Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 5 -> Planting trees and EPs

               Today was the first school day on the Village! We woke up and went to breakfast to see the students go to school. After breakfast, we went to sign up for what is known at the Village as “EPs” which stands for enrichment programs. Some of the enrichment programming available at the Village is traditional art, modern art, carpentry, traditional dance, movie-making and photography, piano, sewing and others. Each Tufts student chose an EP of interest to participate in. After signing up for EPs, we met two of the Village’s long-term volunteers who explained our service project to us. Our service project for the week is planting trees around the Village to provide an area for the students to relax in the shade as well as building benches around the center of the Village.
Although we knew this was going to require a lot of manual labor, Trevor and Jared got us excited and motivated to start working! From there, we walked up to the center of the Village, and started to plant the trees. After a few hours of hard work, we had our second group discussion about the importance of giving your time versus giving your money. It was interesting to hear everyone’s different opinions about the subject. The second part of the discussion addressed the issue of the relation between Israel and Rwanda. The text implied that people who have gone through an experience have a burden to help those who are going through the same thing. We discussed whether Israel had an obligation to help combat the genocide in Rwanda and also whether they had more of a burden to help than other countries around the world. The discussion carried over to the rest of our service for the day, where small groups continued to plant trees (avocado trees this time) in front of each of the family homes.
After our service for the day, we had lunch with the students and then went back to our guest house to sort the shoes that we brought to the Village. The shoe committee did a great job and when we sorted the shoes we found that we had collected around 400 pairs! Soon after sorting the shoes, we all went to our EPs for the day. At carpentry, the kids finished building the fence on the nature trail behind the school. It was so fun to be able to just walk with the students, talk with them, and sing American songs that they knew like Baby and One Time by Justin Bieber. The night was complete with thorns and roses like always. Overall a great day!

- Kara and Sharonne, 5/30/11

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