Last summer, I went to Rwanda. Rwanda is a country in Central/Eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.7 million people. I went there on a missions trip with an organization called Visiting Orphans. Visiting Orphans is a non-profit organization that partners with ministries and missionaries in the US and abroad, and sends short-term teams to care for families and communities. Our group consisted of seven people, including my father. We stayed at a hotel in Kigali, which is the capital of Rwanda. I thought that the trip was great because of the people we met and the places we visited throughout Rwanda. We went to a school in Gisenyi, a daycare called Best Family Rwanda, and a community center founded by two survivors of the Rwandan genocide.
The day after we got to Rwanda, we went to a school in Gisenyi. When we got there, we met with the dean and we took a short tour of the school. The school’s population was a little bigger than that of my school. We visited the kitchen and helped serve lunch to the children. As we were serving lunch, the kids asked us to join them while they ate. The food was this strange, white paste that looked like thick mashed potatoes, and beans. It did not taste that good to me but the kids loved eating the food. After the kids ate, we went outside to play volleyball. All of the kids crowded around us because they were so excited to see us. They were not used to seeing foreigners, especially teenagers. I was really uncomfortable because I was not used to being crowded around.
The next day, we went to an organization called Best Family Rwanda. Best Family is similar to a “daycare” for kids whose parents are working. We played with the kids and helped them make crafts. We also played soccer and frisbee outside with the children. I got a throwing disc stuck on the roof twice. It was really fun because it was more toned down unlike my experience at the school the previous day.
After that, we went to a school and a community center combined. It was founded by two survivors of the Rwandan genocide. A little history - It was officially known as the genocide against the Tutsi - a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government that took place from April 7 to July 15, 1994. 500,000 to 1 million Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period. This was a school for children as well as mentally disabled adults and kids. Our group usually stayed with the disabled kids because they did not have to work that hard in school. We made crafts and played with them for a long time. The kids really appreciated the time we spent with them.
In conclusion, I had a great time in Rwanda because of all the people we met and the great places we visited: the school, the community center, and the daycare called Best Family. I had a lot of fun on the missions trip because of all the children we met and I knew that I was making a difference. It was also a very humbling experience. It taught me that I am more privileged than most people and that I should not take it for granted. It also taught me to appreciate what I have and to give to those who are less fortunate than me.