Salina Dharamsi was one of six Canadian Youth Ambassadors who travelled to Rwanda this summer to see first hand the difference World Vision is making in the lives of the less fortunate. While in Rwanda, she visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum and participated in the International Youth Forum involving youth leaders from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Canada. Inspired by her adventure abroad, she has shared with the mentorship network photos from her trip and diary entries from her time abroad. She hopes they will inspire other humanitarians to come together to bring further light into the lives of the Rwandese. For more information on the Youth Ambassador Program and how you too can make a difference visit: http://www.worldvision.ca/youth
Funded by World Vision, the well mentioned below is located in an Area Development Project in Gashora, Rwanda. Working in partnership with other organizations, World Vision plans to drill an additional 825 wells that will bring the gift of renewed health and clean water to nearly 500,000 Africans by 2016.
My heart is heavy and my hands are dripping in sweat. I am halfway back from a water pump slouched over you with a canteen of water beside me and a child tucked under my arm. She must be wondering why my body is crumbling under the weight of a single canteen.
As I stare off into the distance I see pails twice the size of mine balanced effortlessly on the heads of children half my stature. I stop to thank God this water is clean but buckle under the reality that every day 900 million people will walk considerable distances for water that is further mobilizing the degradation of their malnourished and poverty affected bodies. I feel a tear drop rush down my face but will put it off as sweat if anyone asks. I promise you, dear diary, to remain courageous and empowered by what I see and feel here in Rwanda. There is no time for tears, this is the time for change.
Caption: Canadian Youth Ambassadors connect with water from a World Vision sponsored well in Gashora, Rwanda.
Well-rooted in Rwanda, World Vision has been working hand in hand with the Rwandese, since the initial catastrophe of 1994, to support child-headed households, women widowed by the genocide, those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and the peace building, reconciliation and healing process at large.
I am on the floor holding my knees tight against the frame of my body feverishly trying to keep my heart from plunging into the crucible of my stomach; filled with sorrow and anger my heart is too restless to remain firmly rooted in my chest. Diary, I am in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center in an exhibit filled with hundreds of pictures of men, women and children who represent but a tiny fraction of the one million Rwandans who were murdered mercilessly 16 years ago here in the country of a thousand hills.
My eyes, filled with tides of tears, have settled on a picture of a young woman in a wedding dress. I can’t help but swell with pain with the thought of future milestones the genocide stripped her of. The wedding anniversaries and baby births her life had in store, whisked away as the world waited. The weight of the world’s inaction sits heavily on my shoulders, and my heart now filled with shame, gives way.
Diary I pray that any present day apathy for the wellbeing of the Rwandese, is out shadowed by a global pursuit to move this nation, humble in size but large in spirit, towards a future worthy of such courageous citizens.