Kirkcaldy High School Rwanda Links

Just another – Fife site

Reflections on Rwanda 2019



Most concern for the health and well-being of our drivers.

So this trip has definitely changed me, without a doubt. I can’t really explain how but I 100% feel more grown up. In some forms more independent, but my teamwork skills have grown as well, and I feel more confident with my self and my ideas.

This trip has definitely been a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m glad I took it. Every single person we have met and interacted with has been more than welcoming and meeting all these people has been an experience and a half. Seeing them all smile even though they’ve probably not got much to smile about. It’s also such an amazing experience hearing wee kids shouting “muzungu” (white people) and waving with a smile reaching ear to ear.

This country and culture is beyond beautiful and we can all learn a lot from it, and after learning about the genocide 1994, there is a lesson in that too. Like forgiving and forgetting, because if u don’t, the problem will never end and not to hold grudges and seek revenge on those who have done you bad. Because after you do, you’re just as bad.

And to anyone who has the slightest feeling that this trip is for them, go for it, because you’ll regret it if you don’t. If you’re not to sure but want to learn more, slip and application in and go ask one of the teachers about it, and if it’s not for you just say, and if it is, well, your application is already in.


Most likely to get involved without any persuasion.

I can’t even begin to explain how my time in Rwanda has affected me so far. I know people say that traveling changes you and I never believed in it much however I’ll be leaving here tonight and bringing home very many valuable lessons on the way. First of all I can’t get over how welcoming the people are. It’s something you aren’t really used it in Scotland, for people to just walk up and hug you or hold your hand as if you have been friends forever. Secondly, exploring a new culture has been so rewarding as I’ve learned many new things I just can’t wait to share with home, especially the racing game called “agati” which I’m sure someone else has wrote about as we all enjoyed it loads. The biggest thing I can take away from this trip is the lesson of forgiveness. It’s insane to see how after the genocide this community continues to blossom and help one another. When I get back I certainly want to be putting forgiveness into practice so that I can move on in my life from past events that affected me. I am beyond great full for my lessons and experiences learned here. Rwanda, you will be missed – Dominika x


Most likely to become fluent in Kinyarwandan in minutes.

I was reluctant about coming to Rwanda, with so much going on. But these past two weeks have truly taught me so much about who I am as a person and about the world around me.

My favourite part of Rwanda is definitely the people; they are soo welcoming. I have fallen in love with greeting everybody, everywhere I go. With hugs, high fives and handshakes.

Sitting at the front of the bus when travelling has gave me a perfect chance to practice my Kinyarwanda with Zaynah and the bus drivers. The language is so beautiful and the drivers have been really helpful with learning it.

In my time at the partnership school here and at the street kids projects, I got to participate in various sports such as “agati” which was extremely enjoyable and one of my favourite things about Rwanda. Alongside dancing, which has been a lot of fun – everyone participates in Rwanda and nobody is shy.

Through coming to terms with how the Rwandans forgave so easily for the genocide – it has taught me a lot about forgiveness. I will try and implement this into my own life by forgiving those around me more easily.

I will always have Rwanda in my heart and cannot wait to return in 2021!!


Most likely to be miss-aged.

During my time in Rwanda many thoughts and feelings have come across my mind.  To start with, the street kids projects we went to in the first week showed me how caring and nurturing the teams are at these places such as David has helped these kids back into a happy life and has also encouraged them to be better.  This determination to get children back into education has made me understand how lucky these kids are to have David and comfort international to help them.

The Genocide memorials has completely changed the way I see the world as so many people had been butchered in such a short time, the many pictures I saw were horrifying and the many mass graves I’ve seen which has thousands of people within scared me and made me think about how the country is trying to rebuild its economy but not forgetting what happened 25 years ago.

Groupe Scolaire Bumbogo has been a different experience as each class I walk into greets me very formally, it was very sweet and to see all these kids enjoying school and being taught with barely any resources was fascinating and brilliant.  The determination of the teachers to make sure that these children have a better future is astonishing.  They loved to ask a lot of questions, some a bit more personal but they were all respectful and kind towards us all.

This trip has caused me to think more of how these countries recover from terrible events and how they cooperate and forgive those that done those atrocities, I have more of an understanding about The Genocide and how many innocent souls were slaughtered. I will make sure to forgive others for what they’ve done and I will keep working hard.  Their love and kindness towards every member of the KHS team will always be remembered and cherished by all of us.


Most likely to topple a parasol.

Rwanda – Land of a Thousand Hills

Rwanda is also the land of a Thousand emotional ups and downs it would seem for our KHS group. One minute, we can be singing and dancing, the next we are remembering those impacted by the horrific events of the genocide. Rwanda does not shy away from these atrocities, but instead learns lessons on how to move forward as one United people.

We have a similar ethos in learning in our own school community. How can we overcome barriers, differences and difficulties in backgrounds to all achieve our best? We have learned many things in a short time here in Rwanda that we hope to implement in our own way.

Key thoughts I am taking away on the flight to chilly Scotland are forgiveness, joy and hope. These are words we hear over and over, from the busy built up city to the dusty trails in the mountains. Many of the Rwandan people put their faith in to God. I am not a religious person, instead I see this hope and joy in people.

I hope that our bairns come back and share the stories of Rwandan orphans, street kids, widows, poverty stricken families with Kirkcaldy. I hope that maybe, we can learn this act of forgiveness and that maybe we can focus on the important things in life like family and friendship and all the joy those two things bring.

I hope that I can learn to let the little niggles go, and learn to switch off more. This can help me see the little acts of joy taking place around me.

Today, we helped as first responders to a road accident; the joy here was KHS pupils offering up chocolate and water and back packs to hold up a fractured leg. Their parents should be especially proud of their humanity today.

My joy has come from Kirkcaldy High School pupils playing, singing, bickering, competing, pushing themselves, facing fears, working together, screeching and all the other chaos that comes with young adults. They have been an absolute credit to Kirkcaldy, and I hope my own wee Kirkcaldy bairn will grow up knowing people like them.


Best student in a crisis.

I truly don’t think words will do justice to all the incredible things I’ve experienced whilst visiting Rwanda. it has been an honour to have been so welcomed by everyone we’ve met here. I cannot begin to explain how truly wonderful the people here are, not only did they truly come together as a group after The Genocide making sure everyone is cared for they managed to forgive, forget and move on as a whole.

i think since being here I’ve learned to not hold on to the negative things in my past but to use them as a way to move forward and change for the better as a person. I’ve also learned to be more grateful for everything I have, I’m so spoilt compared to the people here. I have so many wonderful things in my life that I feel I take for granted.

My favourite thing about being here has been working with the kids, being someone who wants to work with children I think my time here has made me realise how happy I am with my career choice. whilst visiting different street kids projects, the school and other places children based I have met so many wonderful children. one baby girl in particular Ariella who is three months old was truly adorable, I love spending time with her and seeing her giggle.


Most likely to swindle someone out of biscuits playing cards.

I think that going through this unique experience of a 2 week trip in Rwanda has left me with a lot of new things learned and a lot to think about.

One thing I noticed most is how welcoming and warm everyone is to each other no matter of disability, race or gender. This encourages everyone to jump out their comfort zone and try new things, whether it’s public speaking, performing in front of a crowd or even just meeting new people. This has taught me to always push the limits and not look back.

Also the joy of knowing that what I was doing was helping other people in whatever way I could, brought more happiness to me on the inside as I could see a smile put on a child from my doing, it was absolutely amazing to be able to build relationships and connections with all the amazing people I’ve met across the way and I will never forget the journey with them. Helping kids forget about their unfortunate circumstances through dance, sports and games means so much that I can put my skills to use to benefit a much greater cause.

I think one of the most eye opening sum of moments has to be the multiple visits to the different genocide memorials. Each one of them had a little something that was more hard to take in each time. Seeing the brutal things that happened to the children really made me step back because of the fact that children are perceived as the symbol of innocence really puts into Perspective how young a lot of the victims really were but that’s also carries on to the fact of how forgiveness has been taught across the years and how strongly implemented it has been put into place that I think there is a lot to learn from that and how revenge is not the answer.

In conclusion I am leaving Rwanda with an improved way of thinking towards all sorts of situations and realising how little they have but never fail to smile will definitely stick with me on not taking things for granted. I have learned a lot and even now I am still processing a lot but for sure I will have plenty of stories to take back.


Most likely to push herself out of comfort zone.

I feel that from being in Rwanda I have learned a lot about myself. I have realised I don’t need to worry about what people are thinking of me all the time, I can do anything no matter what people think of me. I now also feel like I am more confident after being brought out my comfort zone and seeing that people in Rwanda expect you to get up and dance. This has made me more able to just go with it and challenge myself. I have also seen that Rwanda as a country is very beautiful and the culture is so different compared to Scotland.

After meeting many Rwandan people over the two weeks here I have learned that many people aren’t lucky enough to have clean food or water which is terrible as everyone has the right to clean food and water, but even if they are in a lot of poverty they always have a smile on their face when they see muzungos. They just get on with their lives and don’t moan about the poverty they’re in, unlike in Scotland where many people will complain about the things they lack. In Scotland we have a very different standard of living and take things for granted. We also have many more opportunities than in Rwanda. So many people get things given to them without effort but yet don’t seem grateful and expect more. In Rwanda people don’t expect a lot so they are happy with what they have and are always very happy for little things.

They also showed that forgiveness is a big part of Rwandan culture after The Genocide. many people don’t want revenge they want to remember their loved ones in peace, which I think many people in Scotland could definitely use. I think it’s amazing how people can forgive the killers of their loved ones even after knowing the cause of their death too. I think I will definitely take this as a lesson to remember that forgiveness is important even though I am forgiving normally I know many people could use this. Also people in Rwanda are very respectful of others, they love to make small talk and hug you. They also love to smile which has made me want to be a smilier person as I often don’t smile a lot, not because I am unhappy but because I am perhaps worrying what people may think of me or being anxious about some other thing in my mind.

I feel as though this has changed me as a person as I now feel as though it doesn’t matter what people think of me. People in Rwanda definitely proved this by just doing what they like and not being afraid. I will definitely be more grateful for the things I have, even if I think others have it better than me people in Rwanda have it so much worse and are so happy with what they’ve got.

My favourite part were all the street kids projects at Batsinda, Gazanze and Nybasindu. I enjoyed meeting all the children and finding out where they came from and how their lives have changed for the better. I also loved teaching some of my dancing even though it was a challenge and difficult for me.


Best New Artist in Rwanda.

Prior to coming here nearly two weeks ago, the only words I would have every connected with Rwanda were “Genocide” and “Comic Relief”.  My vision of this country was as a dry, dusty, sad place where law and order don’t exist and violence is the order of the day.  Modern Rwanda could not be further from that.  This is a progressive, peaceful and forward-looking country that knows pain and suffering and is determined that no-one else should be put in that position.  Yes, extreme poverty exists here but that also exists in so-called “developed” countries like ours.  Here there are many, many initiatives to try and solve that problem.  Many of them way further forward and ambitions than any I’ve seen back home.  The countryside is beautiful, the animals incredible, the culture superb, and the food munchable but most of all, Rwanda must be defined by the people.  I have had more hugs and more handshakes (some mildly complex) here than I’ve every had.  People here are naturally gregarious and have no qualms about giving you a thorough grilling to find out who you really are.  I like that very much indeed.

I can see that Rwanda has a bright future and to a great extent, I feel it is progressing in a far more positive way that the UK, the USA or any of the other countries that wee traditionally see as doing rather well.  I look forward to my next visit to this wonderful, wonderful place.

I want to say finally a huge thank you to all the wonderful members of the KHS Rwanda 2019 team.  You have all been amazing in your own individual ways.  You have made me laugh and you’ve made me think and you’ve all supported me to explore the ins and outs of this whole experience and I needed to. You are all a fabulosa bunch of stars.

Murakoze cyane cyane cyane Rwanda!  See you again soon.


Most likely to smile.

I started off this trip not knowing what to expect. I found myself a little nervous before coming as I didn’t really know much about Rwanda or what this whole experience would involve. It’s fair to say this trip has included negatives but very many positives.

My favourite thing about this trip was probably going to our partner school, Group Scolaire Bumbogo. I really enjoyed seeing how the lessons were taught and the differences between our school and theirs. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the pupils and learning things about them and telling them about Scotland.

There has been sad moments on the trip. Going to the genocide memorial sites and museums was really tough although it was enlightening to see how it has changed the people of Rwanda today.

I think I have came away from this trip with a different mindset than what I came with. It has made me realise how lucky each of us are for having basic things and also for having a loving family as some of the kids at the street kids programmes were abandoned by their families. I am very grateful I got the chance to have this life changing experience.


Most likely to face-plant (thanks for the change of words to face-plant Dr M!)

As I sit here writing this on this beautiful evening I cannot help but feel a huge amount of inner peace and pride about how KHS have gone to the southern hemisphere and really left its mark upon Rwanda.

Our team is eclectic for sure…we have some individuals who have been very outgoing and those more reserved. But they have really pushed themselves to the limits with the trip. They have shown themselves as kind and compassionate individuals who work well in a team and work incredibly well in a crisis, as today’s first aid at the roadside showed.

I’ve always thoughts trips like these are three-fold; there’s the before, the during and the after. The trip is important and central to this process but I do believe the ‘after’ is the most important. I cannot wait to hear how these fine young people share the stories of Rwanda’s people; their struggles, their joy and their massive focus on forgiveness and reconciliation. I have no doubt that many of them will find they now have a passion and a ‘voice’ they didn’t know was actually there, this is such a beautiful thing to see happen in young people.

My 6th trip to Rwanda has taught me a lot, every trip does; from staying calm and collected during the multiple catch and release of cockroaches on my balcony (I did this myself, just for the record) to learning to let go and dance however awkwardly I can with my problematic leg (this would NEVER have been an option before my operation last year so I’m so thankful for this). Rwanda’s spirit always stays true to giving me a slight wake up call though, back in Scotland and the UK I think we do have a lot to learn from Rwanda’s ethos of harmony, peace and forgiveness. It’s not always practised that well back home…

My final thought? I could not be more delighted to be handing over the baton for our next trip to Gillian and Paul. It’s been an absolute dream to work with the past two weeks and I cannot wait to see what the group does to follow up this trip and to start the ball rolling for the next one. I told them once they had been here this country would get under their skin, I don’t think I was wrong…murakoze cyane you two!


Most likely to be pleated.

Overall this trip has changed my life in many ways. Firstly it has made me see how amazing Rwanda is as a country, and how developed their population is. I must say I have never seen so many female builders, it was truly amazing to see how everyone is an equal and that the gender doesn’t matter as much here as it may back home in Scotland.

My favourite part of this trip was the Batsinda street kids project. I loved how excited the children were to see a ‘umuzungo’. I loved driving past the children and then shouting it into the bus windows, and also leading some Kinyarwanda with Esha.

It was great to visit GS Bumbogo for a few days and see all of the pupils. It was good to sit into their classes and see the different styles of teaching. However it was not fun when you were constantly stared at as it did feel uncomfortable at times. I think our school can learn so much from their school and I hope it does.

On this trip o have learned not to take anything for granted, after meeting the genocide survivors especially. I saw how they possibly watched family and friends die and how forgiving and happy they are now. So I hope that I will get better at forgiveness in the future.

Top tip for the next team – take Nutella, and use Morgan in Africa to learn basic words. Such as ‘ubururu’.

Murakoze cyane!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Report a Glow concern
Cookie policy  Privacy policy

Glow Blogs uses cookies to enhance your experience on our service. By using this service or closing this message you consent to our use of those cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy.