Genie: I tend to volunteer for things on impulse then regret them later. Leading up to this trip I was deeply afraid that I’d struggle; and I did, a lot, but I’m glad I came. I loved teaching the children and the atmosphere of hospitality in Rwanda was incredible. Most importantly I feel like I gained much needed perspective. All in all I enjoyed working with the CRED team and would definitely want to do a trip like this again. I made so many friends amongst the staff and children in the Catch-Up Centre and I will miss them deeply.
Barbara: I came here with an open heart, hoping (amongst other things) to get a better understanding of Rwanda’s all too recent history. Hearing first-hand accounts, experiencing living legacies, and seeing Remembrance memorials to the Genocide was not easy, but this week has begun to enable me to comprehend the ‘hugeness’ of what happened here. You have to try to understand it so as to ‘get your head around’ why Rwanda is like it is today. We were asked to be Ambassadors and share their story with the world. I will. Working at the Catch-Up Centre with children, and the young people on our Team has been extraordinary, and my heart has grown even more. I thank you all, but especially Helen, for opening up this humbling experience to us. It has been a true privilege to be here, as part of an extraordinary Team.
Emma B: This week in Rwanda has been truly inspirational. I came here not knowing what exactly to expect, having heard little about the country and its history. I can now say I have been pleasantly surprised. The country has an amazing sense of community, despite the trauma that many of them have experienced. I have had the best experience this week with team Rwanda and have made many new friends. At the beginning, I felt very nervous but on reflection, I feel that I have overcome my fears and believe that this experience has boosted my confidence greatly. Thank you to everyone for such an amazing week!
Daisy: At the start of the week I wasn’t even sure I’d make it all the way to Rwanda, but now that I am here I’ve never been so thankful. This week has reminded me what is truly important, and that community and friendship is the perfect combination of happiness. Rwanda is a really remarkable place and I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of this trip. For a team of people of mixed ages and different locations, we really have become great friends. Shout out to my NEDL crew!
Natalie: I came to Rwanda very apprehensive but ready to learn. Rwanda has taught me the importance of community and friendship. The children I worked with will be in my heart forever. I feel extremely privileged to be a part of this trip and create such amazing memories with wonderful people. I want to thank CRED for this incredible, life changing experience.
Tracy: It is very difficult to put into words some of the feelings and emotions of this past week. We have met so many inspirational and selfless people whose willingness to forgive has been incomprehensible. My heart goes out to the all the children we have been working with, but there is a special place reserved for the group of street children whom we met on Wednesday. I hope that they will soon be starting their journey towards realising their hopes and dreams and living a safer future. This experience will stay with us all forever.
Sarah C: Where to begin? Rwanda truly has been ‘the land of a thousand hills, a thousand solutions and a thousand smiles’ that they call themselves. It would take too much time to explain all the things we have seen, heard and experienced in a few sentences now and I’m not quite sure yet how to put it into words, but I am so excited to get home and share this with everybody. The Rwandan people have been through so much, and as we saw from the street children on Wednesday there are still a lot of troubles to overcome, but their commitment to forgiveness and pulling through as a community is too incredible for words. Everyone we have met has left a mark on our hearts and my prayer for all of us is that those marks stay and grow as we move on from this trip and share this special experience with those at home. Personally I am unsure what life holds for me when I get home, but I know that Rwanda has made an incomprehensible and unmeasurable impact on me.
Lowri: This week has taught me so much. I have learned to be open-minded and have a positive outlook on life, and that things can always get better, despite how difficult they may seem at the time. For my first visit to Africa, I am so thankful that I came to the beauty of a country that is Rwanda. I almost feel at home, and have made so many friends since being here, both within the CRED Team (NEDL Crew!) and with the Rwandan people that we have met along the way. A piece of Rwanda will stay with me forever and I am so grateful for everything that we have experienced this week.
Susie – This week has been unbelievable and a roller coaster of emotions. I am so happy I got to be a part of this journey. It has been lovely spending time with the children and making so many new friends. This week has inspired me to want to do more things like this in the future.
Stevie – The last time I came to Rwanda I left a part of my heart here, as I leave Rwanda this time even more of my heart shall be left. The passion and inspiration inside of me has been fuelled, I am going away once again with a lot of reflection and new inspirations to live my life by once back home.
Sarah T- I came to Rwanda with an open mind and an open heart to be able to accept the history that has occurred in the last 22 years; and I defiantly needed it. This trip has been a very emotional one but has also taught me a lot, from just teaching lessons to visiting the genocide museum. It is amazing how they were able to forgive after the genocide took place. Rwanda will now always be in my heart and will stay with me forever.
Kaya- Once again on my second visit to Rwanda it never fails to make me have a much more positive outlook on life. I have felt myself grow in confidence and independence. The trip has been filled with lots of highs and lows, with many emotional times. I was very apprehensive about my return to Rwanda as I was going alone this time, but over this past week, I have made many lovely friends and shared some great memories together, which I will treasure forever. My highlight has been seeing some of the children and staff from 2 years ago and being remembered, making me feel good that I obviously helped to make a difference before and I feel I have also helped to this time. I am inspired to do many more things like this in the future as it makes me feel like a much better person, to help make a difference to someone else’s life. It also makes me happy to know that I can make my family proud.
Lauren- Rwanda has been an amazing experience that I will never forget. I feel so much more confident and independent. I have learnt so much about the genocide that you wouldn’t think would have happened there, considering how happy and forgiving the people are. I loved spending time teaching and being with the children as they are always so happy. It will give me a much more positive outlook on life and now I will appreciate what I have so much more. I have made many new friends from this experience and it will stay with me forever. Rwanda will always be in my heart and it is a truly unforgettable experience.
Lucy- Rwanda has been an amazing trip and everyone here has been so welcoming. The community is so strong and from the minute I stepped of the plane in Kigali I was made to feel at home by everyone. Hearing stories and learning about the genocide has been emotional, but this trip will be an experience I will never forget. I have made many new friends and have gained so much confidence during my time here. Rwanda will always be in my heart and I hope to come back again.
Emma H- This trip has been so long in the planning that for a while I didn’t think I would get here. For me I have found the whole experience very challenging and emotional as many of the team would agree too. From this experience I have proven that I am far more resilient that I ever expected and I think that I have grown into a more confident and outgoing person. Although I am excited to return to the UK, I will leave with a piece of me left here with the children that we taught and I hope to return to Rwanda again able to learn more about myself and the country.
Aislinn- I was surprised at how welcoming and helpful everyone was, on the team and the locals. This is one of the biggest things I’ve done so far in my life and I will always remember this experience and all the people as well. Teaching the children at the catch up school opened my eyes to how privileged we are in the UK and I will always remember that. I hope to go on another trip like this either to Rwanda or somewhere else as it has taught me things which couldn’t be taught in the UK and I would love to be part of a team like this one again.
Dan – It’s such a privilege to have been amongst such beautiful people and hear their stories of healing and hope against such a backdrop of hurt and hatred. It’s always humbling, awkward even, to hear the local people say how much they appreciate us coming, but the way that CRED team trips are geared up to get alongside and support means that we end up making friends rather than giving the impression we’re superior in some way. After all, they teach us so much: their warmth, hospitality and supportive communities are just a few ways in which us guys from the UK have so much to learn.
Rhona – My real life super hero is Gideon, the Level 3 teacher at the Catch Up School. His amazing selflessness and self-sacrifice is an example to us all. He is a fully qualified teacher with excellent English. He could earn a much better and regularly paid salary but he continues to walk many kilometres to school each day so that his rent is as cheap as possible, and he accepts the intermittent nature of his pay. He takes a huge interest in each of his pupils getting to know their home situation and in some cases helping with the financial support. He is totally committed to education. And his pupils get really good results in their exams!
Sionedd – only a few words; Rwanda is the most amazing place I’ve been and anywhere else will struggle to measure up to its loving and forgiving nature.
Sophie – This has been such an amazing experience for me and I have lots of stories to take home about this experience with me. Teaching the children was a great fun experience. Even the little things they were so grateful for. Hearing stories about the genocide has been very emotional, however it has been nice to hear and learn for myself instead of watching something on TV in England.
Helen – a fabulous team, a fabulous trip, and a fabulous project! It has been a real privilege to lead the CRED Rwanda team, and to watch a group of individuals transform into a strong team, as well as develop in their own unique ways as they find inner strengths and giftings that they hadn’t previously been fully aware of.
Thank you to everyone who has supported each of the team members in getting to the point of being on this trip – through fundraising, to helping with resources and ideas for lessons, to signing the parental permission forms, to the comments on the blog that have made each evening here so special, and so much more.
Your loved ones have all been amazing, each in their own special way, and the team would have been all the lesser if any one of them hadn’t been here. Not surprisingly we are all coming home slightly different from the person we went out as, and there is still a lot of processing going on for each of us. This will take time, and will be outworked in different ways, so thank you for being gentle with us!
Be proud of your loved ones – they have achieved so much. Thank you for allowing me the privilege of bringing them to Rwanda, and wishing you all happy reunions as they return home.
With best wishes to you all