**this post was written yesterday, 5/26. Our Internet has not been reliable, so our apologies on the lag time!
Hi friends and family! For the remainder of the trip I will be updating you on Thursdays to make sure you’re able to follow our progress every step of the way! Yesterday and today were great days in Butare, and we’re becoming much more comfortable in our surroundings. Yesterday our new friend Diallo took us to the university, and it was one of the most peaceful places I have ever been. It is on beautiful rolling hills–like most things in Rwanda–surrounded by the arboretum. The school of medicine is right by the hospital, which is similar to a motel in that all of the hallways are outside. There are many children and patients sitting among gardens and playgrounds for the kids, and the facilities were very impressive! Interestingly enough all of the signs and classes are now in English, which became the official language of the country three years ago. We even heard Justin Bieber blasting from somebody’s radio on campus!
At the end of the night, Katy, our friend Christopher and I went out for a few drinks with the two girls from England who are here representing their student organization, British Volunteers for Development Abroad (BVDA). We learned that BVDA and GlobeMed are RVCP’s two long-term partners, and many of our visions for the future of RVCP and the Huye district are very similar. While our programmatic work varies quite a bit (GlobeMed focuses on one project that we hope to grow to include nearly all women in the district, while BVDA helps RVCP on various projects that are more short term), it is inspiring and motivating to see that there are students in England who have as much passion and drive as we do. We agreed that progress is best made through strong partnerships and collaborative work, and hopefully we can act on this by communicating throughout the year!
Today we continued getting to know the town by taking our first trip to the market. There were SO many things to see! We bought very, very many fresh vegetables (after some hilarious miscommunications), and we’ll be cooking our first meal in the house this evening! Rwanda and its people are incredibly calming and beautiful–inside and out. Everything here is done at a slow pace, and most people are very quiet and pleasant. It’s drastically different than the hustle and bustle of DC, but we all agree that it’s a relaxing, thought-provoking environment that is at a particularly interesting moment in time. There is development happening EVERYWHERE, right before our eyes, and the Rwandan people seem incredibly motivated by that. We are honored and excited to be a part of the progress!
Until next week,