Wednesday, December 9, 2009

October 20, 2009: the taste of success

So today we learnt that the slogan of our favourite Rwandan beer, Mutzig, is "The Taste of Success" and.....drum roll please.....we finished the basketball court today!!!!!
Yes, after passing thousands of pans of cement down an assembly line of Softchoice Muzungus and local Gashora men (each pan of cement about 30-40 pounds each) we pan by pan filled the entire court! It was a crazy long day starting at 7am and ending when the sun went down. But we had a goal to have it done, and the entire crew wouldn't give up until we reached it.
One success is finishing the basketball court, but another success happened in the computer lab today as well. It was the first that that we had kids come into the lab and the teachers starting teaching them how to use the computers. These teachers had never even seen a computer in their lives before last week, and now, after our 1 week with them, they are starting to teach kids. The principal of the school came up to us today and said that he had finished the course schedule for next term....and for the first time ever in Gashora Primary history there is a new class that is being offered next term.....COMPUTER SCIENCE!! So from teaching the teachers, to the teachers now teaching the students, we've helped to bridge the digital divide in this small town and hopeful given these kids a leg up for the future.
So talking about success, and the "taste" of it. Today there were a couple moments that defined success for me. The first being when a man from the town came up to us to thank us for what we are doing. He mentioned that he was so impressed that we were "one of them" He said that he appreciated that we were working side by side by them, and were part of their community. We spent over 10hrs in the heat today. Sweating along with them. Singing along with them. Dancing along with them. Getting covered in cement along with them. Carrying tons and tons of cement with them. Lama one of our local team leaders mentioned that Africa does not need Aid. And what we are doing is "service". We are working side by side in the same conditions and doing the same work. We are helping the community and not giving them a handout. That is what makes all the difference.
At the end of the day Felciane, one of the local workers turned to me and said "We will never forget you. Please never forget us". I know that we have had a big impact on their lives, but i don't think they realize what a big impact they have had on ours.

~mel alvares
DWC Volunteer Participant Rwanda

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