My family of 16 girls

This past year I spent my time at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda as a 2014 Fellow. You may wonder what it exactly means to be a fellow. For many, this idea of volunteering in “Africa” is an escape from the “real world.” Some may even think that I took a year off. Wrong. Having worked […]

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Yesterday was the first Guardian’s Day at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. All parents and family members were invited to spend the day at ASYV with their children. The day started off at 10:00am, with about 500 people trickling into the dining hall ready to learn about ASYV and its mission. Looking around the hall, I was elated to […]

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At the end of every year, the new students at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) have a picnic. It is a day for the whole Icyizere (hope) grade to get together and have fun at Lake Mugesera, near ASYV. But what was meant to be a day of fun for the ASYV enrichment year (first year) grade, […]

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Dear Prague, Exactly one year ago, I left you for a new adventure, a new life. I packed my bags and boarded a plane headed to South Africa with the destination unknown.  You were the first place that I truly felt at home after leaving my small hometown in Ohio. You were special. You meant something […]

Sri Lankan male leopard

Located just off the coast of India, Sri Lanka is a mecca for wildlife resembling scenes from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. You would never expect this small island to have an abundance of wildlife, but it is considered to be one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. According to the Convention of Biological Diversity, Sri […]

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This April marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda where one million people were murdered in a matter of 100 days.  For many ASYV students, it is a traumatic part of their past and they are still healing from the terror that struck their nation, and the world. Even for the […]

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There is something romantic about grocery shopping in covered markets. The vendors, the chaotic arrangement of vegetables, and the community feel makes shopping an interesting experience. Whenever I travel or live abroad, I am always drawn to local markets. Perhaps because it is just that, local. I also feel a greater connection to my food when […]

Family that received support from ASYV

Last Tuesday marked the first day of tikkun olam for Senior 4 (second year) students at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. Tikkun olam, or “repairing the world” in Hebrew, is a core component of the Village. The students volunteer not only to help their community, but also to heal their hearts.

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For the past ten years I have lived a nomadic lifestyle, moving from one place to the next. Although each place has been unique and far from my origin, all have been “home.” One month ago I moved to Rwanda where it will be my home for the next year. I am working at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) […]

War Children's Victims Monument

Brimming with castles, palaces and beautiful architecture, the Czech Republic is truly a magnificent country to explore. Walking on the cobblestone streets of Prague is like being part of a fairy tale, a dream come true. But behind this beautiful façade, you can find a horrible, dark past that once plagued this part of the […]

Akagera National Park

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandhi The primary reason for visiting Rwanda was to participate in the Global Youth Connect program, but I had an equal and compelling desire to visit all Rwanda’s national parks. As an animal lover and […]