I’m leaving Rwanda today. Since I really can’t find a way to explain how i’m feeling right now, i’m just going to tell you what i’m going to miss about this place, in no particular order:
- the weather. it’s perfect here. sunny and beautiful and breezy and warm. but never too hot. i love it.
- the sound of the nuns singing at Domus Pacis every morning and at random times throughout the day.
- the sounds of Kigali while we sleep. the crazy parties and concerts going on at night, the annoying birds chirping in the morning. we leave our windows open for air and you can hear everything. i’ve gotten so used to it that i don’t know how i’ll go back to the quiet sounds of air conditioners and fans.
- the Amos family. they welcomed us into their home countless times and made us feel completely at home. we played with their kids (Pete, Jude, and Lily), Rebecca filled our comfort food cravings, Heath constantly encouraged the work we were doing and we always looked forward to the time we got to spend with this sweet family.
- dancing and drumming with the kids at Ivuka Arts.
- walking. I love seeing the same people on the street and hearing the kids playing and seeing the road next to our school being constructed. i feel like a part of this community when i’m walking around Kicukiro.
- church. church here is a party. in english or kinyarwanda or french. its always an experience.
- the sky. its bigger in Africa. i’m convinced.
- riding on motos. if you asked me 9 weeks ago in america to go ride on the back of a motorcycle, i would have laughed in your face. but i do it multiple times a day here. and i can’t get enough. its so much fun and you feel so free and you see the city in such a different way. i don’t know when the next time i’ll ride one is and that fact is fairly hard to accept.
- the peace house boys. they have the biggest hearts and are so much fun to be around. i love listening to music with them and playing uno and listening to them laugh. when i said goodbye to eve, he told me “i will pray for you everyday”. i’ve never met any teenage boys like these and i probably never will again.
- dirty feet. they’re pretty gross the majority of the time here. we walk all over the place on dirt roads in chacos. but it shows what we’ve done. i have a chaco tan line that i’m pretty sure is half “dirt line”.
- being a regular. i know that 2 months is a very short time to live somewhere compared to ex-pats and missionaries that are here for years. but 2 months is long enough to be a regular somewhere. at our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. at the local markets.
- Aline. she works at the guesthouse here. she’s made it very clear that she isn’t a nun. but she’s hilarious. she comes up behind us and scares us. and whispers funny things in our ears. she attempts to learn english and teaches us kinyarwanda. and she facebook stalks like a pro. and she tells us how much she loves us and will miss us everyday.
- having custom made clothes. theres 2 markets here that i’ve had clothes made at. its so much fun to pick out fabric and design something with my wonderful friends Josephine at Kimironko Market and Grace and the women at the Widows Market. i’ll cherish these things not only because of how awesome they look, but because of the memories of spending time with these women.
- the relationships. i’ve built so many relationships here and its been such a blessing. with the other travelers, the other americans and ex-pats, and with so many rwandans. which is making leaving so much harder. its not just saying goodbye to an awesome experience, its saying goodbye to such dear friends.
- my students. i’ve heard many teachers say that you never forget your first students. these are mine, they’ll always be what i think about when i think of my first class. and i’m so grateful for it.
- which brings me to the last point. hearing “teacher sarah” wherever i go. its followed me all over kigali and i savor it every time i hear one of my precious kids saying it, yelling it, whispering it, chanting it. its the best thing i’ve ever heard, especially when combined with running full speed and tackling me with a hug. i really can’t explain how much these kids have impacted me or how much i love them. they’re amazing and i’m so blessed to have been a part of their story for a short time.