It Takes a Village

Wes reflects on visiting the work of Wellspring and how a whole community is being engaged in the life of a school.

On Sunday, after a few days of seeing the work of Wellspring in Kigali, our group packed into two LandCruisers to take the 4 hour drive headed out to Rubavu.   I had my first experience of being behind the wheel, trying to navigate amongst the mass of cars, people and motorcycles, backseat drivers, and Andy's attempts to lose me in the roundabouts. Our trip, up and down at least one half of Rwanda's famous thousand hills,  was an experience!  What struck me was the clean roads and side walks, as it was the day after umaganda, the mandatory cleaning half-day that Danielle spoke of in the earlier blog.  We also saw people walking with hundred-pound loads of produce, wood and other commodities stacked high on their heads, or if they were lucky, on a bike.

On Monday, after a great night in our beachside accommodations on Lake Kivu, we headed to Wellspring's local office in Rubavu, where we would be able to meet all the staff who work hard, and sacrificially,  to develop and support programs in 75 schools in that area.   We were able to hear them speak of the challenges they faced working in these schools, mostly rural, and spread over a large area, and often accessible only by bad roads or by foot.   We then headed out to a nearby school for a visit.  We were able to drive there on a steep side road that had been made passable by a group of parents who had, through a Wellspring parent engagement program, realized making access to the school was an important part of community growth and engagement.  At the school we were able to see a classroom of happy, engaged kids, as well as involved parents.  The parents were there, even at the end of the school year, working on school improvement projects such as weaving blinds to keep the afternoon sun out of the classrooms, as well as constructing foundations for an additional two classrooms to be built soon.  Truly an inspiring day today !  Tomorrow we pack the Hondas, and start the journey.