We arrived in Gisenyi today, but not before visiting Imbabazi which is an orphanage in Rwanda that was created by an American born woman who spent over half of her life working with the people of Rwanda (pre and post-genocide). I was moved by the efforts that have been made and continue to be made to improve the lives of Rwandan youth. We once again heard about the phasing out of orphanages that is occurring in Rwanda and we learned about the work that is being done to foster independence within Rwandans who have experienced living in or being supported by orphanages. I was generally impressed by the work done at Imbabazi and loved learning about the history.

As I was looking around the fields of Imbabazi today, I was imagining what beauties and wonders will be alive in Rwanda ten years from now, twenty years from now, and beyond. I can only imagine, but I am certain that this nation has a stunning future awaiting it. From what I have seen over these last two weeks, Rwanda is a nation of survivors and a nation of resilience.
One of my favorite parts of the day was when local community members treated us with a traditional Rwandan Intore dance at Imbabazi. It was only day seven of their training in the traditional dance and I was filled with so much Joy as I watched them move with such grace. Their dances were dances of welcome and of community, and I loved the gesture.

Side note: I also got my head shaved today at a local salon in Gisenyi town center. It was a semi-spontaneous decision that I had been going back and forth about for the duration of the trip as well as prior to the trip, and today I finally did it.

I feel amazing.

Today was a good day even though I am very sad that these two weeks have gone by so quickly. We've done so much and met so many wonderful and kind people but I just need more time. I never want to leave Rwanda but I know that someday, I will be back. I am so grateful for the sacrifices that have made it possible for me to be here, grateful for the Joy that I have found in this beautiful and kind country, and grateful that I am able to bring the Joy of the Rwandan people back home with me to my various communities. I know what an amazing gift this is and I plan to share it with as many as possible.
My journey to The Motherland has been extremely fulfilling. I know that it doesn't end here.

Love from Gisenyi!

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