While we were away the blog was written by Callum, Jack, Meave and Shannon (although admittedly there was some editing by myself). This was because it was the pupils who had the biggest story to tell – not least because they were the ones getting grubby and suntanned in fields, whereas I was observing lessons and giving presentations to teachers, which is probably much less interesting to read about. However once we arrived home on Friday I felt that there were a couple of things that had perhaps gone unsaid, and all weekend I wanted to say them. So today when we were talking about a final blog post I said I’d like to do it, and they said that would be fine, so here I am.
You will have noticed from what Callum, Jack, Meave and Shannon wrote while we were away that they were busy all the time. They were working in fields, playing with children, pouring porridge, visiting homes, sitting tests in lessons, and much much more. I am sure that some of this was difficult for them and I am positive that it was tiring – but I didn’t hear a single complaint or negative comment for the whole two weeks we were away. They embraced everything with enthusiasm and energy, and this was wonderful to see and be a part of. They were fantastic ambassadors for the school and the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and I cannot praise them highly enough. Personally, I am most proud of the relationships they formed with the Mihabura pupils; they were so happy to chat and play and fool around that it was like they had always known them. It was genuinely delightful to see. So I mainly wanted to write this to thank them for their commitment and hard work, and to let you all know (because they are too modest to say it themselves) how amazing they are.
I also wanted to let you know how much we all appreciated and enjoyed your comments on our posts (special shout out to our ‘stalker’ Mrs Eddie). We usually read them over breakfast and it was a really positive way start to start the day, which at 6am is quite an achievement. Although we all had a wonderful time in Rwanda we didn’t forget home and we all missed our family and friends, so it was nice to know you hadn’t forgotten us too.
Finally, I was in Rwanda to work with the staff of Mihabura on exchanging ideas about teaching methodologies and to develop the schools’ partnership (which is why there are no pictures of me with a hoe). As well as being full of admiration for Callum, Jack, Meave and Shannon I am also in awe of the fantastic teachers I have met who do such a good job under such difficult circumstances. I have learned a great deal from them and am looking forward to continuing to work with them in the future.
So those are the unsaid things. I am sure that the younger members of Harlaw Team Rwanda 2014 think that this post has been one big “cringe”, but seeing as they were the ones to have cured me of some of my perpetual cynicism then I think it is only fair I should get to embarrass them as revenge.
Lots of love,