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.
Global Engagement Institute + Half Sky Journeys = A Groundbreaking Partnership For Meaningful Travel & Collaborative Leadership!
Global Engagement Institute offers over a decade of experience in high-impact, multi-cultural academic travel experiences for top universities, plus award-winning tour design in Africa and Asia. Half Sky Journeys brings the innovative solutions of a global women’s empowerment network—plus expertise in international development and media communications—to create bridges of support and leadership across geographical borders and economic sectors.
Together, we are creating life-changing journeys to transform the future of Women’s Leadership!
Visit this page often for the latest news on travel, women and girls' empowerment, and lots of other things we love.