So Much More than I Dreamed…

Africa has been nothing that I expected.

I  imagined really liking the women but never knew I would fall in love with them this much.


I knew that this experience would be life changing but I didn’t know that that it would not only be changing their lives but mine too. Working with these ladies and hearing their stories has resulted in one of the best weeks of my life…and I’m sure that sounds crazy since being here I haven’t found much food that I enjoy and I am pretty sunburned. It’s funny though…Saturday was the first day that I went without sunscreen and it was also the first day that the sun was out all day.

Yesterday, after going to the Memorial Museum, we went and had lunch at one of the ladies’ house. Surprisingly, we had the best food we have had since being in Rwanda! I am also not a tea drinker but they made us some traditional African tea and it was AMAZING! At the end of the meal, in the African culture, you are supposed to give a little speech to the host to say thank you. So, Kayla, Alicia, and I got up and said a little something to the ladies and to thank them for everything they have done and for welcoming us with open arms. We also brought them a little MJC for them to wear and I have never seen such excitement in all my life. These women have never owned anything new in their ENTIRE lives! We put together a couple outfits for each of them and delivered them in Joey bags, a pretty simple gift but to them we have just brought them “one of the best days of their lives,” as many of them kept telling us.

Being in Africa has been a very humbling experience. Living in America has never seemed like anything special…it is just life (not that I am not grateful, cause I am…very much!) . But being here has taught me that I am a very materialist, selfish, well off individual who takes the things that I have for granted.  I have everything I need to live my everyday life while they are here dreaming about that life. BUT it is through this trip that we are bringing them hope. Hope in change, from where their lives are now to what they could be. I see the hope they have for their families, to be able to properly provide for them and to offer them a better future. I see this hope–through the way they carry themselves, from seeing them more and more confident as each day passes, and seeing how they open up with us a little more each day…and it makes it all the harder to leave!

I wish I could form the words express to you everything that I am feeling. Everything that we have been seeing and experiencing for the past week. If I could bring you all here to see for yourselves, I would!

We also got the chance to snap a few photos with some really cute kids from the neighborhood…and about two seconds after this photo about 100 kids came running over wanting their picture too…it definitely made my day!

I hope that I haven’t jumped around too much! Can’t wait to come back and share so much more about our trip with you guys…so many photos to share too!



yoga_lat_te - May 17, 2012 - 6:18 am

Kiara, your post almost made me cry … thank you so much for sharing … loved the ‘photos, too!

Nicole K. - May 15, 2012 - 5:55 pm

Yes, Africa is definitely life changing-i think of it Everyday-and so will you.
I can’t even imagine the emotions you gals had while visiting the Memorial Museum-what horrors those ladies have been through.
And, yes, i’m sure it put your whole life in perspective. A good thing-cherish it-love it!

Have a safe trip back.
Nicole K.

denise - May 15, 2012 - 5:28 pm

Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with us. I am so proud and honored to support all your hard work! ….and yes….the children are beautiful!

Farrar Lindner - May 15, 2012 - 11:42 am

I am so glad you get to have this experience. My husband went to the Phillipines and realized just how wonderful each of us have it back in the States. Cherish your memories- I will keep you in my prayers and those whose lives you are touching. So proud of Matilda Jane right now!!!

Gran - May 15, 2012 - 7:23 am

One more thing…………if you get to read this and see those BEAUTIFUL smiles on those boys again………..please tell them that those smiles brought joy to my day!!!!!

Gran - May 15, 2012 - 7:21 am

Kiara, you have written such a meaningful post. We are all so blessed and it is too easy to not be thankful each day. Thank you for helping us to remember this. I am so looking forward to more pictures and to hearing more from this chapter of your life.