What an extraordinary day it has been – a rare opportunity to spend time with the children whose education is made possible by your generous donations! We started the day with an energetic game of "grab and hug" where the teacher called out a number, and you had to quickly connect with that many people for a hug. The twist? No hugging the same person twice! It might sound simple, but it was an absolute blast and perhaps my personal favorite. The joy in their laughter was infectious. Check out this short video of it HERE! Afterward, we played a game where two individuals took center stage, and they'd make requests of each other, such as singing, making each other laugh, or sharing a hug. The interactions were heartwarming, and the kids' creativity knew no bounds. Enjoy these heartwarming photos and videos capturing these fun moments. Click HERE to watch two boys play the request game and HERE to watch two girls play it!
We then had the privilege of delivering a talk to the primary students about what it means to be a good child and community member in Rwanda. I had prepared 14 points on the topic but was pleasantly surprised when the class contributed nine of those points themselves. Their manners, confidence, and engagement in the lesson left a lasting impression.
Following the lesson, we distributed brand new shirts that I had collected from my daughter's school, Ridges Elementary School. Thanks to the generosity of Ridges PAC (Parent Advisory Committee), we brought over 100 brand new shirts from their past Fun Run events. The children were overjoyed with their new attire, and we even managed to provide extras to the siblings of the students, including a little one brought by her older sister while their mom was at work in the clinic.
While we were conducting our presentations, the secondary students enjoyed playing in the courtyard with the balls we had brought along. After we switched groups, the primary students had their turn to play while we addressed the secondary students about adolescent health and wellness, and then had a more intimate conversation with the girls about menstrual health and pregnancy. It was a bit outside of our comfort zone, but it had been requested by our Rwandan team, and the depth of the discussions, the questions they asked, and the thoughtful summaries they wrote afterward made it clear why. We had a candid and meaningful conversation, and I believe they gained valuable insights that will shape their perspectives and decisions in the future.
Paterne also asked the secondary students if any of them wanted to stand and express what they day meant to them. I was so impressed by how many did, and they practiced their English while doing it! Below is a video from one young man. I will add subtitles later but think you'll enjoy hearing him speak in front of his classmates from his heart.
To sweeten the day, we treated everyone to Fanta and cake donuts, along with whiteboards, coloring books, crafts, and crayons. I also had the pleasure of recording touching testimonials from eight of the students. Their eloquence and confidence left me once again in awe. We wrapped up this incredible day with a heartwarming group photo under the Rwandan flag in the school courtyard. It was a day filled with special moments that will stay with us forever.
As if this day wasn't already overflowing with special moments, it also happened to be Karina and Albert's 5-year anniversary! Paterne and Brigitte had a surprise in store for them when we returned to our hotel. Amidst their busy schedules, they managed to order and pick up a cake, complete with a sparkling firework candle, and arranged for the DJ to play the couple a beautiful Rwandan love song. It was a magical ending to a long and unforgettable day. I was able to capture the moment on video and you can check it out HERE! Albert, Karina, and I feel immensely grateful to work alongside Brigitte and Paterne, and to have formed such wonderful friendships with them.