! We’re all sure, though, that it will be an exciting, inspiring, and challenging experience.

Onward!

Jill Barry

 

 

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