July 2: NEVER AGAIN CO-OPS – Abaharaniramahoro “Those Who Strive for Peace”; Inyabutatusabana “Three Peoples Unite”; Ruganeheza “Taking the Nation to a Better Future”; Twiyubake “Let Us Build Ourselves”; Twisungane “Supporting Each Other”
We started off the day by visiting Twisungane’s gorgeous new land, donated by a World Dance supporter, located just beyond rows and rows of banana trees. The Twisungane leader, Balancilla, was with us and shared how big of a difference this land will make in the lives of her Cooperative members.
After stopping every few steps to rid ourselves of the countless stickers and burrs that clung to our pants for dear life, we made it back to the van. Our next stop was to a big meeting hall, where 5 of the 7 Never Again Cooperatives were awaiting us.
We danced, introduced ourselves, listened to the leaders speak, and were presented with a huge, overflowing basket of fruit which Genevieve (unsuccessfully) tried to balance on her head. Janet delivered a memorable speech, touching upon the progress and visions of each of the 5 Cooperatives before us, stressing what a privilege it is to work with the extraordinary Never Again Fellowship. Never Again is made up of members from the 3 previously warring ethnic groups (Hutu, Tutsi and Twa) who have forgiven each other and now live side by side every day for the sake of survival.
The Twiyubake Cooperative is home to talented seamstresses and artisans, so the last part of the gathering was devoted to purchasing beautiful handcrafts of all kinds! Necklaces, bracelets, baskets, paintings, handbags… oh my!
Next, came the highlight of the day thus far: the delivery of Twisungane’s new cow, Buster Posey! Donated by the Buckley Family of San Francisco, and named for the SF Giant’s sweetheart of a catcher Buster Posey, this full grown-pregnant cow was a BEAUTY! Standing udder (get it?) the cool shade of a tree, “Posey” calmly grazed and looked on as we all danced and cheered around her. We even gave some of the kids Posey jerseys in the spirit of this wonderful occasion!
We ended our time with more dancing, featuring a young boy who whipped out the moonwalk and other famous Michael Jackson moves.
Hanging out the van, waving goodbye, we departed for the Icyerecyezo Cooperative. With only a short amount of time to spend there, we made the best of it through MORE dancing, singing, and connecting with the people. We even saw their pigs and beehives!
Finally, we made our way to the last stop of the day: Nyamirama Secondary School.
Nyamirama is the school that has eagerly agreed to participate in a sister school program with one in Santa Barbara. One of our students, Peninah (sponsored by World Dancer Christy Morse) studies there.
Armed with soccer balls and Frisbees, we arrived at the school and got out of the van. It was GAME TIME!
Danna and Olga each initiated mean games a Frisbee tossing while Brett, Jeremy Bryan, and Katrina tried their best to hold their own in a soccer match.
Afterwards, the students put their massive sound system to good use and we had ourselves one wicked dance party. They performed for us, we performed for them… even the Headmaster joined in!
We concluded the evening with a sit down meeting with the Headmaster and Director of Studies to discuss the detail about this new sister school relationship. Neither side could have been more excited or open to see where this opportunity will go!
As soon as we thought all the fun from the day was over, our van ran out of gas on the drive back. But have no fear, without breaking calm, Justin hopped on the back of a moto and went to get a gallon of gas. We made good use of the time by having a mini concert in the dark for the people walking by.
Soon enough, we were back on the road and headed to home for the night.
View photos from some of the travelers here: https://www.facebook.com/WorldDanceForHumanity/