And we’re back! The Village is back in full swing after a full three weeks of vacation between term one and term two. Students left to spend time with their families and friends over the break. They spent the annual Genocide Memorial Day, April 7th, with their communities, remembering and mourning the loved ones they’ve lost. When asked about how their vacations were, many students responded by saying it was a “mix of good and bad.”  Many enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with people that they care about. It was particularly exciting for the Enrichment Year students who were able to tell their families about their time at Agahozo-Shalom for the first time.  Many students found it hard to remember the Genocide, difficult to cope with the sadness and challenging to see so many people in such a state of emotional angst and pain. 

Kids arrived back into the Village this past Saturday and Sunday, and jumped right in to a full schedule of classes, Enrichment Programs, club activities, team sports practice and more. The Village is buzzing with activity.  Students are animated as they express their excitement to be back, greet each other, catch up and share the news of the past few weeks, and the energy in the air is palpable.  Everyone seems refreshed and ready to approach a full second term with renewed gusto.  It’s not just the students who have been busy as the second term gets underway.  The staff has launched full-force into planning meetings for all of the second term activities which include an Agahozo-Shalom specific Memorial Day in commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against Tutsi.  The next few months are bound to be deeply emotional and intense, as many of our students will be leaving the Village to observe memorials in their own communities throughout the 100 days (April-July) that are observed in Rwanda to acknowledge the full period in which the Genocide took place.   In addition to paying tribute to the Genocide, we look forward to a full and exciting second term filled other celebrations  in order to recognize and observe International Labor Day, International Day for Mothers, the Day of the African Child and much, much, more.  Stay tuned for upcoming blogs about all of those activities and celebrations! 

Submitted by long-term volunteer Shira Liff-Grieff, edited by NY Office