Hannah Rae here, I'm from Edinburgh, Scotland. I am the Camp Director for Hope Shines this year. This is my fourth year volunteering with Hope Shines and first year as Director (thanks to Dan, Steph and baby Mack for giving me this opportunity!). Back in 2013 I was volunteering and traveling in Rwanda. I found Hope Shines through a Rwandan friend and boy am I glad that I did! Rwanda is an incredible country and coming back every year is so special to me, each year it feels more and more like home. Being a part of the Hope Shines family is a huge part of my Rwandan adventures and I am immensely grateful for the time we all share together!
Now that the soppy part is over, let's get down to business! Today was Orientation Day. This is always the day before camp starts, where all volunteers and translators come together for the first time to get to know each other and familiarise themselves with the camp curriculum.
We started the day by learning a bit about each other, through some interesting conversations and interpretive dancing! We also played a favourite game of mine I like to call THUNDER (which I am working on making a permanent feature of camp this year!).
|Jenny and Bienta doing some interpretive dance!|
After a delicious Rwandan lunch, we jumped in our trusty van and headed to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum. Every year Hope Shines volunteers visit the memorial in order pay their respects and learn more about the recent history of Rwanda. It is extremely important for all volunteers to have an understanding and awareness of the 1994 Genocide and how this has shaped Rwanda today.
Afterwards, the team jumped back in the van and we headed to our brand new Hope Shines Centre. This is an incredibly exciting year for Hope Shines as for the first time we now have our own centre. We can make this place home and have already started to do so by painting the walls and hanging posters, pictures and maps up on the walls of the main classroom. Seeing that classroom full of excited and eager children for the first time tomorrow will definitely be a moment to remember!
|Michael and Bienta hanging the Hope Shines banner at the center!|
At the centre, we also met with some of the Hope Shines children and their parents. The parents of the children are very much involved in Hope Shines, some of the mamas will even be cooking the camp lunches throughout the week.
|The Mamas and some of the children who will take part in camp this week.|
Once wrapped up, it was time for the Welcome dinner. This is an opportunity for all volunteers and translators to share a meal together and get excited for a full and most likely hectic week ahead. I personally can't wait. Being Camp Director is a huge privilege for me and will of course be a big challenge, but one I am most definitely up for!
Look forward to a week full of Hope Shines blogs from all our volunteers. Come on this journey with us where ever you are in the world and thank you for your support!
|The center finished and decorated READY for camp tomorrow.|