Connor’s photos from Weeks 6 and 7 – The Bridge is Done!

Hello Everyone!

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:

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.53.51 AM
Playing around with the drone and the kids
The bridge belongs to the community of Rwamawha so we thought it was appropriate to paint the towers like the Rwandan flag.
The previous bridge which was ripped out of place the day after the inauguration.
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.52.44 AM
An aerial shot of the completed bridge



A shot from a safari in Akagera National Park
Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 9.00.13 AM
Working hard on the decking of the bridge
Eric and I. This is the second year we have been able to take a photo like this right after completion.
Inauguration Day


The team that made this bridge happen!
Some of our best friends; Aristo, Abraham, and David


Two of the masons that helped with the construction of the tiers. The man on the right is 64 years old, and still works like a machine!

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.38.03 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.42.01 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.46.55 AM

Minutes after we ripped down the caution tape the bridge was packed with children from the area who had been watching in anticipation for several hours before hand. They went nuts!

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.48.03 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.52.44 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 9.06.31 AM
The village we have been so lucky to call home for the past eight weeks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s