Yesterday was graduation day for RLS. Honestly I couldn’t keep a smile off of my face, and my cheeks hurt from how much I smiling. I am so ridiculously proud of these students, and all they have accomplished.
At graduation, Robin, the founder, ended her opening remarks to these graduates by saying, “Now it’s your time to go out into the world. Go shake it, shape it and beat it.” I see the fire burning in these students minds and hearts, and I am so excited to see where they go with their talents and skills. Robin’s thought particularly struck a chord with me, and she definitely fueled some fire in me. I’m learning how to shake against injustices here in Rwanda, and how to construct capacity building and encourage open mindsets. But there is, of course, still so much more to learn and do.
After graduation, I headed over to a local hotel where Mobile Arts for Peace (the workshop I participated in during my second week in country) was having a second workshop. All of my old friends warmly welcomed me, and I had to chance to see the final presentations of the students from the week. To explain again, MAP is seeking to encourage drama clubs in schools for trauma healing and reconciliation efforts. The first workshop, that I attended, was to train the facilitators. This second workshop was a small camp for students in the village, two of my students from RLS actually joined the workshop as well. This semester we had a trial Drama Club to see if this would be something students would be interested in, and they definitely can not wait to see this Drama Club be apart of their week. Especially after we had the poetry slam a few weeks back, thank you student Derrick (brilliant idea!), the students have been very interested in the arts.
Which I love!!! As music, art, acting, and drama can all be extremely effective tools to experience and process emotions as well as to seek therapeutic healing. I even ran into one of my first friends, Laure, who is a mental health therapist in Kigali (which is HUGE, because mental health is extremely taboo in Rwanda), and we are getting coffee tomorrow to catch up.
Yesterday was one of those days that will definitely stick out when I reflect back on my fellowship. I was able to see the small impact of my time spent at RLS, and how I was allowed to be apart of these students’ journey towards knowledge. I am so stinking proud! (Phrase credits to Thandi Dinani). I also saw the result of my investment in Rwamagana, and how it was so marvelous to run into old friends. I am so grateful for these shared moments, and relationships that I will continue to develop and invest in. Wow, what a good day!
Rwandan dance at graduation.
The cutest choir ever.
Parents standing behind the graduates during the blessing.
Gaga, the first student to arrive! (Most guests were 2 hours late haha)
Katie, a past RLS volunteer.