The 19th Genocide Memorial Walk & Emotional Literacy
I have been in Rwanda two weeks now. I am staying in a house at OneLove; the place I've stayed before, with Banamungu, Kasia who is teaching massage plus Steve who is helping with Clay Therapy plus playing music with the Rwandese musicians. We attended the Walk for Remembrance on the 7th of April which began at Parliament House and walked for 20mins to the National Stadium. There were thousands of people walking down the closed roads to be at the memorial ceremony.
While we were waiting to start the walk among the thousands of people (majority Rwandese) I noticed an elderly lady, her body and eyes filled with the grief of horror and tragedy of witnessing the massacre of her family and friends. I felt compelled to help her lift this burden and bring a smile to her heart and face. I brought Kasia's attention to her and she felt what I felt. It was so tangible that we both had tears in our eyes and we knew we had to do something to free her. God must have had the same idea as no matter where the crowd moved, she was always close to us. I found her close to me and I extended my hand to her and looked into her eyes.
She took my hand and we connected without words, that moment was filled with so much more than words could express. She smiled and we let go, yet held onto what we had shared, oneness and love. We had to wait for almost three hours, thousands of us packed into a small outside area in very close contact. The three of us were of great interest to everyone, being some of the 20 or so white people, and looking like the hippy I do and smiling at everyone and speaking some Rwandese with them! The elderly lady got tired and sat on the gutter at the side of the road, Kasia and I joined her among a few others. We got pretty bored waiting so we started singing Bob Marley's- One Love, one heart, let's get together and feel alright. People around us started smiling and laughing, then we did a bit of laughter yoga's VERY GOOD VERY GOOD YAY!!!!!
We looked over at the elderly lady, she had a smile from ear to ear, WOHOO!!! We did it! She had shaken off the burden and now had room to stretch and fill her heart with love and laughter. We bought her a wrist bracelet with the slogan "never again" on it. How blessed I felt to be a part of that transformation.
Soon after the walk began and a young man asked if he could hold my hand and walk with me. So black and white joined and we headed off with the survivors of genocide to remember the massacre of 1994 so that it never happens again. Soon after an arm slipped into mine, I turned to look who it was and it was the elderly lady with a smile on her face and spring in her step, eager to embrace life again.
There were so many people at the stadium including the President Paul Kagame. There were speeches and singers and everyone had a candle to light for those that died. There was a big screen that showed the performers and people in the crowd. Guess who ended up with her face up there for all to see Haha!! Towards the end people started to flood with emotions and some were carried away, kicking and screaming with grief, by the counsellors that were wearing fleuro jackets around the stadium.It was very confronting and brought me to tears for all the pain this country has suffered. They are doing their best to move on and to work so hard at it. It takes profound strength and faith to stand up after such a long fall from grace, let alone run to a new future.
These last two days I have been teaching Emotional Literacy to the teachers at a school in the ghetto. There were 28 attending and I taught them how to make resource cards with the children. Each card has a positive and negative emotion on it, either side eg. Sad on one side, happy on the other. They had to remember a time for each and draw how they feel. There were six emotions, the negative had to be thrown out of the body with a sound and gesture and the posture breathed in from God until they filled with the new emotion. They then go on to teach the children how to make their own set of cards so they can use them to transform their emotions from bad to good feeling. We also did laughter Yoga which they love and have so much fun doing. It breaks up the lesson and energizes everyone and connects us all more closely. Today we did ClayTherapy using the sequence called Self-Parenting. It's about identifying in your self the positive qualities of the mother and father archetype and then making them in clay to embody them. It's for teaching the children self-empowerment as there are many orphans or single parents due to Genocide and Aids. Again I feel like it was successful in that it will help many children and give tools for the teachers to help heal the children who are suffering without relief. This weekend Kasia is teaching head and shoulder massage to villagers to help them create an income for themselves and understand the importance of body care and listening to the messages it is giving us.
The next week the two other counsellors, Leah and Anita will arrive and we will head off on the 3 hour journey to the National University in Butare. There we will be teaching Clay Therapy sequences on anger, grief, Self Parenting and my new revenge and forgiveness sequence. I'm not sure how that will go as I've only tried it out on people at work, whom thought it was very good, so I hope it heals not harms.
I'm going to facilitate a laughter Yoga training day so that the 1st Laughter Yoga Club is created in Rwanda. It's such a magic way to lift the spirit and bring wellbeing to the mind and body. When people laugh they let go of all their worries and woes, even if only in the moment. Hahahahha!!!
Love Peace and Joy from Rwanda,
Kimmy, Leah, Kassia, Steve & Anita