Today we visited the Wellspring office and sat down for a heartfelt retelling of our early days as told in the way only Richard and Jeff can do. This story is always better when it comes from the source! They described the conversations they had with Rwandans back in the day about everything that could and should be done to rebuild this beautiful country after the breakdown of humanity in 1994. These conversations kept circling around the need for Christian values based education and many ways to go about making this a reality, somehow! From there the idea of the Wellspring Academy was born along with concept of training teachers in the public schools in better methods of educating young Rwandans.
Over the past 14 years the Wellspring Academy has grown from a three grade primary school to a full Foundations (Kindergarten) to Grade 12 school that is highly regarded in Kigali. The training of teachers has grown from a handful of teachers in a few public schools to our fully functioning School Development program that is training teachers in over 125 public schools both here in the district of Gasabo and also the western district of Rubavu that we are just getting started in.
What better way to see our work in action that to take a tour of Wellspring Academy with Joel Olsen, Education Advisor and Technical Consultant and part of the Wellspring family. We got to see a couple songs sung by the adorable students in a Foundations (Kindergarten) class and also a student led physics lesson involving a handmade toy helicopter. We then sat down with about ten grade 11 students for a meet & greet where they shared their hopes and dreams for post graduation. They even asked us a few questions, one of which was about the meaning of a tattoo. You can ask Frank about ‘Ik Ben Vrij’ sometime. It really is a conversation starter!
We then went and had a traditional Rwandan lunch at CLA’s cafeteria then proceeded back to the Wellspring Foundation offices for a rundown of a couple programs that we are a part of. The Abundant Leaders Institute (ALI) is a 2-year professional development program for head teachers and Principals. RENCP is a collaborative program for many NGOs to come together in a combined effort in communication with the Ministry of Education. Both programs are key to our long-term plans in Rwanda and other countries in East Africa.
We ended our day with a delicious meal hosted by Richard and Ericka Taylor, prepared by both Ericka and Amy Olsen. We enjoyed our dinner of Butter Chicken while a few hundred bats enjoyed their dinner of figs from the trees about 15 feet away. It made for an entertaining meal. I won’t post any pictures of them as ‘some’ of our team referred to them as flying rats…
Tomorrow we get to see one of the almost 50 public schools here in Gasabo that we have been working in for a few years already!