In July 2008, I completed a one-month internship with Dr. Randall Fegley and 10 other students from Penn State Berks. I lived in Kabuga at Association Refuge, where I taught beadwork of jewelry, creative drawing, and English to a class of adolescence and young adults.
It has taken me a long time, going back and forth to decide/figure out if I could/would go to Rwanda while in East Africa this summer; there’s money involved, so I think of the many people who made contributions to my own efforts to fund this internship; and time away from my internship work, so I considered my KEZA team and our work.
It’s no surprise that I finally bought my tickets to go—it’s too important not to.
To go back to Rwanda means so much to me because…
1. I loved it so much, and I want to re-visit this place and my friends.
2. It’s so important to me to feed the relationships I formed and to show people the people I came to love that,
“Yes, ‘they’ really will come back; ‘they’ really do care about us and about Rwanda; ‘they’ really are a part of our lives (and us a part of theirs); it wasn’t just a dream or passing experience…”
(‘They’ being the Americans/mzungus/foreigners that visit, but also meaning me, Simone, Brittany.)
Something inside me is fed by exhibiting to others sincerity and commitment to love and friendship… by believing that my exhibitions will contribute to others’ belief that ‘true love’, God’s love and affection, exists and that they will experience it for as long as they have faith in it.
3. I want to see how it is to return.
I was literally balling (crying) when I left that country. I had many emotions overcoming me, which is typical when traveling for me. However, I have never felt or reacted to “leaving” someplace or people in quite that way. I want to know how it will feel now, to be back and to part away. Maybe Rwanda really did touch my heart; maybe it is somewhere I could forever call “home” (I do believe in having more than one [home], by the way).
4. I will find networking & VISION INSPIRATION.
There are places/orgs/businesses I’ve been interested in over the last few years- since interning in Rwanda in 2008- places/organizations I hadn’t known about at that time. I think it’d be a good idea to take a look at those places in-person. Maybe the “real thing” will have even more inspiration, beyond the magazine article cutouts I have collected.
5. It helps meet my need connectedness and wholeness as a ‘world citizen’.
It helps me fulfill my duty of citizenship, by helping to make the world smaller.