Today we leave Gashora better than we found it, all of our
hearts are full of love for these people and we are wiser than we were
when we left Washington State. A lot can happen in a short amount of
time, and I am proud and relieved to say that our primary projects are complete
and the finishing touches on the eco-latrine will be made by the skilled hands
of a Rwandan brick laying team. I have gotten to know three young
men from Rwanda, Cedric, William and Rogers, that will be influential
agriculturalists in this country as their skills and careers evolve, which will
be beautiful to witness. We have learned much from them about what
works in this country, the challenges they face, and what can be done to
improve food security and food safety here.
Our interns have been impressive. This is an extremely
bright, hard working team of young people that have made me proud to have them
represent WSU and our college. This has not been an easy experience.
The problem solving opportunities have been constant as we figured out
ways to work around tool and supply limitations, and lack of resources.
We have faced communication challenges with our partners here due to
language barriers that slowed things down and/or headed us down the wrong
direction. We navigated personality clashes that happen when a diverse
group of people work together on a short time-line to accomplish lofty goals.
We have had moments of tremendous frustration and have celebrated many
amazing moments of success. It would be impossible for me to create the
richness of this experience in a classroom. What I have been truly
humbled by most in this experience is how little it takes in some circumstances
to do something highly influential. In the US, our technology is so
advanced that I struggle to create opportunities for students to realize that
with intention, commitment and effort they can make a difference in the world.
As the women of COVAGA sang and celebrated with us yesterday, I hoped
with all my heart that each of the interns felt the power of influence through
contribution. We are well loved and much appreciated by this group.
The laughing, singing, hugging, and gifting that occurred was beautiful
to experience. Afterwards, we went to each project we had worked on at
the site and the interns explained to the COVAGA members what the goal of each
project was and hope it worked. Lama accused me of being a "proud
mama" and it was true. To me, the purpose for creating this trip
manifested in those moments. I felt the torch pass from me and Colleen to
the next generation of influential leaders in agriculture as our students
stood in a place of empowering people to improve their quality of life through
innovation and education. Nicely done, interns! Thank you for you
time, your effort, you dedication and determination. I am very proud of
you, and it has been an honor to work beside you in Rwanda.
Day 13- Last Work Day
After finishing the dehydrator we
watched the COVAGA CO-OP get an award called the World Award for Sustainability
from the Energy Globe organization. The woman then went on to thank us for all
our help and we concluded the work at COVAGA with a 15-minute dance while the
ladies sang for us. We then toured the women around the land to show them the
proper care and use of all the projects.
site we completed the dehydrator, spiral garden, compost, and worm compost. The
Eco-Latrine is almost done and just needs the ramp completed and the door. The
contractors will do this after we depart. We are so lucky to have gotten all we
planned for done, and even a little more. It was a great day to end our work
here in Gashora.