Miriwe our friends!
Today was the halfway point of our trip here at the Agohozo Shalom Youth Village. We are starting to settle into the rhythm of day to day life of the kids and all who inhabit this space. At the same time, as short as our time as been here, it also feels like we have spent a small lifetime here already.
Each morning this week we have been assigned various service work to do in the village—kitchen work, landscaping and farm work.
Erica’s experience doing kitchen work: We gathered with Rwandan men in the kitchen. They taught us how to go about cutting cucumbers and sorting legumes. Feeding five hundred youth meant that we were on the tasks all morning, and we were so glad when we were rewarded for our work! The head cook brought us a tray of rolls, peanuts, fruit salad, and African tea.
Anne-Marie’s experience doing landscaping: The two weeks that we are spending here in the village lie during Rwanda’s dry season; however, we spent the day today in preparation for the rainy season later on by digging a trench to create a conduit for rainwater to flow down during the heavy wet season. This prevents erosion of the roads. The sun was high and the ground was quite hard, but with the help of two staff members and lots of smiles and singing, we were able to make an impressive mark in the red clay ground.
All in all, our first day of service work was rewarding. We felt that we were serving the village in terms of most important tasks needed at the present moment instead of a fluffy activity that was set up especially for us to do as visitors in the village. It is easy to remember the hardships of the genocide in the faces of the many children here, but we often forget that the staff here is also composed of survivors. We were so grateful to be able to work with them during our service work. With the rest of the week ahead, we hope to be able to make the most of our time here by learning as much as we can by working with the staff here, the students, and each other in our daily discussions.
With affection and smiles,
Erica and Anne-Marie