Days 11 & 12: Last Weekend at ASYV (Saturday and Sunday, June 1st and 2nd)

Hi friends and family,

We have returned from our journey in Rwanda and ASYV! Now that we are safely back, have taken long hot showers, and eaten a meal without rice and beans, here’s a little bit about what we did our last few days!

On Friday we spent the day at Akagera National Park on a safari! We were fortunate to see hippos, giraffes, and zebras among other things, and a few of us were able to discover our spirit animal (Shane is a water buffalo). (Thanks, Natasha.) We returned to the village before Village Time, a weekly production where students showcase talents or presentations. Between acts of poetry and drumming by the students, our slightly less coordinated students took the stage and danced as Paige, Zuri, and Erica sang beautifully. The ASYV students loved it! Afterwards we had our dinner in the dining hall with the students, and then went to bed.

Saturday was our last full day at ASYV, so we tried to give our group as much free time as possible to hang out with the friends they had made in the village. We did our second Mucaka Mucaka of the trip at 5:40 in the morning, and ran around with the students around the village.  Afterwards many of us played sports on the fields below the dining hall, and a few of us even engaged in an epic game of Tug of War with the students. Breakfast followed, and afterwards we did farmwork around the village with our Senior 6 families.  Later, we had a few hours free to chill with the friends we had made. We had our last two Tufts group discussions (discussing what our trip had meant and how to bring back our experience to campus next fall) later that morning and in the afternoon and spent a lot of time chilling with our families.  To cap off the day, we left ASYV after dinner and headed into Rubona for the night for a last night with our Tufts group, with Avi (the long-term volunteer who helped to coordinate our trip to the village), and with the rest of the long-term volunteers, including one Tufts graduate, Micky.

On Sunday we woke, finished packing, presented our donated gifts to the informal staff of the village, said our goodbyes, and after lunch departed from ASYV.  It was difficult for us to leave after our two weeks there; a lot of us had made true friendships that we’re intent on keeping.  More than anything, we were aware as we left of our responsibility to follow through on our experiences at ASYV: to serve as ambassadors for the village and to do all we can to ensure ASYV continues to offer a home for a segment of Rwanda’s enormous orphan population.

After some last shopping in Kigali we left Avi at the airport and headed home.  After 24 hours of traveling and many, many in-flight movies, we made it back to Logan in Boston.

Thanks for following along with our experiences during our time in Rwanda.  This blog is just one medium through which we want people to learn and understand the importance of ASYV in the greater trends and development of Rwanda, and we hope it inspires you to involve yourself in Rwanda and in ASYV. If you have any questions or comments, or you’re looking to get involved, please contact us at Tufts Hillel, at natasha.kieval@gmail.com or goetzshane@gmail.com, or through any member of our trip.  Murakoze cyane (Thanks very much)!

Until next time,

Natasha Kieval and Shane Goetz

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