Letters from the Heart of Africa

A few years ago I volunteered in Rwanda. This serialised post is based on letters and emails sent home to friends during my six months there, and from notes in my personal journal.

Each blog post is aimed to be a five minute read and a self-contained piece of narrative. A table of contents is provided below.

My writing from Rwanda was intended from the outset only to be a private correspondence to friends, a disentanglement of thoughts from a huge thought-knot, string by string.

I gained a privileged insight in to a recovering nation and writing made the experience easier to process – it was as if by hitting the keys on this laptop, the unresolved, restless mind in flux, finds something to earth itself on. Or something like that.

In hindsight, this is also the story of my sojourn, an average guy from London who found himself working as a volunteer for a charity in the heart of Africa.

Those intense 6 months are filled with memories: of inspirational friends, resilient and hopeful, many of whom were orphaned in the genocide but rose phoenix-like in to wonderful young people to work for the common good; of a beautiful land of rolling hills and shimmering lakes; of the adventure of climbing smouldering volcanoes and trekking across verdant jungles where rare mountain gorillas just knuckle-walked past us; of how we set up and recorded the centre’s first audio guide system and helped co-ordinate a series of workshops for sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Rwanda has moved forward in many ways since I was there. Skyscrapers, shopping malls, fast broadband and ATMs have appeared in Kigali, but somethings fortunately haven’t changed: her hopeful countenance, her collective memory, her resilience, her healing wounds, her stunning beauty and peace still endure.

This blog is dedicated to the people of Rwanda who continue to live with hope and love in their hearts. May the healing continue.
 ***

Table of Contents:

1.The flight to Rwanda, the contraband and spotless Kigali      

2. A letter from the heart of Africa – settling in fine

3. Getting to work, Rwanda style

3.  Peter and the Soup Confusion

4. A special place of remembrance, hope and beauty

5. Help! I’m a businessman going to work in an NGO in Africa

6. The importance of memory

7. We Need To Talk About Why People Kill Each Other

8. Stolen socks and missing underpants 

9. Banana-leaf balls, making friends and a bitter falling out

10. The Shimmering Lake in the Shadow of the Volcano

11. The Chatter of the Raindrops

12. My friends, the survivors

13. Politicians and popstars

14. The Spotless City

15. Leisure pursuits: tennis, jogging and painful stomach-flattening (please do not try this at home)

16. The Day When Time Slowed Down

17. A Festering Malice: The Grenade Attack

18. The Resilience of Hope

19. A weekend in the rural beauty of Rwanda

 

Further posts will be added to this list during the course of November 2017 to June 2018, so watch this space!

 ***

25 Comments Add yours

  1. dave ply says:

    Just read Peter and the soup confusion, looking forward to more.

    Like

    1. heyloons says:

      Thanks a lot Dave. There will be many post on the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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