by Maricel Hope
At the end of our penultimate day at placement, our team of four walked down the road from Centre Marembo hoping to reach Les Enfants de Dieu. My eyes wandered past the long stretch of the red road ahead of me and in the distance I saw a mosaic of hills, banana trees, and terra cotta rooftops which I had never seen before. Every morning, our van rolled on up that same road and back down when evening came but somehow there were so many things I had never noticed.
At that moment, I fully realized that no matter how many days I spend in Rwanda, there will always be new features of this country and its people to encounter. Now that the journey is drawing to a rapid close, a montage of jokes and stories shared at the dinner table, goodbye hugs and thanks at Marembo, and the sound of the drums accompanying traditional dance plays on repeat in my head while I pack my luggage.
It seems like just a few days ago, when at our arrival we were all at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (University of Rwanda) sitting with the Principal Dr. Jeanne Kagwiza, Professor Firmard Sabimana, Bosco Ford, and Eric Niyikiza, and sharing our individual expectations of our time in Rwanda. Friday night’s farewell dinner brought us to sit with the Principal and staff of CMHS once again but also with the directors and staff of our centres: Caritas Kigali, Centre Marembo, and Les Enfants de Dieu.
Only after hearing their kind words and heartfelt goodbye speeches, I finally understood that my last week in Rwanda was almost over. Five weeks have gone by too fast, to say the least! But the short five weeks will have been an incredible learning opportunity for my classmates and me.
One of the phrases used at our goodbye dinner will always come to mind when I think of Rwanda –a second home– and while I prefer to avoid the sound of goodbye, I can only truly say:
See you soon, Rwanda!