T-minus 9 Days

Muraho from Lilly!

We have officially entered the single digit countdown for our departure to Rwanda!

Going on this trip is a serious dream come true for me. I first heard about AFP and the Rwanda trip when I was a Junior in High School attending NFJC meetings where I met Eve. Eve shared a mini presentation on her experience in Rwanda, complete with fantastic photos, and my heart was tugged on from then on. Now, a Junior in college, I am leaving for this life experience of a trip in less than 10 days! Over the last four years, I have gone back and forth with the risks and enormity of the trip weighing on me. I have also worked a ton on personal emotional growth which is resulting in my readiness to go on this trip. I know that Drew & Eve wouldn't let me go on this trip if I wasn't 'ready', and I appreciate that so much because we are in for some serious heart-stretching! Along with Drew and Eve, are myself, my mom, and pretty much anyone who knows me well enough when it comes to knowing how ready I am for this trip. I'd like to thank the universe for conspiring to get me to the place I'm at now. 

I've been studying English Education and Theater at Buffalo State College and I cannot stress how relevant this trip is to my career and life. This past Fall semester, I spent a large majority of my time out in different schools of Buffalo, touring Mirror Mirror and racking up field experience hours for my teacher certification. At every school I have been to, I have stemmed from my Buffalo roots and found my voice in this city. Telling students and adults alike that They Matter has been my philosophy all along and it feels so fulfilling to be doing the type of social-justice related work I have been, whether it be through teaching or theater (which I like to think are one in the same). It's going to be so meaningful for me to be able to go soak up the lifestyle of the people of Rwanda and to bring a piece of that back with me in my heart for my many Buffalo villages.

So far, I have packed one of my suitcases full with donations and I plan to start packing my personal belongings within the next couple of days. I have been hesitating about packing my personal belongings because I want to save that excitement for the days that are closer to our departure. I am no longer scared about this great journey; instead I am feeling ready-emotionally and mentally-and I am so so so excited. Tomorrow I am hopefully going to get a nice camera for this trip. I have always had a knack for photography but never had my own 'fancy' camera to shoot with. Rwanda is going to be so amazing to capture through photos. It's so neat that Bruce & Deb will be with us to capture our experiences through their own lenses too.

I have been focused on spending time with family and friends and trying to get into the Christmas spirit before we leave. Today, I had lunch with a family member and we talked a ton about the wonderful journey I will be taking. It was really fulfilling to be able to explain all of the great experiences the village is going to have in less than two weeks now. I showed her some of the pictures that Ash W. Posted to Facebook while in Rwanda last year, and she was so excited for me that we both wished that she could go with us! She is one of many people that I know who are eager to track our experiences via this blog while we're there. 

I'm so grateful to be able to be a part of this experience and I am relieved and excited that we get to share and process our adventures through writing on this blog. I plan on keeping a hand-written journal as well as posting to my Tumblr blog a ton. This is going to be my biggest adventure yet! It'll also be the longest amount of time that I've ever spent away from my mom, my home, and my life here in Lackawanna, NY.  

That's all I have for now! I will write again soon.  

Amaraho! (Peace!) 

~ LI

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9 Days left