It’s been just one month since the last day of our December 3-11 2015 Rwanda journey.
With the holidays, many of us have barely transitioned into “Reality Re-entry” mode! As we do, our friends and family are asking: “How was your trip?” Several travelers have told me how hard it is to answer this question—to summarize the huge-ness, the range of emotions, the sights, the people and new friends.
It’s easy to answer: “Amazing!” but this never feels exactly right.
For me personally, there was a moment (during a quick post-program sojourn to Uganda) that embodied my trip experience, and echoed the lessons from and interactions with our Rwandan women leaders:
I’m walking through the red dirt slums at sunset. The smell of roasting maize competes with stagnant rain puddles. The sound of drumming grows louder as I approach. Neighbors are gathered in a rare bit of open space, families cheering a small troupe of dancers, young and old, practicing in their plain clothes. I stop to appreciate, just long enough for the dance troupe leader to zero in on me and beckon me to the center of the dance. I’m terrified, but can’t refuse. We look into each other’s faces and smile. She holds my hands to teach me as our arms mirror each other (and I attempt to move with a fraction of her skill and ease!).
It's a lesson. And it's pure joy.
The women we met in Rwanda—healers, teachers, mentors, students, innovators, governors—each one we met took us literally or figuratively into their hands, looked into our faces, and shared moments of generous exchange. Their stories, their wisdom, their struggles, their laughter. From morning to night for over a week, we looked to them and to each other as fellow travelers—seeking to receive, to understand, and to give something of ourselves.
This happened over and over—and it’s the impossible-to-explain magic of the journey.
Stay tuned! For the rest of January, we’ll be breaking down the day-to-day, play-by-play moments of the Rwanda Journey in photos and stories, culminating in a video snapshot of who, what, and how we came to love Rwanda in our short time there.
I can’t wait for others to experience the jewels that created this AMAZING whole, which certainly exceeded the sum of its parts.
Murakoze! ("Thanks" in Kinyarwanda!)
A fun list of advice that we just sent to our Rwanda travelers. There's some good advice for traveling in Rwanda—and some for anywhere! Big thanks to stylist Meg Gallager and writer/travelista Steph Zito for contributing. Get the abbreviated shop list on Pinterest.
I've been reading a recent blog by Rebecca Rodskog (who we'll be joining next week in San Francisco for FutureNow! Inspiration Journey #1!) about the importance of mentorship in the workplace, especially for Millenial employees. (And more wisdom about the critical need for mentorship to bridge the generational workforce gap, from Everwise—an innovative business mentorship model which we'll explore on our trip.)
I'd add that for all generations, there seems to be a natural need for connection and an exchange of wisdom both professionally and personally. I think that women and girls worldwide seek these especially, both within our local circles and across borders. On our Half Sky Journey to Kenya, we were thrilled to meet Lindy Wafula who invited us for lunch at her Project Africa women's center. She has a Rafiki Club ("rafiki" means "friend" in Swahili) which facilitates pen-pal relationships across borders, but also provides a local center of support—for women just needing friendship, professional connections, to women who may need shelter from violence or other extreme circumstances.
And I'm heartened by the desire for US-based companies to come together and consider the needs and circumstances of communities across borders.
Would love to hear from you. Please write and tell us more!
Thanks, Rafikis! Now enjoy some Zap Mama...
Maybe you've heard the African proverb: "To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together." But perhaps when we collaborate with truly creative leaders, we can go both faster AND farther!
Half Sky Journeys is pleased to announce our recent partnership with FutureNow founder Rebecca Rodskog. Rebecca is a Change Agent and Workforce Crusader who drives top leaders to transform their organizations to become more innovative, diverse, and purpose-driven.
Half Sky will co-host FutureNow's 2014 Inspiration Journeys, coming soon to San Francisco (June 16-19) and New York (September 30-October 2). These Journeys offer a behind-the-scenes exploration of what some of the most successful and cutting-edge organizations are doing to achieve their future talent and organizational ambitions, from more meaningful employee engagement, to deeper understanding of Millenials in the workforce.
These journeys are geared towards exceptional executive leaders with an eye to the future of Human Resources, Organizational Strategy, and Employee Engagement. To learn more or enroll in an Inspiration Journey, click here. Know someone who would be a great journey delegate? Please Let us know soon—space is limited!
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