The Beauty of Community

Tuesday, February 12 – Kigali, Rwanda

“I live my life in widening circles

That reach out across the world.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

Today was such a great day! After touring the Wellspring Academy and meeting students yesterday, today we had the privilege of seeing Wellspring’s ever-widening circles beyond the Academy. After hearing about the vision of the School Development Program (SDP) implemented by Wellspring some years ago, we got into vehicles and headed out to various schools to see the SDP in action. My particular group travelled to Gikomero School located about 45 minutes away from Wellspring’s headquarters, a school of close to 2,000 students from primary to secondary.

As I reflect on our time at the school, three words help define the experience and capture in some way what we were able to see first-hand:

Joy – It is impossible to put into words how humbling it is to step out of the vehicle upon arrival and be greeted with such enthusiasm from so many children. Each child has their story – some are easier while many are difficult, and yet without exception there was an unabated joy that exuded from these wonderful younger human beings. Oh, children do indeed teach adults in many ways!

Passion – There was a deep sense of passion that spanned across the school. It spanned from the Head Teacher talking about Gikomero’s smart classroom, to watching the teachers in action engaging with students, to listening to students’ dreams for the future. We were told that because of this passion, Gikomero is transforming from the worst-performing school to being a model school for others in the area as well as for the government of Rwanda.

Community – We were overwhelmed by the power of seeing community at work. There was a deep sense from everyone that educating a child is not someone’s responsibility, it is everyone’s responsibility. Teachers collaborate to sharpen and equip each other. Parents are now highly involved, bringing assets they have to help the school flourish and are engaged with issues. There is a pastor on site who prays for the students as they begin and end their day. Even the students themselves plant and care for various crops on campus to help make food to eat. It was incredibly inspiring to see how community can make such a massive impact on a school.

With full hearts we headed back to debrief our experiences from all of the schools we visited and left feeling extremely thankful to see God’s favour poured out on such humble, amazing people.