The sheer quantity of food need to feed 500 kids astounds me. When we walk into the kitchen on Wednesday to do our service work, we are assigned to chop vegetables needed to put in the bean sauce for the dinner dish. Four hours later the ten of us finish chopping the small green eggplants, the largest zucchinis I have ever seen in my life, and sorting peanuts. If it takes four hours to chop vegetables for one meal, and these children are fed 3 meals a day, constant work is needed to continue to run a place like ASYV.
Each day here throws me new surprises. This afternoon I stumbled upon a student that was practicing guitar alone. He was a beginner, having picked up the instrument just two days earlier. He welcomed me to grab another guitar and “jam” with him. With a limited knowledge of the instrument, I started to teach him the only song I knew. I was overwhelmed by his curiosity and tenacity. He immediately reached for his notebook to write down the chords and strumming pattern. The student, my age, was an impressively fast learner and we quickly formed a relationship through music. Later that day, after we met the Recruitment Team at the Student Resource Center, I noticed an article on the wall from a newspaper describing an ASYV student with a very troubled past who was juggling preparing for his national exam and, in addition to other intense personal challenges, taking care of his sick grandmother. The name and picture matched the student I met just an hour earlier. The remarkable thing is that each student has a similar story. I have found it difficult to connect the atrocious recent history of Rwanda with the students of the village because of how beautiful of a place ASYV is. There is a strong and intended atmosphere here that is supportive, optimistic, and promotes self-confidence.