Sunday, May 7, 2017

Umuganda & Challenge

The last Saturday of every month is a mandatory day of service in Rwanda called Umuganda.  We do service every Saturday here in the Village, but because of Umuganda last month, some of our students went out into the local community for service.  We partnered with an organization called Earth Enable that makes sustainable flooring.  They donated 4 floors to genocide survivors.  Some of the students helped with the flooring and others did landscaping throughout the neighborhood.

I went along because I wanted to see how Umuganda takes place in the community and not just within ASYV.  At first I felt a little awkward; I wandered around checking out the new floors and seeing the neighborhood.  Then, one of the students asked me if I had ever used a machete to trim hedges.  I said no and asked him to teach me.  I then had way too much fun with it and proceeded to trim the hedges around the house for the rest of the morning.  Some locals found the sight of the white lady swinging a machete mildly entertaining and took pictures of me.  The woman whose house it was started talking to the student who taught me how to swing the machete.  He later translated for me that she was surprised/impressed that I could do it well.  I have him to thank for making Umuganda so much fun.

I truly enjoyed this Umuganda experience.  It’s neat to live in such a little country and see what can happen with a smaller and more homogenous population.  I wish something like this could happen at home!  I guess I can just go help my Padre with the yard since I have him to thank for teaching me to work outside as a kid J Padre, since I’m not strong enough to hold the hedge trimmer at least I can help with a machete now! 
M-C wielding a machete

At ASYV, we live by our seven Core Values.  One of those is Learning Community: seek and maximize opportunity for growth and development.  To embody this value, the whole staff, from Finance to Family Mamas, gets together for an hour and a half every Wednesday morning to learn together.  Topics range from learning about adolescent trauma to better understand our students to learning to tango.

Since the start of the year I have wanted to lead a Challenge Course Learning Community.  Last week I finally got my chance!  I got to use the skills I worked on at the FSU Reservation to run a few team building activities for everyone.  Adapting these activities to a bilingual community proved quite fun.  Everyone got competitive playing tag and then we practiced silent communication and working together in different teams towards a common goal.  Overall, it seemed like those who participated enjoyed the experience and learning a little something.  I definitely remembered how much I love the Rez and everything I learned there.  Now to look forward to a Cousin Learning Community coming up – Jewish Cooking! 
Challenge Course!

1 comment:

  1. It is all coming together in an engaging way. A win-win for you and your communities!

    Je t'aime! Theresa