We are now just a few days away from our departure back home, and I have finally had the time to sit and reflect on the past few weeks. I can easily say that the past seven and a half weeks have been the best weeks of my life. No joke. We have all packed what feels like a years worth of adventure, laughs, and work into these few short weeks.
It feels like we have a second family here. With second moms like Catherine who pulls us into her restaurant whenever we walk by and hands us heaping plates of food. Or Abraham’s mom who invites us all over to dinner to share stories and laughs and of course a huge meal consisting of cups of steaming African tea, cassava, and sweet potatoes loaded with chilli peppers that will burn your mouth off if not careful. We have made friends like Abraham, Aristo, and David that I know I will keep in touch with and definitely see again, whether it is me traveling back to Rwanda, or them coming to America to pursue their dreams.
I know I am leaving this place as a changed person. One that is inspired by those I met, empowered by those I worked alongside, and one that is full of compassion due to the wonderful community of Rwamawha and the amazing team from Duke I am so lucky I got to work with.
We packed a lot into the last two weeks, including working dawn til dusk for four days straight in order to complete the bridge in time for inauguration, painting the towers of the bridge like the Rwandan flag, celebrating the completion of the bridge with hundreds of people from Rwamawha, and packing up and saying our goodbyes. Seeing the excitement of the kids and the rest of the community about the completion of the bridge was humbling and really made me feel like we have made a difference here. I got to watch an old blind man cross the bridge first, and know that he will be able to cross safely for the rest of his life. Having to pack up and say our goodbyes to all of our friends just a few days after completion of the bridge was hard for all of us. Seeing the faces of the children as we told them we were leaving brought tears to our eyes. We have many of their contacts and will at least be able to stay in touch through e-mail, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
The team has worked extremely hard, and I couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished. Down below are some photos of the last two weeks.
I also am creating a video series of our experience and just put together a little intro video. Make sure to check it out!
Here it is: