Im my previous post, I mentioned that my upcoming trip to Rwanda is part of an on-going relationship between Hope College and Nibakure Children’s Village (NCV). The driving force behind the partnership on the Hope side is Behope, a student-led initiative overseen by the Dean of International and Multicultural Education. Its vision: foster a win-win relationship between the College and NCV.
Here’s the rationale: As a college, Hope has the resources, especially talented students, faculty, and staff, to make significant, lasting contributions to the orphanage. For its part, the orphanage has a great deal to offer Hope. Situated in Nyamata, Rwanda, NCV and the surrounding communities abound with opportunities for Hope students to explore a dynamic post-conflict society—all while gaining “real-world” experience in their respective fields of study. NCV became fully operational in August 2011 and currently houses 17 orphans. It also supports an additional 13 children from the broader Nyamata community.
The opportunity to spend 4 weeks with the kids and NCV’s staff, to live alongside them, is the main source of my excitement for the trip. I’m eager to learn bits and pieces of their stories, and maybe, just maybe, get of sense of their collective story, of Rwanda’s story.
Now, as one would expect, there are many unknowns at this point. For instance, I might get to play sports while I’m in Rwanda (sadly my soccer abilities are, well, limited). I might learn a few words of Kinyarwanda, the indigenous language. I do, however, know one thing for sure already: I’d better be ready to dance!