Today is my last day in Rwanda. It has been an incredible journey of highs and lows. I have been inspired by old men travelling many hours on foot, a suitcase in hand to glean strategies for early childhood education at the conference we ran in the mountains of Muzansi. They count it a privilege to attend.
My heart hurts for my Compassion child who lives in a small mud hut, with no bed to sleep on. My excitement escaping me that day, heartbreak cutting deep. Sad realisations sinking in to reality. What do I do now? The responsibility of what I now know pulls hard on my heart and soul. We have so much to be thankful for, a hundred different things every day.
I have been touched by the eagerness of a young woman to pursue a sponsor to attend university despite not having the means to do so herself. Her words touched me deeply as she told me how she wants to do just what I do. I realise what I have is a privilege, to be able to freely choose my path in life, to have the good fortune to teach others and get paid to do it. I prayed for her, tears spilling down her cheeks. There are no words to express hope waiting!
There are teachers here who are untrained, doing what they can, with what they have - with the little they have, just to fill a need. The littlest people of the earth need us all. How different the world would be if we all attended to the little things and did small things with great love?
A gang of handcuffed convicts walking along the dusty road toward me, took me by surprise. The pink jumpsuits they were wearing identified them as perpetrators of the genocide. The guard directing them with his rifle poised upright, remained stiff lipped as they walked on by. Prisoners work in Rwanda, they give back to the community.
The joy of children participating in simple activities is a sight to behold, no iPods, iPads or iPhones! The simplicity of little things brings great delight, kites flying high above clay homes - children shrieking, a spare tyre and a stick gathering the village children - everyone running. Imaginations grow here, determination too!
And then yesterday, I was moved to tears by the clapping and cheering at the close of the conference as our team gifted a CD of childhood songs to each teacher attending our conference. Their appreciation of such a simple but valued gift was incredibly moving, their smiles contagious despite my tears.
I have been embraced by a resilient people that have shown me the beauty and greatness of the human spirit, and its incredible ability to forgive and grow again. The strength and dignity of such humble and hopeful people have altered me. Life is a beautiful gift.
Purpose has been worked out here in so many small moments, an open heart can do great things in a million tiny ways.
I have expanded here.
Rwanda, you have changed me in unexpected ways.
Murakoze cyane, thank you so much.