My work got started in Rwanda, in 2009. In total, I visited three times and though I no longer have active projects there, the country will always hold a special place in my heart for having helped inspire me to commit to the path I did.
I was focused here, at the Remera Mbogo Secondary School, which housed hundreds of orphans who survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Many of the students lost hundreds of family members, in some cases, barely escaping with their own lives. I went, originally, to address some of the resulting trauma (PTSD) issues.
Listening to Innocent share his survivor story during 1:1 interviews.
Treating a young girl who had been hospitalized during a trauma outbreak. For three days, she was unable to speak or move.
Leading a meditation exercise.
Visualizing what living well means. I presented living well as the best way to honor their family members who had been killed.
Working with graduating seniors on entrepreneurial skills.
We picked a handful of development projects that the students were responsible for launching start to finish. Here, a fire circle for social events.
Painting of all school structures, using colors of Rwandan flag.
Lines for drying clothes.
Younger guys, not in our program, got inspired to work on their own project.
We know that trauma greatly decreased from our visits and many seeds were planted. Now, the need for such programs is less since all of the orphan students have graduated.
My deepest thanks and gratitude to Dr. Lori Leyden for inviting me to join her team in 2009.