June 28, 2017
Submitted by Sam Mugiraneza (Class of 2016)
Is it true that humanity can be restored? Is it possible to turn an angry face, depression, and broken heart into a smiling face, happiness and a healing heart to save the community? Why do we have mercy for others who are suffering? How does love to create friendship arise? What does it take to realize our dreams? These questions can be answered by my brief story describing my life changes at ASYV in four years.
Before coming to ASYV, I lived in a community with angry people, not because they are ugly or hungry, but because they seem to not be human because they lacked humanity. Thus, I lacked someone to play with, to talk to, and express my happiness. I had to listen to music expressing anger, hatred, street life, and conflicts… this resulted in a broken soul! I would feel shocked to see someone smiling and impressed to see those who are suffering because I would feel that they are my colleagues and we share the same situation. One day I wished I would have a gun to shoot people with smiling faces. However, it is astonishing that today, as a recent, brand new product of ASYV, I wish I would have enough food and funds to support people who are suffering to live a happy life.
My wish to kill smiling people was due to a painful life and lack of humanity. But by living in a restoring factory called ASYV, I gained values, love, and hope for the future, thereby healing my heart and developing a healing heart to serve the lives of others. Anne Heyman’s saying that we should be the ones to help others because we know the pain of having nothing has opened my mind and I found that I am the right person to turn on the light for others living in darkness. Today, I feel that I can support anyone from my end because that person needs me to show him that I am human so that he can restore his humanity because when a broken heart and soul are healed, humanity improves. Aiming at becoming a futurist with ambitions to act as a servant for others wasn’t my dream at first and no one forced me to aim for that. I adopted that goal from the ASYV environment because it is a culture that everyone lives with. Hence, the ASYV environment has restored the rhythm of my life and humanity.
One pillar can’t support a roof and no one can stand alone. I once lived in the world with my only friend being my shadow. But at ASYV, I lived in the family and I had a bunch of friends surrounding me. Working together with my family in different activities, including farm activities and mucaka mucaka, made me feel open to speak out about what is in my heart and enjoy life with others. It was such a pleasure to live with three roommates that treated me as their biological younger brother. Equally important, team spirit, sharing of ideas during family time, and love and support in family made me feel strong because I had people around me. This created an interest for me of creating more friends and that is when I started talking to others and they ended up being my friends. I entered ASYV as a quiet and scared young man and left as a sociable man with constructive advice that most of my fellows admired.
When you enter in a quiet room with a clock ticking you will hear its sound but as time goes on you won’t hear it again. Similarly, I joined ASYV with no desire to make friends but as time went on, I found myself with lots of friends around me. Truly, ASYV is a pool of friends and happiness!
If you don’t plan, you are absolutely planning to fail. At ASYV, I was advised on goal setting and planning strategies to achieve them. This made me believe that if I aim high, the outcome will also be high. In fact, this has contributed to strengthening my academic potential. To illustrate, I planned to get 90% on all of my exams and finally got straight A’s on the national exams (73/73). Getting a perfect score on the national exam was my wish in the previous schools and unfortunately it didn’t work out due to poor planning and lack of motivation. In contrast, at ASYV, it worked out! Thus, ASYV was my engine that provided energy for me to maximize my full potential and achieve my dreams.
In short, ASYV has been my cornerstone to a huge accomplishment: strengthening my life and social skills and developing my humanity. My strong academic potential enabled me to come up with a definition of ASYV. Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village refers to a factory that produces products (graduates) with new life, new attitudes, new ambitions, and a healing heart with the ability to take responsibilities and impact the lives of others. Now I don’t have an “ I don’t care” attitude. I have a team spirit and a proactive “I can do it” attitude. I definitely believe that the future is the best and the sky is only the beginning, not the limit.