For me, Easter brings rest and warmth in the soul that is hard to describe or explain. It is so freeing to remember I don’t control the world and none (none!) of the world rests on my shoulders. Even in this exhausting month, which has been very taxing emotionally, physically and spiritually, God is good.
I had a hard but powerful and life changing week participating in memorial events commemorating those who lost their lives in the Genocide. That entailed roughly 20 hours of memorial events, songs and discussions over seven days. These remembrance moments will continue over 100 days. The hours I spent with my community last week were hours I will always hold in my heart. I feel closer to home than I ever have in my village after that week. We were able to establish a deeper and more precious level of relationship and trust. I was able to listen to their stories, and sit and stand with them. Yes, I will always be a foreigner, but somehow I am no longer an outsider, and that is the most incredible honor but also an intense experience in a week of such varying emotions and sensitivity. Overall, I’m simply thankful to listen. And to stand with my friends here in good times and bad. In times of celebrating life and in times of remembering those who have passed on from this world.
After such a heavy week, I needed rest, and I needed a sunrise.
Thanks to my friend and fellow volunteer Emma I gazed into the sunrise I desperately yearned to see.
I joined up with a handful of volunteers at Emma’s village for some delicious food and some time speaking English and spending time together. The sunrise the next morning did not disappoint. After capturing some shoots in the early morning hours, I hardly touched the photos and they leapt off my screen with their colors and blankets of dark purple clouds contrasted by the orange strips of light below them.
The next day, I continued on to Kigali where I was taken under the wing of my amazing and extremely kind and loving friends Jimmy and Kayrn. This weekend, I have had a shower, wifi for the first time in seven months, and many other things. It has been amazing. Most importantly, I have had time to process, to think and to talk with people back home. This was the second sunrise of the weekend. The third sunrise is having the chance to attend an English Easter service tomorrow and remember what grace, sacrifice and unconditional love truly means.
I am so happy and grateful to be here, but I can’t wait to be back in my village. Back with the bucket shower, and my cabbages, my garden, my neighbors, my crazy schedule, my kinyarwanda conversations over hot milk, my people.
I’m so thankful for rest and powerful moments in Kigali this weekend reflecting on my faith and my experiences here. Also thankful, that this is only a retreat of sorts, and tomorrow I will return to my village. My home.