Here's an entry I was working on about a week before I left. Enjoy.
I have been in Rwanda for almost three months now. I've met some of the most incredible people, and I couldn't be more thankful for everyone who helped me get here.
My last week will be a busy one. New volunteers, Bret and Dorota, arrived today so we will be showing them everything they need to know about living in Rwanda and working at the center. We will be teaching them about our projects in the library and storeroom so they can finish what we started. I am very glad they are here to do finish this work!
Here's a quick update on the library and storeroom. We have finally finished cataloging all of the books in the new library. Right now we are in the process of cutting out and taping the appropriate numbers to each book. The other day we did this for 3 hours and got through about 400 books. It's going to be a long process that hopefully Bret, Dorota, and Elizabeth can finish within the first few weeks after our departure. We have also cataloged some games that will be kept in the library!
The storeroom has been a beast to tackle. I've written a lot about the storeroom, and maybe you can start to see how far we've come. We've spent hours sorting through the enormous amount of things the old storeroom was holding. We brought things in very carefully to make sure the things entering the new storeroom were things that would be useful for the center. Things such as broken electronics, broken toys and games, and other garbage has no place in the new store. Keeping these things out, however, was much more difficult than you might think.
The building which housed the old storeroom is getting demolished as we speak. The center does not have an efficient way to dispose of trash, so much of it is kept. To make a long story short, they brought all of the trash we separated out and brought it to the doors of the new storeroom. Since we didn't want most of it to enter the new room, we left it outside. Eventually, the boys took it somewhere else, but I have no idea where.
The other items brought to the door were things we weren't ready for. Things such as tools, boxes of old records, and other random items. We still didn't have a place for these things, so they remained piled on the floor, just as they were before. It was overwhelming to enter the new storeroom for a few weeks because of all the stuff that was brought in.
Two lovely volunteers, Ian and Emily, visited for two weeks. During their visit, we handed out pencils, sharpeners, colored pencils, some candy, and English/Kinyarwanda dictionaries. We also began the process of sizing the boys for sneakers. Most of the boys only have rubber sandals. Since the store was full of shoes, Ian and Emily talked with Rafiki and Josianne to allow the shoes to be handed out. Since there weren't enough correct sizes for the boys, we arranged to sell some of the TOMS shoes that were impractical for them to wear. We sold some to our friends in the States. This gave us enough money to be able to buy enough pairs for the boys who didn't have a pair that fit them. Giving these things out felt really good because if we hadn't gone through and organized the items in the storeroom, these things would have never been given out.
The second to last day I was with the boys, I threw them a party. I worked with Willy to collect some Rwandan hip-hop music to give them one last night of dancing. We spent the day Sunday collecting music, and renting a speaker and mixer to ensure we would have good sound. I was so happy to be able to share over three hours dancing with the boys before I left. The only reason we stopped when we did is because my computer died. We were having too much fun.
The following day would be our last visit to EDD. We worked in the library tagging more books, and doing some more organizing in the storeroom. We taught the store keeper, Agnus, how to do inventory with the new books we are creating. This way every donation is accounted for correctly.
We ended our day a little late due to a meeting that lasted far longer than it should have. We said our goodbye's to the boys in the dark. I shed a few tears, but we were able to take many pictures with silly faces to keep our spirits up. It was definitely not an easy thing to do.
Our last day in Rwanda was spent doing some last minute shopping, and packing. We had a bittersweet goodbye to Willy at the airport, and after some baggage complications that caused us to nearly miss our flight out, we were off.