The Plan & Process

Booked my ticket - my planned arrival into Kigali is on 08.08.08 at 8:00 am. (The number "8" is a very lucky number in Chinese culture and I'm hoping this landing date will reflect the rest of the trip!)

One of the organizations I will be volunteering at is Voices of Rwanda. VOR was established over 3 years ago, by Taylor Krauss, as a way to preserve and document the stories and details of the worse case of genocide in human history. The extensive video archives captured as part of this project are used for educational purposes domestically and internationally.

I will be staying in Taylor's house during my time in Kigali. I'm excited to meet the myriad of interesting and dedicated people living with him. A revolving crew of journalists, photographers, health care professionals and designers use his house as a home base during their various assignments in the area.

My initial plan is to work with Taylor and VOR on filming, editing and transcribing genocide survivor testimonies. However, Taylor informed me that this type of work is pretty intense, to say the least, and not something anyone can do every single day.
I mentioned to Taylor that I enjoy working with kids and being creative and would like to volunteer at an orphanage while in Rwanda. He recalled a place called Gisimba Memorial Center and a woman named, Heather Metcalfe, that had done an art project with the children there recently. Gisimba orphanage, currently houses approximately 200 kids ranging from babies to teens. Ten years ago, almost all were genocide victims, but many of the newer arrivals have been orphaned by AIDS. Because their parents were HIV+, a number of the orphans are also infected.

Through some research, I found an incredibly talented photographer named Kresta King Cutcher Venning, who documented some of these children while she was there a few years ago. After seeing these photos, I really wanted to help out there.  I got in contact with Heather Metcalfe and spoke with her about her experience there, as I planned on volunteering there.

I'm really thrilled for this adventure and thankful to all my friends that have supported and inspired me to do this. I'm not really sure where all this will lead me, but "the journey is the destination" anyways.