Laura in Rwanda

Laura is a senior journalism major in Meadows School of the Arts with minors in art history, photography and human rights. In August 2009 she is participating in the Human Rights Education Program trip to Rwanda, where the group will visit sites including the Nyarubuye Genocide Memorial and Urukundo Home for Children.

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Countdown to Rwanda

Here I am: one day before my long-awaited trip to Rwanda.

This is a trip that I have wanted to take ever since I wrote the paper that precedes this entry. About a year and a half ago, when I found out that Dr. Halperin actually was leading a group on a trip to Rwanda, I knew that I had to go. I waited for the trip with extreme enthusiasm – harassing Dr. Halperin for the release of our itinerary, frequently pestering our great travel agent, Lewis Gibbons, with question after question – and now I’m here.

This past week has gone by so incredibly fast. Amid packing, frantic trips to R.E.I. and working my way through our lengthy list of recommended readings, I did manage to meet up with Peter Nelson and his wife, Jane, for lunch. Peter and his wife are involved in a group called The Halftime Group. This group serves individuals, primarily established executives, who are seeking something more significant in their lives.

Back in March, Jane organized a Halftime Group on a mission trip to Rwanda. While in Rwanda, Jane, Peter and their group partnered with Bishop John Rucyahana of the Sonrise School to assist in processing children so that they may enter the school. Jane created a video documenting her trip.

Jane and Peter have been to Africa a combined total of nine times and were a wealth of knowledge. Like most others I have talked to who have traveled to Rwanda, they spoke of the country and the people most highly. As my aunt, who has also visited, said in a recent e-mail to me, “it is a beautiful country where terrible things happened.”

In less than ten hours, I’ll be aboard my first flight – a ten-hour jaunt from Los Angeles to London. My boyfriend and I will meet up with Dr. Halperin and most of the rest of the group there before we fly to Nairobi and then, finally, Kigali.

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