21 March 2012

rwanda.

That's right!

Last weekend I bought a ticket to Rwanda for the end of April and it's now official that I'll be spending five days of African bliss with two of my very best friends and most treasured travel buddies.

Life is good.


Ever since learning about the Rwandan Genocide as part of my International Studies degree, it's been a dream of mine to visit this little country nestled away in the heart of Africa.  Despite the tragedy of the 1990's {where 800,000 Rwandans lost their lives in the matter of six weeks}, Rwanda has risen out of the ashes from a place of death, destruction, and despair to a country full of life, re-birth, hope, love, and forgiveness.  I've heard that once you've experienced Rwanda life will never again be the same, and that the country has a way of touching people down to their inner core.  I'm so unbelievably thankful that I'll be one of the few {westerners} who will get to add this to my list of life experiences... and hopefully also give back to Rwanda in some way.  

And what better way to do it than with these two amazing ladies:

Amber, Me, Katie: Croatia circa 2006

Amber, Katie, and I met on Semester at Sea in 2006 and have since become best friends and avid travel buddies.  Amber {upper left-hand side} is currently setting up a school in Ghana and Katie {lower right-hand side} is currently interning at an NGO in Rwanda.  With the three of us ironically on the African continent at the same time, we knew that a little reunion was inevitable.  After a short skype chat it was decided, Rwanda it would be.

I'm sure there will be lots more on my Rwanda trip to come, but for now I'll leave you with a recently discovered quote on Africa that I keep going back to over and over again:

"Westerners arriving in Africa for the first time are always struck by its beauty and size -- even the sky seems higher.  And they often find themselves suddenly cracked open.  They lose inhibitions, feel more alive, more themselves, and they begin to understand why, until then, they have only half lived. In Africa the essentials of existence -- light, earth, water, food, birth, family, love, sickness, death -- are more immediate, more intense.  Visitors suddenly realize what life is for.  To risk a huge generalization: {In the west}, amid our wasteful wealth and time-pressed lives we have lost human values that still abound in Africa."
-Richard Dowden

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Thoughts???

If anyone reading this has been to Rwanda before, I'd love to hear your travel stories, must-see places, tips, etc!


Also, I'm guest posting today over on Rachael's blog Let's Be Adventurers {one of my very favorite ex-pat blogs} about my story and all things South Africa.  Check it out here!

25 comments:

  1. Wow. That quote - very moved. :)

    I've never been to Rwanda, but I am so jealous you're going. I went to Kenya and was so moved by the country that I've been dying to return to the continent since then. I wish I could come tomorrow!

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  2. How exciting! And what a lovely quote, thanks for sharing. Can't wait to read all about your trip!

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  3. How amazing that you get to go with your friends! It's awesome that life all brought you together on the same continent again. I'm so excited to read about your adventures!

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  4. Wow. I am super jealous. Best friends? Another country? Totally awesome. April will be here so soon!

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  5. Wow, this is so amazing and such a great opportunity! I can't even explain to you how jealous I am. We learned about the Rwandan Geonicide in our religion class in high school, a film and religious studies class. That class taught me so much.

    Also, how was Semester at Sea? I've always wanted to go on one but never had the gutst to! I may just do a summer at sea?

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  6. This is going to be such an amazing trip for you! I'm super jealous. I've never been, but I have worked with a couple Rwandans. Last year I spent a couple days working with the founder of igihe.com and he's very cool and incredibly respectable guy. Can't wait to see what all you do!

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  7. I've never even been close to Africa ... but you know that movie Rwanda Hotel?

    Yeah.

    Well have fun, it looks gorgeous there!

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  8. Really beautiful. I think it's so important to pay tribute to major events in history as such and you'll get an amazing vacation too. Africa is on my travel list for sure! I had a teacher in high school who was a Canadian soldier brought into Rwanda and he told my political science class his story (which he brought light too)...it was fascinating!

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  9. You are going to have such an incredible experience.

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  10. Oh my gosh that is an amazing quote! I'm totally stealing it! I went to Ghana two summers ago and I completely agree with it. I hope I can continue my African travels someday! Good luck! :)

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  11. you're going to have so many amazing new memories! love your blog miss!
    xo

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  12. Love that quote so much, I studied abroad in SA and it seems so true. I am so jealous of your trip to Rwanda, sounds amazing!

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  13. how awesome jenna!!!! im sorry i havent been around much lately...this move has overwhelmed me (and so has becoming employed LOL)! :)

    im really excited to see how this trip goes! i know you'll have fun. i have always desired to visit there as well :) this blogger is the only person i have ever known to step foot in rwanda: http://www.camelsandchocolate.com/category/africa/rwanda/

    hope you're doing well and i cant wait to get caught up with you soon <3 <3

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  14. Rwanda has been next on my list - so jealous you are going! And I love that quote. It says everything (well almost) everything I want to say to people when they ask me what it was like to be in Africa. Can I steal it from you? Because I totally am.

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  15. I just read about the Genocide in Rwanda. So terrible.

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  16. BEYOND AMAZING!!!!!! What a fabulous trip to make!

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  17. What a wonderful new adventure. My sister did Semester at Sea also and met some really great friends :) I am looking forward to your recaps!

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  18. I. Am. Insanely. Jealous.

    But also so excited to hear all about it...

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  19. Amazing quote. So, so true.

    I've been to Rwanda twice but spent most of the time on work projects while I was there. The only non-work stuff I did were the gorillas and the Genocide Museum. Both are amazing. But you already knew that :)

    Have an amazing time!

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  20. Yes, life is truly good when you get to travel! I'm slowly starting to plan our summer vacation :) exciting!

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  21. oh gosh, so very jealous! you will have such an incredible and inspiring time!
    xo TJ

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  22. Please please please take SO many pictures to share with us!

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  23. beautiful photos! I hope your trip to Rwanda was amazing! I really want to get to Africa and I have Ethiopia at the top of my list (have you been there?)

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  24. ok turns out i didnt miss too much from your blog because ive already read this post ;) you've been busy i see!

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  25. sounds great!! enjoy your trip, looking forward to see pics :)

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)