The last full day – March 12th

By: Robin Pfalzgraf

It’s hard to believe that less than ten weeks ago a group of virtual strangers met in the office of Dr. Fields to discuss the semantics of a trip for all of us half way around the world.  When I went home after the first meeting I thought there was no way we would be comfortable enough with each other to take a trip, let alone a trip to Rwanda together!

Now here we are, ten weeks later, not only classmates but friends.  We have had wonderful opportunities the last eleven days to get to know each other and to appreciate each other for the things we have in common and the ways we’re not alike at all!

Linda and I, being much older than the other students looked at some situations differently than the younger students but in the end each of us has come out of this experience changed in some way and I do believe that each of us are better people for this experience.

In my personal experience the visit to the Genocide Memorial was particularly poignant.  I recently lost a child myself and have had a hard time parting with his clothing.  To walk into a room with clothing from victims of the genocide touched a part of me like no other part.  To walk around the Memorial by myself in both personal reflection and reflection on how so many parents and children felt tremendous and brutal loss during this horrific event cannot easily be put into words.

During one of the times at INATEK Matt and I were able to converse with some students via pen and paper (reminiscent of my school days) and ask and answer questions.  I couldn’t help but wonder what those students would think about the lifestyles we lead, caring so much about our desires and they wrote us with concerns about getting jobs, good nutrition, and helping their country.

We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve teased and we’ve smelled together 🙂 but in the end I think we will always have a little bit of a special bond after this experience.  Friendships and memories are made that will continue to change our thinking about things in the future.

Roy, Matt and I were visiting one evening and Roy said to me “I definitely want to go back and I want to DO something.  I’d like to go back and help someone build a house or help them change the life of them and their family”.  I believe that’s the purpose for each of us to have some desire to help change things that need changing whether in Oskaloosa, Iowa or Kibungo, Rwanda.

Thank you so much to the donors who made this trip possible.  From your generosity may great things happen!