|Melanie (center) inside a home in the camp|
|Lake Kivu, as seen from our guest house|
Today was my favorite day so far! However, since both Kyle and Connor are also blogging and going into great detail, I am just going to share my most memorable experiences. So, when we drove to the Kiziba Refugee Camp, I loved waving at the people we passed. I loved how their faces would light up whenever we waved at them. As we drove up to the entrance of the camp, the little kids would run after our bus, smiling and laughing. It was adorable! My favorite part of the whole day, though, was when we were gathered with some of the refugees in the camp’s new library and we started singing a song in multiple languages. It was incredible how we all united through the music. It was truly many languages and cultures coming together. So surreal! Some of us, especially myself, got very emotional. It was so funny because everyone was staring at me and watching me cry. Later, multiple people asked me why I was weeping.
After that, we got together in groups, with a couple of us and some of the refugees, and talked about the camp and our lives. During this time, I met and talked to a 22-year old guy named Audace. He told me about his life and the Congo, and asked me questions about America. It was amazingly easy to talk to him (he spoke English quite well) and a friendship quickly developed as he gave us a tour around the camp. During the tour, I was amazed at the size of the houses. A “small house” included a living room and a bedroom, and could probably fit into my own bedroom in America. We also got to see the bathrooms, which were all outside and consisted of two metal footprints and a drain on the floor - Definitely a change from the indoor plumbing we have, and it was quite an interesting experience to use them later. Another thing that was peculiar was how some of the kids kept asking for water, food, or money. I felt so bad when I had to tell them that I couldn’t give them any of those things! It just broke my heart!
Anyways, we got the opportunity to walk back to Kibuye from the camp (which is a walk that some of the refugees do often). We got to see more of the gorgeous landscape, smiling children, and friendly people. We also learned some Kinyarwandan by conversing with people from the villages we passed, which was so helpful! After we arrived at the guest house, we were able to swim in Lake Kivu. Let me just tell you something about Lake Kivu: It is INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL - Lake Michigan has got nothing on Lake Kivu! The water was so clear, cool, and refreshing. The islands, shores, and waters are absolutely breathtaking. This “Land of a Thousand Hills” has definitely had an impact on me!!