Today is the official end of the first trimester here in Rwanda. Many of our students finished their end-of-term exams a week ago and have been eagerly awaiting their bulletins (report cards). Recently, as we have been doing student visitations at various schools, it has been apparent that our students were trying to finish well with their exams. The students at boarding schools remained at school this week even after finishing their exams to give the teachers time to grade them and produce their bulletin for them to carry home. We expect a flurry of students to visit our office next Monday to give us a copy of their bulletins!
This is the shortest term of the three in a school year as it begins in late January and finishes in time for all of the students to be home for the week of mourning (remembering the genocide against the Tutsi tribe that occurred in 1994) from April 7-14. I have not been here during the week of mourning before and will see what the week holds, but generally everything closes on April 7 and 14 and in the days between businesses are only open in the morning, allowing for special services and time spent with family in the afternoons and evenings. It will be a solemn time of remembering this difficult part of the history in this country but also celebrating the reconciliation and restoration that has happened since. I’ll share more in the next update!
We will also be hosting a graduation ceremony on April 5 to celebrate our five students who completed secondary school last year and our four students who completed vocational school training. I look forward to sharing more about this celebration next month, too!
See below for a student highlight and recent video!
Thanks for your support,
STUDENT HIGHLIGHT: MASENGESHO DAVID
Masengesho David is in Secondary 5 and studying Electricity at a school about an hour and a half southwest of Kigali. When we met with David before the start of this new school year, he told us that he was enjoying being at boarding school and was proud of himself for how well he was doing in his classes; he could focus and not worry about paying school fees thanks to Global Capacity’s sponsorship. However, he also told us how he struggled last year with sickness (malaria) while at school and had to return home several times to recuperate. This creates a difficult situation for students at boarding school as they miss classes and have to pay for their transportation home and back to school. David’s family struggles to pay their rent without these added expenses for transport when David became sick. He is one of the older children in his family and, thankfully, was able to find an internship to help earn some money during the long break from school. His mama is extremely hard-working but has had some health issues herself and has not been able to find on-going work. While David enjoys being at boarding school, partly because he consistently gets three meals a day, it also makes it difficult to return home where his family often eats only one meal a day. However, when he is away at school, he worries about how his family is doing.
Prior to this new school year, we tried to find a different school for David that would be closer to home in case he continued to become sick and could have reduced transport costs. Unfortunately, we could not find another school that would do well in David’s section of Electricity, so we enrolled him at the same school as the previous year, praying that he would have less sickness this year.
We visited David at his school this past Saturday and are grateful that he is doing so well. He told us that the school is doing well in taking care of them and David has not been sick at all during this first trimester! What a good report! I’m so grateful that he has remained healthy and is thriving at this school and hope this continues for the remainder of the year!
Bosco (Global Capacity's Program Assistant) and I have attended a few parents' meetings at schools our students attend. These are not especially fun (sitting for ~4 hours on a skinny wooden bench), but they have been helpful for me in learning more about the education system in Rwanda in general and the ways that our schools operate specifically. And, sometimes, they have a little bit of pre-meeting entertainment (see the video below!). :)