Its hard to describe days like today..especially when I consider it one of the highlights of my time here.
Today we went to Butari to see the Womens Drumming Ensemble as well as visit the Huye Prison. Last year I saw the Drumming Ensemble and it was great to see a lot of familar faces. They remembered me just as much as I remembered them; those hugs I gave out were so genuine:) After their fantastic show and a quivk drumming lesson, we traveled to their ice cream shop..an icecream shop that is ran by the ensemble in order to fund their costumes and travel expenses. There I had an avocado/ egg sandwich with some fries and some of their awesome ice-cream. Im not a big fan of avocado but the sandwich wasn’t that bad..and I definently enjoyed the icecream (It was vanilla..my favorite:)
After stuffing our tummies it was time to head to the prison. I didnt know what to expect especially when I heard we were going to a prison. We had to be considerate in our choice of outfits. I of coursed failed in that department and had to borrow a shawl from Candace lol..yikes!..but it all worked out in the end and I was properly dressed and ready for my first jail visit lol
At the Huye Prison you were either dressed in orange or pink..if you were in orange you were awaiting your prison sentence and if you were dressed in pink you were already sentenced. At this jail your not just sitting on your ass just waiting to die or to get out..you are put to work!! It became a place where those incarcerated would learn new skills/trades and when they are released they can better serve their community.
After a quick tour of the prison we went into the womens ward. As we were walking towards the ward I immediately heard a song.Curiosty got the best of me and I pick up my pace only to be pleasantly surprised by a group of women greeting us in song and dance. The part that I couldnt get was that they had the biggest smiles on. I guess I thought they would look evil, mean and depressed. However that wasn’t the case, they looked beautiful and so geniuely happy to see us. As we walked further in past the dancers we saw the women of the ward..there were hundreds. These ladies could have been my mother, grandmother, aunts, sisters or any other lady that I would look up to.
Once seated the presentation began. The ladies danced for us again and we joined them. We also heard from one man who apparently murdered 100 people during the genocide.(out of the 8,000 prisoners there atleast 88% of them are convicted of genocide related crimes). As he spoke about his past I could tell in his eyes that the inner turmoil was far from over. He couldnt even look us in the eyes when he talked about what he specifically done. He was ashamed.
Towards the end the ladies ended up giving us all gifts. It was totally unexpected but a beautiful surprise nonetheless. What they made was handwoven and came from their hearts and when they would run outside and made sure we got our gifts or to give us extra, my heart would literally just burst in emotion. They showered me with gifts, hugs and smiles but I felt like I didnt deserve it. They were special, not I. They have the ability to shine in a place where others would rot emotionally and probably physically
We didnt perform for them but I wish we did. The only way I could say thank you would be through performance..I felt like I needed too.
When we got up there a second time for a dance a lady handed me a piece of paper. It wasn’t until I sat back down that I realized it was her name written in french and as I was leaving a lady ran to me and handed me a basket! (2nd gift). I was blown away by their generosity, and kindness. They embodied everything that a woman should embody. A beautiful soul.
Today made me realized that in order to live a full, happy life you must have a beautiful soul to match. Silly me to think that these women wouldn’t have that. Infact the women that are free might wanna take a lesson or two from these precious ladies. I am embracing my feminity and realizing that I am in a contintent of my ancestry roots. This is where I’m from and I am so proud of that. Its time to take on life and give it all I’ve got loving me and everything else along the way. I owe it to those beautiful women locked away in prision. I owe it to this beautiful country and its people. I owe it to my many little cousins who look up to me but most of all I owe it to myself.
Photocreds to @lazlynch …Cow Distribution in Muhunga, Rwanda a couple days ago. We literally changed the lives of two families that day..and it will never be the same for them…it will be even better:)…Met this little guy on the way♥
Went to Rebecca Davis’s School of Dance:) She is one remarkable lady who has an amazing team behind her. She founded this school for the “street” kids in Rwanda…aka the “forgotten” and gave them a home. The only way they can attend dance class is to go to school. What an Amazing Program!!!..Lets us not forget our kids!!…Our Future Leaders of Tomorrow!!!
As I look at this photo I can’t help but be reflective on my life these past couple of days.
1.I’m in Rwanda.
2.I’m traveling around the country meeting people from all walks of life…they all have a story and it’s a blessing to hear it.
4.I’m on my journey of self discovery and it feels so Damn good.
How is this my life?…This is my 2nd time here and it’s feels like the 1st in a lot of ways. It amazing to discover new discoveries, new people and a new outlook on myself, my life and where I want it to go.
Yesterday I went to church in Rwanda..such a beautiful service that was full of beautiful songs and an inspiring sermon also…plus those babies at the end put the icing on top lol.
After church we went to the Nymata Genocide memorial..a church that was strategically used as a place of refugee but instead turned into a place of death for all those who were there. When I walked in I went inside a room that I didn’t notice on my previous visit. Once inside I saw a baby on the ground that made me instantly jump. It turned out to be one of the workers babies but it was crazy to see that living, breathing beautiful baby lay on a ground that other beautiful babies were horribly murdered. It put everything more in perspective.
It was also different to watch my peers go through their own emotions once they were the church; they can clearly see the bullet holes, blood and clothes of those that died and once they went behind the church; their skulls and bones.
Nothing prepares you for that…not even it being your second visit.
At the house things got a lot better. Carole(Founder of Ishyo Performing Arts Center) came over to have dinner with us. She was such a inspiration..full of so much life. I want to be like her..fighting for what you believe no matter the costs. She makes a living in the performing arts…I want that.
Today was a great day. We visited Gerald Sena’s restaurant, school and hiked up a mountain(or I atleast attempted to lol) We ended the day at the Gisembee Orphanage. Some of the kids even remembered me! Since I couldn’t fit any of my goodies into our gift box,..I decided to bring some on my own(nail polishes, lipsticks, hair clips) and handed them out to my special friends. That felt AMAZING.
Tomorrow is a long day…until next time
Got my hair done in Rwanda with some funky earrings to match!! #rwanda #supersmallbraids #funkyearrings
Geez Louise…I can’t resist these precious babies..I’m addicted Lol!
With My Lovely Al on the Mountainside in Rwanda @amo1924
Traveled Up a Mountain to this School and we performed for them;)…Ahhh tthese moments I’ll never forget♥ #Rwanda2013 #Performing #LongAssHike #Failed #TookVanUpMountainLikeaBoss
Mama Tie Loves the Kids…Especially in Rwanda♥ #Rwanda #AfterChurch #CuteChunkyBaby #DancedwithMe
Church in Rwanda with @lazlynch..Such a Beautiful Service♥