I arrived last night and it felt like coming to my second home. We walked for an hour in Kigali tonight and had our contingent of children hugging us, holding our hands and teaching us Kinyarwandan. The guest house where we are staying is in a much nicer area of Kigali than last year & is very luxurious by Rwanda standards. There are marble floors, outlets (very weak) in the bathrooms, brightly colored mosquito netting without holes and free kitchen access at all hours. On the other hand, there is no chair or table/desk, the room is almost filled by the queen-size bed, & there is no space in the bathroom to put toiletries. There is a security guard outside, but we have the 12-room house all to ourselves at night. We are recuperating from the 33-hour trip and move from zombie-brain to excited, high energy as we plan the program and find synchronicities falling into place every hour. We have brought three sewing machines to teach sewing skills and crafting to both our Project LIGHT students and to three “crews” from the orphanage who will spend their two hours of free time after school and Saturdays learning and making the bracelets and scarves that will be prototypes we will bring back to find outlets in the U.S. to sell. This allows the orphanage school to tell the government that they have equipment (sewing machines) to teach a vocation (along with our tools for making the solar cell phone chargers and bicycle carts) so they can become certified as a vocational school which then gets them more money and equipment. We brought them two more laptops, now they need the money to hook them up to the internet. One of their requests is that we teach their teachers how to get instructional materials from the internet. They still have only one bookshelf’s worth of books for 550 students.
Headmaster Rev. Thoms says the students he has chosen for Project LIGHT are so excited and grateful and will do anything to get there by tomorrow—one coming on a three-hour bus ride to Kigali and then walking and riding up the mountain. We are weaving a program that blends trauma healing (using energy psychology), assessment of basic cognitive skills plus all of their life skills and satisfaction and planning for interventions, teaching vocational skills and business entrepreneurship with hands-on experience, enhancing their personal health and self-confidence (using Energy Medicine, HeartMath, and other programs), and transformational leadership training (using Luca Leadership Training). The mayor is coming to teach two half-days about the government unity and reconciliation programs.
The team has come together by hearing about Project LIGHT, contacting Lori and offering their expertise which is a perfect match for what is needed. Alisoun from Scotland is coming again with her energy psychology and motivational team-building experience. Shauna from Ojai brings eight years of experience working with African people creating entrepreneurship opportunities and building her own website selling their products. Marsha from Washington will fulfill a dream by teaching Yoga via Skype since she cannot leave the U.S. due to her kidney transplant (she also is an amputee like some of the students or their parents). Richard from the U.K. will come up from Tanzania to do videography and teach Luca Leadership. Paul from Santa Barbara comes as a videographer who has created documentaries about humanitarian projects. Although my role on the team comes from my energy psychology and educational psychology experience, when Lori was looking for money to pay a sewing teacher from Rwanda, I realized I have another role on the team since my first job after college was as a Vocational Homemaking teacher. That definitely includes sewing. The really amazing thing about the team is that all of us come from the perspective of offering our skills to provide what the people want, not from our own ideas of what they should need/have. All also are heart-centered and able to access guidance in the moment for the expected un-expected.
The zombies are back so I’m off to my princess mosquito-netted bed. Tomorrow we are planning specifics and shopping for supplies (we brought six checked and six carry-on bags plus a big projection screen). No time to upload my pictures tonight, but I’ll put two tomorrow. The program starts Monday on top of the mountain.