On Tuesday, January 5th, we finally got to put our teacher training into action! To be totally honest, I was dreading spending the entire day training. Not because I think it wasn't important but because we have been doing so many exciting things that teacher training seemed less enjoyable. I was totally incorrect. In this teacher training, there were 12 Rwandan teacher trainers. We started the day by discussing Rwanda's new 2016 school curriculum and many major differences in our educational systems. This 2016 curriculum is very new and is very different that the last time they updated the curriculum. But instead of the teacher trainers being upset of the change they are completely happy and ready for the change. It was inspiring to see, as a new, teacher, such passion, and enthusiasm. Following this discussion, we began training teachers in different ways to incorporate drama into the curriculum to help make learning more comprehension based. This approach is very similar to the visual arts education that I have received at Buffalo State.
We then put words into action! We started with "heart storming" about the teacher trainers feelings about the new 2016 curriculum. They started very broad with pages of words that described their feelings. Using their feelings they narrowed down the words to find common themes and connections to come up with catch phrases to encompass all feelings. We then prompted the teacher trainers to work with us to use our body's to then show the various catch phrases. Our last task was to incorporate word and language into the body performances. It was a wonderful experience to see my group and the Rwandan teachers working together for a common goal and also have so much fun together. The mood quickly changed and we became "family". It was sad to leave but so exciting knowing that our work will affect many children here.
Today we took a trip that really me emotional, we visited a TIG Camp. A TIG Camp is a work camp for perpetrators of the genocide. In order to complete their sentence at the work camp, they must confess to their crimes, most are there for mudering during the genocide. They then work to rebuild Rwanda; creating bricks, terracing the hills, and helping with agriculture. "Rebuilding the place they tried to destroy". It was really easy to hate these men prior to going to the camp. All of my pre-conceived anger towards these men really feel apart. And I really don't know how I feel, but it wasn't anger but mostly sadness. These men were tricked by the government, to hate their friends and neighbors to the point that they either kill or be killed.
We walked around their camp while asking questions and they were more than honest. But what is really shocking the camp was just in the middle of the countryside, no guards, no guns, just the men. The men who want to change, who asked for forgiveness, who wanted their story to be told. They have come to terms with what they had done and want nothing more than to be better people for their families and for Rwanda. When given the opportunity the prisoners told us they imagine America to be a place with no problems and no poverty. It's incredible that how much has been accomplished here in Rwanda after the genocide but they still think that America is more forward. But after seeing these men, seeing how they have really embraced compassion, change, forgiveness, and reconciliation, I can say we have ALOT to learn about Rwanda. Not just the judicial and prison system but ways of living. That all men should be treated with dignity.