Volunteer Name: Emery Daigle
Project Location: Rwamagana, Rwanda
Program Dates: July 1 - July 14
Volunteered At: School program
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? Excellent! They were able to answer my questions and they provided us with the guidelines that we needed.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country? Innocent was very hospitable. He picked us up at our hotel in Kigali and helped us find a place to exchange our money. He was a wonderful conversationalist and listener. He introduced us to our host family.
What was your favorite memory of this trip? My favorite memory is actually the wonderful conversations with our host family before, during, and after dinner. I learned so much about Rwanda and its people through them. They were very, very hospitable and they made us feel so at home. They fed us so well too! I was honestly sad to leave Rwanda primarily because of this wonderful family.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced? I think the commute was quite difficult at first but we eventually got used to it so we didn't mind it after about 2 days. The biggest challenge for us was teaching the nursery level especially when they only know very few words.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for? I wish we were able to buy a gift from our country to give to our host family! :) I also wish that we were able to bring several school supplies. There were several stationery shops in Rwamagana but they didn't have a good deal of supplies that were good quality.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) 1. They have to have clothing good for two days in their carry-on luggage as there is always a possibility that their check-in luggage don't arrive with them. Both me and my husband (who traveled to Rwanda separately arrived without our luggage...we had to go back to the airport to get it 2 days after we arrived). 2. Bring some munchies. We didn't find a lot in Rwamanaga. 3. Bring medications (for fever, diarrhea, etc)
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): I enjoyed my 2-week volunteer work in Rwanda! I not only fulfilled my dream to teach in Rwanda, I also found myself fascinated with the Rwandan culture! It not only broadened my view of this part of Africa, but it also showed me the kindness of the Rwandan people. Our host family knew the very definition of hospitality - we felt so at home with them. My students are very passionate about learning. They are very proactive and they have so much hope for their future! Rwanda stole my heart!
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Absolutely!