Coming home is always filled with mixed emotions for me. It's comforting to see friends and family and return to a familiar environment. Yet so many opportunities seem out of reach and it's easy to get sucked into an inactive routine. Rwanda gave me a daily dose of motivation and inspiration. Change was visible. I felt like I knew who to contact to get involved in good programs. To me, it seems a lot harder to do so in the US. The application process is long, and I so often don't have the needed experience or schooling. I guess what I'm trying to say is Rwanda felt accessible. (I recognize a lot of this is probably due to the trip itinerary.)
One of the most outstanding experiences for me was at the Children's Peace Library. When I was a child, going to the library was my favorite outing. It was inspiring to see children excitedly doing the same there. I leaned over to the person sitting next to me and told her I wanted to read with some of the children in the room. After an introduction to the program, we had an opportunity to ask the kids a few questions. Within ten minutes I was sitting in a circle interactively reading aloud. At that moment I knew I never wanted to stop. I was saddened when I had to let the children go home for lunch knowing it would be a long time before I would have another opportunity like that.
I keep this memory with me as inspiration and a reminder of what I love. Completing the final paper for this course marks the end of my undergraduate experience. Coming home is different this time. I am not thinking ahead to my next semester; I am looking for jobs in order to make a living, to pay the bills. My job search began late Monday night, the first night home. Remembering the Children's Peace Library, I am searching for a job or at least a volunteer position where I can have similar, regular experiences. This one afternoon in Rwanda has already impacted my future.
Changing the pace: Gorilla Trekking.