Monday, June 29, 2015

Danielle and Dave Part 1

My name is Danielle Thompson. I am 20 years old, recently married, and a student at the University of Maryland. I am a rising senior who studies Psychology and Global Poverty for my BA while also getting a Master’s Degree in Public Policy for Non-Profit Management. This summer I traveled to Urukundo with my husband’s grandfather, Dave Howell of St. Paul’s UMC. Grandpa Howell has been volunteering and working on agriculture and animal projects for the past four years. Prior to coming I have never traveled to Africa or any country past Italy.

My family comes from a shantytown in Montego Bay, Jamaica so I was expecting Rwanda to be very similar. I expected many tourists, widespread poverty, obvious segregation between the wealthy and poor, and lots of animals and green vegetation. With my education in Global Poverty the conditions in Rwanda were discussed many times. Most of the focus was on the genocide from years before and how the population fared during those times. Other courses focused on how poverty in Rwanda is being dealt with by NGOs and their agricultural system. My expectations of Rwanda were determined by my schooling and previous experiences in countries stricken by poverty.

Before coming, I had no idea what my job was going to be or how I was to be spending my time. However, knowing we would stay at a children’s home I assumed I might be involved in the care of the children. Possibly help out with cooking or caring for livestock.

My expectations could not prepare me for how I would really feel about Rwanda.

New bride in April
New Rwanda adventure in June
Danielle and Grandpa Howell

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Math with Flowers

I was walking back to the house for lunch when I came across these two boys at our school practicing their math. Flowers, sticks and a small piece of chalk created an opportunity for learning. I am always amazed to see examples of kids loving school and loving a chance for an education. And they're having fun doing it in such a simple way.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Hands Can!!!

The kids love art projects so when I suggested they trace their hands and make a picture holding something they like in their hands, they jumped right in. What fun they had cutting and tearing paper for dinosaurs, flowers and rockets.

Then Claude decided to try something else and made a kite. He had the paper and needed to go outside to find sticks and string. Heading towards the farm he found what he needed. His hands held his kite as he ran around the basketball court. Yeah for being creative.