Monday, 2 April 2012

Final Countdown to Africa

I STILL cannot get my head around the fact that this time next week I will be getting on a plane, which will take me to Kigali, Rwanda. That's in AFRICA!!!! Along with my husband Bret, we will arrive at a very special place: Les Enfants de Dieu, just outside of the capital. It will be our home for the next four and a half months. It is also a home to many boys, who formerly lived on the streets. We will be working there as volunteers and do our best to make a difference! I am so thrilled that I will meet all the lovely boys Bret met last year in November. I guess I will have no choice but to put my newly-learnt '80 essential Kinyarwanda phrases' to good use.

For those of you who may not know the background: Bret went along to Kigali with his friend Pervez, who was a part of a project set up by Catalyst Rwanda. Bret made a film about the trip and you can watch it here. It was an amazing journey and Bret was really touched by the whole experience. The film was put together over several months in London and our Brooklyn-based musician friend, Eric Biondo, composed original music to the film and recorded it with his band Beyondo.

The trip last November, the stories told by Bret and the buzz associated with the making of the film have become so intertwined with our lives for the past few months that when the centre was looking for volunteers at the end of January, I saw it as a sign. We decided to swap our planned 6-month break in Asia for an adventure in Africa. The last eight weeks have been full of frantic preparations, endless vaccinations, malaria medication prescriptions, travel insurance research and other logistical challenges AND of many email exchanges with the current volunteer at the centre, Elena. Elena's resourcefulness, soothing nature and wisdom are simply unquantifiable. Now it is the final stretch before that 18-hour plane journey from Camberwell to Kigali.

The last few weeks were also full of support and encouragement from family, friends and colleagues. We have really been feeling the love from all the people we know around the globe and who have seen the film and found out about our plans. It has also made us realise (and that really makes my heart sing) that London is our home. We have a network of people here who understand us, who care and support us and who are here for us. It feels good to be leaving for such an amazing adventure and know it will also feel good to be back home, in our south-east London 'sanctuary' of Camberwell.

It would not be possible to name everyone who has helped, supported and encouraged. You know who you are. It means the world to Bret and I and your love and enthusiasm will travel with us to Rwanda.

Off to pack!

P.S. You can read about Elena's adventure at Les Enfants de Dieu on her blog.

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