Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 19: Amazing trip, people and baskets

Hi friends and family! This is my first post...and it is tough to follow any of Mali's cleaver posts (thank you for your talented writing) but here goes!!!
What an amazing trip we have had so far. The people and community of Gashora are amazing and very connected with each other. They take such care of each other and are always there to pitch in to help on each project we are working on....even if it may not directly benefit them, they know it benefits the community. I am blown away by the sense of pride. We have mostly been working with some of the genocide survivors who have taken in their fair share of orphaned children and help feed some of their neighbors, build an outdoor kitchen garden. This consists of digging out dirt and putting in 3 rings of soil, doing this with wood cut and shaped by machetes. It's once again very interesting to see the "tools" we use to build the gardens. I will post some pictures. We were called " the rockstar group" by the Rwandans because we finished 2 kitchen gardens before lunch....which is an all time record.
I have to say as well how much I enjoy my time at the Covaga Coop. This is a project that helps to empower the women to support their families financially. They make these incredible baskets out of the reeds in the lake, dye them, and then weave them into these amazing baskets. They love sharing stories and their skills with us. Even with the enormous language barrier, you can really connect with these women. They also bring their little children with them to the "office" and we have had so much fun playing with them. In fact all the children in the village are a blast to get to know.
Summary of the trip so far...lost luggage and 24 hour reroute aside, it is fascinating to see the work of previous trips (both Softchoice and DWC) and the connections made, seeing a village with so little with confidence to be as progressive as they are, and how self sufficient the children are and how everyone comes together to take such care of one another. Our team is getting along great and we have had so much fun getting to know each other. I am the official token American with this group of Canadians and my official Rwandan name is HB, since Heather is just a bit too hard to say :) and I love it! Xoxoxo

Heather Brown
DWC Participant
Rwanda, July 2012

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