Monday, June 23, 2014

Friday June 20 SAFARI

Friday, June 20, 2014
Peyton and Alex
We started the day with an early breakfast at 5:30 AM. We boarded the bus and set off on our safari. We saw a variety of African wild life, including zebras, giraffes, topis, water bucks, hippos, impala, cape buffalo, and a diverse selection of birds.  Although we expected the ride to last five hours, we unexpectedly arrived back at the hotel at 4:00 in the afternoon. Though the ride was bumpy, we were all excited about the animals we got to see. After a quick rinse off, everyone jumped into the pool. A game of boys vs girls pool basketball broke out.  (The girls won J) After swimming, everyone shared their stories under the stars, bringing the group closer than ever. An outdoor dinner was served celebrating the huge strides the leaders had made over the last couple of weeks.

Thursday June 19 - Last day with Sonrise

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Katie and Riley
Today was our last day with Sonrise and therefore a bit emotional. When we arrived at the school we finished a plan for the Sonrise students in order for them to do our projects once we left. After this, there was lots of socializing and random games, including taking pictures of each other and playing wax museum. Noon time came and we gathered for a presentation. We watched traditional African dances, songs, and modern dance, all preformed by Sonrise students. Somewhat spontaneously, we all (the Colorado Academy students) got up and sang “Let It Be,” by the Beetles. Then, we all clapped and sang “We Are Family,” and everyone, including the Sonrise students, got up and danced and clapped with us. After Katie, Riley, Charity, and Susan gave short “thank you” speeches, we began saying our goodbyes. This was by far the hardest part of the trip. Many CA and Sonrise students cried but we all were able to get through this hard part knowing that we would all stay in one another’s hearts.
            We were thankful to have gone to the market after saying goodbye in order to clear our heads.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Wednesday June 18, 2014 Riley's Birthday!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Riley; happy birthday to you! Today was filled with celebration as we sang, danced, and bonded on Riley’s special birthday.

After breakfast and singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday girl, we drove to Sonrise. There, we worked on our service projects. The group divided into smaller sections depending on their ideas. One group worked on bringing a buddy system into play between the primary and secondary school. (Primary school is the first six years of schooling. Later, students attend secondary school for another six years. When you ask our Sonrise buddies, “What grade are you in?” they would reply with, “I’m in S4,” which is equivalent to tenth grade. Of course we had students who were in S5 and S6, too.) Another group worked building a podium and website, so CA and Sonrise could share debate topics and speaker ideals. The other group was planning to paint a wall that represented the values of their relationship. The same mural would be painted at CA. The last group was going to start a new club focused on bringing Sonrise to the outer community and becoming involved with local charities.

After everyone was done for the day, we all went outside to play a game of soccer. It was so much fun as it joined us together. It united us all together. I lack words to describe this moment; my emotions were so strong, so unexplainable. These feeling seemed to appear later that night through a different form: music. After going back to the hotel, eating dinner, packing, and participating in a World Leadership activity, the Sonrise students threw a surprise birthday party for Riley. We danced together, many of us amazed with the students’ ability to “get down.” My mouth was so tired that night from smiling and screaming on the top of my lungs to the music. We went down to the conference room, thinking we just needed extra space for our activity. Riley opened the door and all the students were standing there and sang to her. Then we danced as the DJ played some music. It was just plain amazing!

The last song we played was “All of Me” by John Legend. It was not the first time we had sang it together. Standing in a circle with our arms around one anther, those unexplainable emotions flew back. For those few moments as we swayed back and forth, we were all united and together. We all felt as though we belonged together; it was destiny. That was the moment when we all realized how hard it would be to say goodbye to them the next day, but everyone pushed that thought to the back of their minds as to enjoy the fun we were having presently.

We all had so much fun on this day, and I think Riley’s birthday couldn’t have come on a better day for us all!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - Day 2 @ Sonrise

Tuesday June 17, 2014
Day 2 @ Sonrise
Kara and Evan

This morning, we did a leadership activity where we explored which kind of leader we are.  We picked and traded cards with adjectives that described important leadership characteristics, which then led us to determine which category we connect with the most.  The four groups included traditionalists (green), artists (yellow), idealists (red), and realists (blue).   An interesting discussion evolved from the descriptions of these leadership groups, and both the Sonrise and CA students re-positioned themselves to where they fit best.  Everyone learned something new about how they work in a group, how they get along with others, who they don’t get along with and why as well as strategies to become a more effective leader.  This was helpful to develop our projects even more.  After that, we came back to the hotel to have lunch – rice, bananas, potatoes and chicken! What a surprise! :-) Then, we went to Spark Microfinance to learn about their company and to ask questions about their work. 

When we came back to the hotel, Susan led a yoga nidra meditation session for an hour.  It was the best thing ever.  We needed some time to just relax, and afterwards everyone who did it felt rejuvenated and calm.  But, the best part of the night was a pizza dinner at Volcana Lounge Pizza, which was just a short walk away from the hotel.  There were NO leftovers.  We finished up the dinner with a thoughtful ANCHOR, and discovered that lizards chase laser pointers just like cats!

First Day at Sonrise June 16, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014: (Anna and Justine)

After waking up, getting dressed and eating breakfast, we all hopped in the bus and headed to Sonrise High school. At the school, we met up with the students and each picked a new buddy to spend the day with. Everyone was very friendly and excited to get to know one another. We played games so that we could remember the names of each student. After that, we gathered in groups of four to brainstorm ideas about the service project we would be working on through out the week. Each team came up with an idea and shared them with the class by writing them down on the whiteboard.  We were not able to decide on an idea, but we will make that decision tomorrow.
Around noon we headed back to the hotel and ate a hearty meal of chicken and potatoes, just like every meal thus far. Yum (*SARCASM*). People were beginning to feel sick. We blame it on the tea. Lesson learned.
After a lovely rest of journaling, sleeping, or playing an intense game of Uno, back upstairs for dinner. What is it you may ask? Huh? Potatoes and chicken? Ding Ding. Winner winner chicken dinner. Haha jokes. We like to have fun here. Heh heh.
Dinner was decent but a pizza is sounding pretty good right about now. Anchor and rest time followed. This took place in Justine and Katie’s room because we were gifted with a mansion as a room. We talked and brainstormed ideas about our service project. It’s coming along nicely.
Its now time for bed and we all need to rest our heads. Goodnight parents. Tune in tomorrow for our next addition to “Adventures of Teens in Africa.”


Sunday Church Services

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The pastor had requested that someone would speak at the church service on Sunday. Alexandra volunteered, and she shared a passage about the strength of God’s love from the bible. From John 4, versus seven and eight, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Afterwards, she thanked the school for welcoming her fellow leaders and creating a wonderful home away from home.

Here is a photo of Alex composing her words over breakfast.


Sunday Adventures - Church, Chilling, Trekking, Mingling

Hi all,

This is Abel and Schneck writing the blog so don’t expect anything special (Sorry Mom and Dad-Nick). Today, we come to you from our new location based in Rwanda. This morning was a very special morning indeed. For it was the only morning so far where we have been able to sleep in. The guys didn’t get much sleep though for there was a spider the size of an African grapefruit at full blossom in our room. An adventurous few decided that they wanted to go to service with the amazing people from Sonrise. (see other blog entry about this) Those who where even more adventurous stayed at the beautiful, Best View Hotel admiring the “Best View”. Tehe see what I did there? The even MORE adventurous decided to take a trek into the unknown land of the Market with our guide, the one and only Joel. From this experience, Joel taught us a number of life skills. Among those, were the skills to travel next to cars which are going at about 870 joules per hour. For those that didn’t take middle school science, that’s means really, really, tasty. By the way, thanks to our homie Evan Doherty for creating an opportunity to go to a “get together” with the Rwandan Cycling team. While we were there, we all felt like we were a dope (badum-ching). As the sun passed what we call 12 o’clock, we traveled to through a long, bumpy, strenuous, road that led us to the Imbabazi orphanage. Here we learned about the life of Rosemond Carr, a woman born and raised in The United States of America, only the greatest country in the world,  but decided to base her life in Rwanda and help out the community based on their needs at the time. Here we learned the history of Carr and we walked around the property which she owned where we saw beautiful gardens like no other ones that we've ever seen before. We then headed back to the hotel with “The Best View” in Rwanda and finished the day off and we rested for the next beautiful day. I now sit here two days after writing this blog looking, at THE “Best View.”


Monday, June 16, 2014

Homestay Visit Afternoon

PART 2 from Peyton and Riley
            These students spoke both English and Kinyarwanda. Back at the hotel, we played a name game and “where the wind blows,” with these students, in order to get to know them. We went up to the top floor of the hotel to have lunch with all of these students. Quick friends were made easily. It was fortunate because we were headed off to our homestays, with the Sonrise students, next.
            Six groups of students were formed, each had two Colorado Academy students and two Sonrise High School students, except for one group. Each group went to a different home which were all in a similar vicinity. We spent about two and a half hours in our individual homes. Families provided us with food, we talked and asked questions, and we played games. These families didn’t speak any English, so the Sonrise students translated for us. This made the dynamic interesting but well worth it. The village people were incredibly welcoming and asked us to come visit them again. We said our goodbyes to both the locals and the Sonrise students before having dinner back at the hotel. Nighttime activities consisted of Mafia, group conversation, and ANCHOR. Our adventures today were truly unforgettable. 

Meeting our Sonrise Family

PART 1...Caves and Meeting our Sonrise Family

            We awoke to fog flooding the hills and volcanoes of Musanze. It was raining for the first time on our trip and as we ate breakfast, we reminisced about its similarity to the Pacific Northwest. After eating, we went to the Best View Hotel’s parking lot where we learned that our tour at the Musanze Caves had been delayed by an hour. Spontaneously, Anna suggested the “sign game.” We sat in a circle, each of us labeled with various hand signals. As the guesser stood in the middle of the circle, all of the others passed their signs to each other as discreetly as possible. We spent the entire hour playing the sign game while the locals watched in confusion.
            The Musanze Caves were next on our schedule! After waiting another 45 minutes for the tour guide to arrive, we drove to the cave entrance. Near the entrance a youth soccer game was being played and many people were watching. As we pulled in, curious kids came running. We got out of the bus and close to a hundred eyes were looking our way. For the 20 minutes that it took to put on our glove, hairnets, face masks, and helmets, these eyes were locked on us. Wanting to engage with these children, we began singing the “hokey pokey.” Afterwards, we sang “head, shoulders, knees, and toes,” and asked them to join. We will remember forever how the faces of these children lit up, as soon as we began singing and dancing. Inside the dark cave, we saw beautiful rock formations and many bats. We came out the other side of the cave, to be greeted by our Sonrise High School buddies.

authored by Riley and Peyton
MORE TO FOLLOW! Check back soon :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More random photos...

We saw the sunshine!!! And the volcanoes!

The whole crew at Imbabazi Orphanage (  Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Day Five- In Transition

Today (well actually yesterday) we were "in transition." We had just finished our incredible experience in Kigali, and now it was time to begin a new stage in our journey. In the bus, while driving to Musanze, we got to see a new side of the city and a new aspect of Rwanda, the wildlife. As we drove through the mountains, we came upon countless monkeys and large beehives, which kept Mr. Allen truly mesmerized on the bus. We first stopped at a tea plantation, where we were met by a crowd of fascinated children and adults, alike. So far, we have had many people who have showed an interest in our presence, yet we had not seen a group this large and curious. We got to see the tea plants and the tour guide told us about the farm and its process. Though the most intriguing thing was the group of people inching closer and closer as time went by to watch us observe leaves. To avoid an awkward encounter, we sang 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes' while we made our way back through the crowd. It is truly amazing how singing and dancing can break any barrier. Phenomenal.

When we finally reached Musanze, we had the opportunity to visit a cultural village, where we saw traditional dancing and drumming as well as older Rwandan wedding ceremonies, the Medicine Man, the Black Smith and the Grain Grinders. Also, we were able to reenact a typical King's Entertainment, which we will leave it at that...Long Live King Schneck! Also, in the village, a man of seventy-four entertained us with his Gorilla-like antics and chants and keeping us on our toes at ALL times. We joined in on their dancing and drumming a pretty much became pros.

After visiting the village, we stopped by the Sonrise School on our way to the Best View Hotel. We met some students, though not the ones with which we would be working. We got to see the campus and spend time with some of the teachers as well.

Finally we checked into our beautiful hotel, with truly the best view...hehe.

Celia and Evan

Friday, June 13, 2014

Some random photos

 Susan and Jen at the Tea Plantation...our group was surrounded by the children of the village watching us inspect tea plants and learn about the tea growing process. Fascinating stuff.
The crew enjoying a sack lunch on the upper patio of our hotel in Musanze...the Best View Hotel...the name is no joke. Hope the skies clear so we can share some photos of the views.
 Receiving introductions at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village in Musanze.
 Drumming and dancing and more drumming.
Views of the hills and volcanoes beyond. Gorillas are up there in that mist...

Day 2 = Part 2 = Rwanda Music School

After a lunch filled with rice, potatoes, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables the group divided their Rwandan franks and headed to the market. Vendors were on the pursuit to sell all their goods, most of which represented things straight from Africa. Money was spent, sometimes even wasted. ;)

The group hopped on the bus and went to the music school. After a tour and rockin' out on some snakeskin drums, the students met the orphans. The orphans played the piano; the students played the piano. Once again, music united the barrier that separated the two different cultures.

The Americans listened intently to the story of the orphanage, but the children were distracted by the gizmos that the students had. The orphans were using the cameras to take pictures and were intrigued by the string bracelets the Americans had. Though both groups could barely understand each other, words were not needed, because the connection that was passed even through the simplest handhold was strong enough to create an everlasting bond.

written by Alex and Isabel

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day 2 Village of Hope

Day 2: Isabel and Alexandra

The eager group of CA leaders accomplished many things today, including a visit to the Village of Hope, a local Kigali market, and attending Kigali’s finest orphan music school.

After a filling breakfast with pineapple and passion fruit juice, the group piled into a bus and travelled half an hour to the outskirts of town where they encountered the Village of Hope.  The Village of Hope is a network founded soon after the genocide that supports both women and children of all ages. Walking into the main building, people sat on benches. Babies, children, teens, mothers, and grandmothers all intensely observed the visitors. After a brief tour of the community, which included a visit to the directors and an on site doctor, the group was serenaded by young African teens. Singing, dancing and clapping commenced. It broke the barrier that limited the interaction between the groups. Each group was able to learn something from the other. Once the crowd settled down, three women volunteered to share the genocide’s impact on their life. Both young and old were able to reflect on how the village has brought happiness and hope to their lives. 

Later did the two groups unite, teaching one another songs from their individual nations. The American group started with Shakira’s song that was played for the World Cup in South Africa, followed by the classic camp songs and pop artists (Michael Jackson). The smiles and the laughs filled the room. The feeling that hit the group of CA students was like no other before.  This feeling, this exchange of culture, this experience, this is why the students were here; this is why they traveled twenty-nine hours. 

More to follow about the rest of our day!

Day 1 = Part 2

Our day ended with story telling, a little skit of our plane rides here to Rwanda, and ANCHOR (Appreciation, News, Collaboration, Help, Opinion, and Reading). To end this Nick and Katie would like to just say that although everyone has malaria, and crazy gorillas have captured two, everyone is having a blast.

Thursday, June 11 Update!

Thursday morning AMPing Up!!

All students agreed that Rwandan singing, which is call-and-answer, perfectly reflects their friendly, communal culture. Embraced by the Village of Hope today, CA and Hope students exchanged dances and songs. Students agreed with Nick Schneck that American dancing has no skill and too much bouncing in place with a fist pump and not enough meaning or history with motions to be interpreted.

Joel Allen

Day 1 = Part 1 (Genocide Memorial)

Waking up was a blast for the group – after twenty-nine hours of traveling and hardly any sleep, everyone was a bit slow to rise. The day started with a wonderful breakfast including cereal, bananas, bread and jam, African tea, and an assortment of chicken gizzards.  Leaving breakfast, we decided to conduct our morning meeting in the gardens. The trees and flowers were wonderful. We played a word association game, and addressed the question “why are we here?” The activities we would have for the rest of the day would help us answer that question.
After our morning activities we drove off to the Genocide Memorial museum. People were so surprised on the bus ride there because everyone on the street would wave at you and give you these beautifully big smiles that made your day! Everyone’s’ hands were out the window in a matter of minutes. Once we arrived we had a tour around the gardens and mass graves of the people who had been killed in the genocide. This followed by a tour of the inside of the museum, detailing the full history of the Rwandan genocide.

We hopped back onto the bus and traveled over to the first art studio of the day, eating lunch in the beautiful sculpture garden. After lunch we got a quick tour of the wonderful art, and then meandered back onto the bus to go to the other art studio. This studio gave us the opportunity to create our own art in collaboration with the local artist at the studio.  We split off in to two groups and each created our won art!
MORE TO FOLLOW about today. Check back soon :-)
(written by Katie Cahn and Nick Bigger)