In just under two weeks, Chris and I will be on a Turkish Airlines flight to Rwanda. That’s a long way from Wyoming, Ohio, the small suburb of Cincinnati where we grew up. Over 7,000 miles, in fact. Need some brushing up on your East Africa geography? Never fear, the BBC has you covered with this map of Rwanda and its neighbors:
Rwanda is a fascinating place, especially for someone (me) interested in issues pertaining to peace, justice, and reconciliation. Despite a rich culture and colorful landscape, Rwanda is best-known among our generation for the genocide that claimed the lives of roughly 800,000 people during a 3 month period in the spring of 1994. More recently, however, the country has been hailed as a Africa’s biggest success story.
For the duration of our four week trip together, we will be based at Nibakure Children’s Village (NCV) in Nyamata, a small town roughly 45 minutes south of the capital Kigali. Contrary to what you might be thinking, our introduction to NCV did not come about through the Google search “orphanages in Rwanda”. Our visit to this particular orphanage is the product of on-going relationship between Hope College and NCV–a unique partnership that began in 2008. I am currently the Project Director for Behope, the Hope side of the engagement (lots of HOPE around here). I will address some of my objectives for the trip in a future post; Chris will do the same.
We hope this blog will serve as a platform to share our experiences, stories, reflections, and of course, pictures. Yet if there is one lesson we’ve learned while traveling abroad it is this: never take internet access for granted, particularly when living outside of an urban center. And, even when there is internet, it tends to be painfully slow and unreliable. In summary: don’t worry if you haven’t heard from us in a while. Assume it’s the internet’s fault. Or we’re hunting Kony.
Check back for a few more updates before we leave. Departure date: June 15, 2012.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.~” African Proverb