From May 23 to June 1, I went to Rwanda with a group of 20 Tufts students with the help of Tufts Hillel and different sponsors. I couldn’t believe that I was in Rwanda until I landed and smelled the air of home again. The focus of our trip was to study about the Rwandan genocide and the work of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village which is a high school we visited. The high school is comprised of students who are orphans or homeless. We stayed at the high school, which they call a village, the entire time we were in Rwanda - except the times we visited different genocide memorial sites around the country. I personally learned a lot from the trip since I was with a group of foreigners in my own country. My favorite part of the trip was the talent show of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village students. They’re so talented and their hearts have been restored after all their life struggles which gave me joy and hope. Once again, I opened my mind to learn new things about the genocide and grew more passionate about fighting against it in any other part of the world.
Despite enjoying being in Rwanda with an awesome group of Tufts students, I had mixed feelings about being a “foreigner” in my own country. Especially when kids on the street would stare at us for a long time which is something I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. During the trip, there were many controversial conversations about different activities and topics in the village, but the whole trip was so educational and eye-opening. After all I’ve learned during my freshman year and the trips I had a chance to participate in, I plan to give back to my community by advocating for human rights and inspiring the Rwandan youth to pursue their dreams and work on their talents.