By: Lydia Picoli, ’16
The “thing” that many associate with Rwanda is genocide. It influences so many opinions about this country. This association with the Genocide leads people to make Rwanda out to be a place of sorrow, unrest, and anger. This view is anything but the nature of this welcoming country. Today we experienced the one adjective that I would use to sum up the true nature of Rwanda, joy. Starting with the morning assembly, the children sang songs of peace, love, and joy. The assembly is the very first thing the kids do on Fridays and it lasted for about an hour. Throughout the assembly we came to realize that this country is about love, happiness, and hope. When we were planning our lessons that we would teach them today, as a group we decided that we needed to give them motivation, inspiration, and hope for a better future. We were immediately proven wrong when we asked the kids what they wanted to be in the future. They all had quite unexpected answers – doctor, musician, dancer, pastor, lawyer, etc. Hearing these responses was such a pleasant surprise because we all thought that they were lacking hope for the future. So we thought quickly on our feet and tried to push them a little further by having them think about how they might go about achieving their dreams.
We also shared our dreams with them (Mom and Dad, I know you’re going to love this). I told them about how I want to be an actor and how much of a struggle it is to go about it when everyone tells you no and tells you it isn’t possible. I shared with them what I tell myself when I hear this, as I am sure that their dreams are shot down too: nothing is impossible when all you need in life is that one thing, as long as that one thing is going to bring you joy, and if you have the drive and never let anything discourage you, it will become your reality. Today more than ever, I saw such passion, joy, and hope in these kids’ eyes and it was so rewarding to someone who shares the same endless hope.