Posts Tagged rwanda
Two years ago, we showed you how students on Tufts Hillel’s service trip to Rwanda learned and grew abroad. This year, Tufts Hillel continues their legacy of helping the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village with a new batch of students eager to repair the world. On their own branch of the Tufts Hillel blog, we find the stories of Hannah, Sam, Paige, Nate, Natasha, Arlen, Jessica, Ariana, Katie, Shane, Laura, and Tayo as they embark on their interfaith service trip:
“We all chose to come to Rwanda for different reasons and had different expectations, but we were all excited to be going. Some wanted to see a new country, while some wanted to see a new continent. Others wanted to experience a new culture. I think all of us wanted to learn about what had happened in 1994, and many also wanted the trip to help guide them to their future career choices.I will never forget the moment we stepped off the plane. I’m (Tayo) from Ghana, and when I go home I’m used to being hit with the hot air and the smell that can only mean that I’m finally in the place I love the most. But here I was, in Rwanda, a place I’d never been to, feeling sensations that were almost the same! I (Laura) was entirely unsure of what to expect as I had never been to Africa before. However, we both felt that after feeling the hot air and seeing the bright lights of Kigali—the endless hours of travel had all been worth it. We went through immigration and, after dealing with some luggage issues, hopped on the bus to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The bus ride was surreal. Although it was night time and everybody was exhausted, we were all so excited to be in the country that we had read and watched so much about.”
In a recent post on the Tufts Hillel Repairs the World blog, Annie Lobel (A’11) tells of her junior year abroad in Rwanda and Northern Uganda. With a special interest in genocide awareness, education and prevention, Annie became immersed in Rwandan culture. Living with a host family and connecting with people whose lives were profoundly changed by the 1994 genocide, Lobel’s experience was life-changing on various levels. She writes about taking action in her own community after such an experience:
Let me tell you – returning to Tufts was not easy. It was a bit isolating even. I knew I had changed but my world at home had not changed very much. What I had thought was a “perfect fit” at home no longer fit as perfectly as I remembered. Reverse culture shock returning to the States was way harder than the culture shock when I first left home. When my peers would ask me “how was abroad?” no one sentence answer was ever satisfying to me. There was so much I wanted to communicate to my friends, peers, and family, and the frustration that no one would even begin to understand where I was coming from was frustrating and disheartening. I did realize that the frustration was not productive unless I turned it into something. People were trying to understand, they just needed guidance. Ever since I returned to Tufts I felt this need to take action, to do something about all of this, to educate my peers and help make them want to learn more, and to help other people understand that this should not happen again – we cannot let it happen again.
It was incredible to return to Tufts and eventually find and connect to like-minded students and to put together the Tufts Against Genocide (TAG) Committee with the incredible support of Tufts Hillel and the inspiration of the Cummings Challenge.
You can read more about Tufts Against Genocide and the Cummings Challenge here.
Helaina Stein (A’10) is blogging about her year in Rwanda working for Generation Rwanda, “an NGO that helps orphans and vulnerable youth pursue university education and become leaders in Rwanda’s development and social reconciliation.”
Stein, a former Empower Fellow of the Institute for Global Leadership, recently blogged about her year in review, citing her move to Rwanda as one of the highlights.
The last four months of 2010 were unbelievably challenging, invigorating, and enjoyable. I’ve actually maintained my Tufts-era levels of intellectual stimulation, curiosity, and fulfillment – a feat that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to manage after graduating. Establishing a life in Kigali, Rwanda is not something I could have predicted a few years ago and I’m thrilled to have a good chunk of 2011 left to continue my adventure.