30 hours of travel. One bus, two cars, three security checkpoints, four airplanes, five airports. And then… home.
This experience to Rwanda has been nothing short of incredible. Working with RVCP, meeting and getting to know the women in the Maternal Health Education Program, seeing the country, hearing the personal histories of so many. All of it was well worth any discomfort we felt, well worth the travel, and well worth the lack of American daily staples like washing machines and shower heads.
Experiences like this give us new perspective on our life and the world we live in. I know that I am even more dedicated to our project in Rwanda now and will work even harder this coming school year to ensure the success of the coming Maternal Health sessions, and to ensure that the Huye Clinic continues to expand.
The last session we attended was held on July 10th, and to thank the women for their participation and to mark our departure, we bought three cases of Fanta and handed out large rolls of bread. It was so gratifying to see their appreciation and to have them stay for an extra hour after the session to talk and be with each other, and with us.
July 10th was a kind of marking point for me. The first time I had really thought about leaving, and the work we had done. After we had drank the Fanta, we stood at the front of the waiting room and with Eliphaz translating, we each said our thanks and a few words about the past two months. After we had spoken several of the women took turns standing and sharing their appreciation with us. I was so touched by their words, and to see that they really cared about us. They all wished us a safe journey home, welcomed us back into their homes, and thanked us for our work.
And after these informal speeches, one woman started dancing and singing. Soon all of the women, babies on their backs and bread rolls in their hands, were standing in front of the wooden benches clapping and singing. All five of us were standing to the side smiling at this outburst of energy. It was clearly their way of celebrating and thanking us for being there, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Spending our last Sunday in Rwanda with the women we worked with, sharing our stories, and seeing them dance was a wonderful end to our two month stay in Rwanda.
Being back in Vermont has been nice, I have to admit. I enjoy having time to relax before school begins in the fall, and I do (it’s true) love taking warm showers and sleeping without a mosquito net.
But I have also thought about our trip everyday. I still haven’t beaten the jet lag, and this morning I got up at 5:30 am. I made some coffee and then sat down and looked through all of my pictures from Rwanda and watched all the videos I’d recorded. So many of them made me laugh.
While I am enjoying the comforts of being home, Rwanda is on my mind. I would love to go back and visit and in the meanwhile I will keep up with our friends in Butare and I will never forget the experiences we shared.
Thank you for reading these blog posts and keeping up with us!