Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holly's Last post (for now)

Holly here for the last time in Rwanda. Bloggin’ for Donna.

I had my favorite day of all days today. I saw so many unreal landscapes of Africa on the ride home from Rhungeri. We stopped at a few local markets and took a ton of photos in the land of a thousand hills. It was perfection on a beautiful sunny day with so many happy Rwandese that we shared time with.

After the ride home and a little welcome home time with the kids, DJ and Holly set off on their separate ways to see some more of Rwanda before departing. DJ got to see another organization making a difference in Rwanda with a friend he knows that lives here and also got to enjoy some good food! Donna hung back with the kids which made them unbelievably happy and giggly the rest of the day as she entertained them with photos, filming, games and movie time.

I had the most surreal experience that is partially hard to describe via blog and even in words. I’ll try to do my best-- I took a motorcycle ride all across Kigali with a local who has now become a friend and who was greatly affected by the genocide in Rwanda. He is the same age as me, which made me want to really experience a day in the life. He is a driver, which means he drives a car, motorcycle and bicycle to earn money for him and his family. He drove us to and from Rhungeri and we all became impressed with him during our trip at how well his English was and his thirst to learn even more from us. He has only been learning English now for a one-month and I felt it was fairly easy, compared to most, to have a conversation with him. He was greatly affected by the genocide in Rwanda; his parents both were killed, his father is buried at the national memorial center in Kigali and his mother has not been found. He was 12 when the genocide took place and ran from Kigali all the way to Congo (the neighboring country that is 4-5 hours by car) with no shoes, by himself, to hide. His story truly touched me- how could it not?! I felt so honored to be in his presence today and have him take me around the town and show me some of the sites. He even took me to his home and his village where he lives with his aunt and uncle who have been diagnosed with HIV and their children (his cousins) who he cares for. Amazing guy who I will never forget…..and hopefully visit again.

It’s these people, the kids and days like today that make me so feel so grateful to be alive and for my life. Thanks to Donna and many more who made this trip possible for allowing me this journey and experience.

I’m sad to be leaving Africa tomorrow, but will not tell a lie….I’m looking forward to a long hot shower and some NYC food :)

Missing Rwanda Already, Holly

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