Volunteer's Reflection From Ntenyo Project

Rarely have we encountered individuals with so few blessings, so full of life; so full of hope. We spent the morning witnessing, experiencing and rejoicing in the Ntenyo community’s culture through song and dance. We formed in a circle as one, laborers and international volunteers. We are able to greet one another with only single words in Kinyarwanda. We wanted the workers to know they are of the highest worth in this project. We danced, offered warm smiles, friendly handshakes, and simple “Muraho” greetings.  We showed our appreciation by offering sweet baby bananas, passion fruit, and plums, and in return they gave us roasted maize.

We learned the local dances, holding back laughter at each other’s expense. The dancing abilities of the YGAP and Sanejo crew left to be desired (except of course for ours haha)… We were the regular Michael Jackson’s of Ntenyo. For the next 30 minutes we were not volunteers, we were immersed in delight of Rwanda, its beautiful people, and their open and warm acceptance of all.

The singing in unison was ongoing as the dust filled the air, and fancy feet were all at work. No one could deny the local builders were pretty impressed! We joined hands and followed their lead. The connections made were unique and genuine. There are 3 classrooms on the way up and it has been incredible to be part of such a dedicated team of builders and volunteers alike. We have been assisting this part of the project by laying and carry bricks, and putting in some genuine elbow grease.

The children at the school are simply divine. Their eager faces, and veracious personalities would warm even the darkest of hearts. Their desire to learn has been so encouraging to us all.

This weekend we drove to Lake Kivu and had the privilege to soak in and admire one of the most truly specular country sides we have ever seen. ‘The land of a thousand hills’ mesmerized us with breathtaking mountains, tightknit local communities, and thousands of tea plantations laid in perfectly straight rows. The children chased our mini bus waving and smiling with great delight as we passed by their townships. On Saturday night, we ventured down to the riverbed and we were taken out to a local fishing boat. It was a truly surreal experience with the river only lit by their petrol lanterns and the moons reflection in the water. The language barrier didn’t seem to be an issue as we laughed and sang Bob Marley’s, ‘One Love,’ with the local fisherman who kindly welcomed us upon their boats.

It’s almost too hard to describe how beautiful the people and children of Rwanda are, because we simply wouldn’t be able to do it justice. We feel so privileged to see first hand where all of the hard efforts of our fundraising have gone.

Our lives have been forever enriched.

By Kyle & Lei

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