Let’s not dwell on how we may have dropped off the map and dive into
the shortest and sweetest update I’ve ever done! [do you believe me?]
July- THE BIG WITZKE’S CAME! That is how our sweet friend Jerome
refers to Ron & Jan. It happened! I think our perspective of the tripwas quite different from theirs, but in all it can be looked back upon as a grand shared time. We traveled a lot which to us is utterly exhausting. We had a short amount of time to cram in a synopsis of our lives but we tried. They were understanding, open, flexible, and really just troopers throughout the trip. I was not only reminded how lucky I am to be with Aaron, but to have his family as well. They let me in really easily, share with me, and love me well. We are so thankful that we were able to share our lives with them here.
Highlights: We ate brie cheese and black currant jam on crackers
whilst watching hippos emerge and submerge into a big lake. [also saw a TON of other safari animals!] I did traditional Rwandan dance in front of a restaurant in Gisenyi. We cooked a real Christmas Morning Breakfast Cake, on our charcoal stove. Igi was sweet. We had an invitation only ceremony in our village, for our friends to meet A’s parents but also to say thank you to them for their kindness to us. Danced the night away. Ron sang the Lord’s Prayer, which literally stopped people in their tracks. It was a thoroughly special night. Ended with being trapped in a rainstorm, as all good Rwandan nights should. After a beautiful and restful trip to Kibuye we found ourselves once again in South Africa.
South Africa: We enjoyed 2 days in Joburg with the Witzke’s. Barbeque, crafts, art, gelato, apartheid museum, hot tub, rootbeer. Then we said good bye. But this time it was significantly less daunting. We knew home was coming soon.
Then A & I went to Cape Town again. It was our first time traveling to a foreign place alone, and was a lovely respite. We were feeling quite on top of the world and just enjoyed our own company. In 2 years living in our mud home together atop a mountain, we have still found more and more reasons to love each other. And we still enjoy spending time together. Huzzah!
Aaron went on a commercial fishing boat which caught 574 fish that
day! Hand lining! We found the Farmer’s Market blessed by God again,
and fully partook. We were able to stay in our favorite B&B again and enjoy the peaceful ocean view. For the last 2 nights we stayed with our new friend from last trip, Emma, and her family. It couldn’t have felt better. We cooked great food, watched the Olympics, and just felt normal. We love SA because of it’s beauty, it’s history, it’s future, but also because we feel normal there. And we like that.
August: Main agenda, GLOW Camp! Our first camp ever in our district. A & I were 2 of the 3 camp coordinators, and so we had a lot of work leading up to the camp. To try and recap it is difficult but I can say that we left it feeling full of life and proud. It went so so so so well. I hope to make a picture blog of it when I return with captions which can highlight it better. Girls enjoyed it, logistics went smoothly, lives changed all around. Next, we ventured south west to visit a dear friend who lives quite
far out there. From our home it would be a 14 hour 1 way trip to see
him. We enjoyed seeing his way of life, the rice paddies, the kiddos, and THE HOT SPRINGS! That’s right folks. The witzke’s happened upon a hot spring lake, and embarked in the delightful relaxation. Hit Kibuye one last time before school began, and even paddle boarded. Ready set LAST TERM!
September: Bam! Last term ever! We are ready! Teaching is going fine. We have a new headmaster who seems good. He says yes more than no,which is appreciated.
GLOW Club: gosh it’s good! We started two routines which have kept our attendance regular and high. First, we sing a song: “The more we GLOW together together together… … … the happier we’ll be.” Very cute. This alerts straggling girls that it’s club time and they’d better hurry. Then we take attendance and if a girl comes to 3 clubs she gets a GLOW notebook! I have had 55 girls in the past 2 terms, and 30 are coming consistently. Finally. We have had ceremonies at the end of each term which ALL girls are invited to, so we are sharing our lessons to a wider audience. ANDDDD we started a club at the other school on our hill! We are commandeering. Lesson Plans of this year so far: Welcome to GLOW Club, Self- Confidence, Encouraging Others, Goal- Setting,
Peer Pressure, Love, Love & Relationships, Sexual Relationships,
Women’s Health: Puberty & Menstruation, HIV/AIDS Facts & Myths,
HIV/AIDS Transmission. We will finish up with: Gender & Culture,
Women in History/Other Cultures, How to be a good leader?, and Trust. I am compiling all of the lessons as well as some appendixes to give to my girls and for other PCVs to leave behind to their clubs.
English Club: surprise! Trying to write and perform a musical in 2
months was hard. So we are finishing it this term! They are so
excited! Right now it is more of a play than a musical, which is a-ok with me.
Other news of Sept: We found out we are being replaced! We are really excited that our work will continue. We are really lucky to have a new volunteer coming, many from our group are not so fortunate.
We generally just feel good. The fact that the end is so near makes
all of the small things more tolerable.
The future: We finish our service November 15th. We will fly to Kenya to spend a few days with our newlywed friends who are now working there. Then we are going to India, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand! We are booking the tickets this weekend and will be able to give more details. We will return to STL on December 22nd, just in time to be with my mom & dad for a few days before my personal favorite day of the year- Christmas Eve at G&G’s. Pea soup, we’re coming. Shortly after we will join the Big Witzke’s and Sister Witzke in KC & then begin our quest to visit EVERYONE! :] we will go to CO, OK, MS, WI, and maybe even WA/OR. Family and friends, consider yourselves warned. Hugs are coming your way.
This was as short and sweet as it gets from me folks. Sorry! My heart is full, and I want to share it all. But it shall wait for another day. Hot beverage or snocone in hand, face to face.
We are really feeling the sting of being away for so long. Events have come and went without our participation, people have found love and stepped away from love, people have been in and then out of hospitals, babies born, people are living people are dying. The world spins madly on, with or without our consent. We are ready to jump back into your madness again, full throttle. We are really ready.
much peace, love, and hope being sent from us to you.
d, a, and calmer than before but still a pup igi.