Only regret what you haven’t done. -Unknown

The Future of Rwanda

I wanted to post a short video of one of our most precious students – Julienne. This girl went from a shy, non-speaking student to one of our best English speakers in just 1 year. By all accounts, this girl shouldn’t know English. She has had the same education as all the other students, but now she is writing and performing her own song in English and is always joking around with us. The last week of school when I had to type exams for all the teachers, I put her in charge of the classroom and made her the temporary teacher. She accepted this job with gusto and I caught her speaking English to the class and keeping them in line.

Julienne is one of the few students we have gone to visit. Our visit was awesome and her family went all out and even bought us Fantas (which are a lot for a family with very little money). They cooked us up plantains, beans, and cabbage. We piled into three chairs in her 4′ x 8′ room where she sleeps. She only had the photos to show us that we gave her from our GLOW camp.

Julienne lives near the bottom of our mountain in a small house consisting of 3 rooms and an outdoor kitchen. She has no electricity or water but she is lucky enough to have a 9-volt battery to power a radio and single bulb at night. She lives with her mother and they have one cow. Her father has multiple wives and thus is virtually estranged from Julienne’s family. Her sister recently dropped out of school because she became pregnant though she is not married. Julienne has only missed 1 Sunday at the library in 5 months. She comes to all the debates, English club, and girls club and even sometimes to the computer club. She comes to all the after-school activities despite living a 40 minute walk away. And by staying at these clubs, she risks having to make this 40 minute walk down the mountain in the rain, dark, or cold.

I can’t tell you how incredible this student is. Last year we didn’t even know her name. She is my student – I am not saying it was the inspiration of her teacher (me) – but this year, she is a leader of the school. She appeared out of nowhere this year and with a little attention and affection, she has blossomed. Girls like this are the ones who make your two years of frustrations, stares, difficult transportation, and blank stares in class all worth it. If I had a million of her, I could change the face of this country.

Anyway, that is a little bit about Julienne. Please enjoy the video and song that she wrote for us: http://youtu.be/8QbCeUT_Vxs

No one succeeds without the help of other people.
No one can say, “I don’t need people”
-Jan Silvious

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One response

  1. amandadikdan@yahoo.com

    Carina and Andy, I feel through your blog I have gained a tiny insight to your world. I truly have read and looked at all your postings. I wanted to say thanks for sharing your stories, they are a delight to me. Having grown up in Africa I yearn to do what you have done. Please tell the young lady who sung her song how wonderful it was. She should be proud of herself as a girl with a vision much greater than her world. Just tell her I Loved it!

    Take care, Amanda WAIS

    Sent from my iPhone

    November 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm

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