October 2011

Founders Day at the Meg Foundation

Not knowing what to expect I woke up on the Tuesday with a certain amount of excitement about the days activities, so after washing and dressing I walked through the volunteers accommodation and into the nursery class at the front of the school, which I was surprised to see now had a dark blue glow about it. Still in a sleepy daze I walked out to the front of the school to try and make sense of why the classroom was now of a different colour and saw that the front of the school had been draped with material in the colours and style of the Rwandan flag.

speech

[Meg giving a speech in Kinyarwanda in front of the school]

The next task was to help set out all the tables and chairs that were required for all the guests, and ensure that the male and female dancers had all the parts to their costumes. It wasn't until I had sat down in my own seat that I had realised that there were now speakers set in place and microphones were being set up for a microphone check, which the children found hilarious, I personally didn't understand the joke.

class

[The children waiting patiently for the festivities to start]

Sooner than I expected the children all stood up and started singing the Rwandan National Anthem, followed by their welcome song sung in English, the songs I had become so familiar with hearing every morning. Jean Paul, the village chief, was up next with introductions and a short speech. To the left of him I could already see the Primary dancers lined up ready to take the stage.

boy

[The Primary dancers making everyone proud]

Next up onto stage were Nursery 1 with a couple of songs they have learnt throughout the year, followed by Nursery 2's demonstration of how they have learnt to count, read and write, finished up by a collection of songs by Nursery 3. After the adult female dancers, who, I must say, looked amazing in their new yellow and blue costumes, the primary classes came together to perform a sketch imitating the VIP guests sitting at the front of the school. The female dancers were once again brought onto stage to perform a different dance, then to my surprise turned to us and dragged us into the centre to dance along with them, which I must say was somewhat entertaining.

new meg

[The new Meg]

It was then time for the male dancers to be brought onto stage to perform a national dance, which was much louder and more energetic than the female dancers' graceful routines. Following another dance was Niall's presentation of English certificates to his class . Then on to a speech made by a local lady who previously came to the literacy class. She spoke about how Meg had helped her through tough times, and how she is now supporting herself, her story is really quite moving.

male 1male 2

[Two of the male dancers]

After more speeches made by guests it was time for the children to sing Happy Birthday to Meg (in English and Kinyarwanda of course) and to hand out gifts of fruits, vegetables, peace baskets and pictures that some of the children's families had brought for Meg. Followed up once again by the dancers.

girls 1girls 2

Drinks were handed out to all, whilst the important visitors and dancers were then invited into the classroom for something small to eat and a bottle of Fanta. Then all of a sudden it was over. Everyone started to leave, the tables and chairs were put back into the proper classrooms, the material was packed away and returned and then the day was ours to be spent relaxing.

meg fruit

[Meg receiving a bowl of fruit and vegetables]

Even though the day seemed to fly by I believe that Founders Day was one of my favourite days of my stay in Rwanda. Not only for the reason that I had the chance to see everyone in their best clothing, nor for the reason that I was able to witness once again the dances of the Rwandan people, but for the happiness of everyone around me and the pride that they all have in the Meg Foundation.

meg clas

Once again a huge thanks to Meg for letting me be a part of this project, and it has to be said that although the preparations may have been stressful at times it all definitely paid off!

 

Hannah-Marie Piazza

 

a b
Everyone enjoyed the music. N2 child showing how well he can write.
c d
Female dancers. Making the most of dancing.
e f
The amazing drummers. Niall handing out certificates.
g h
Explaining how Meg changed her life Such superb balance!
i j
Niall's father receiving thanks. Meg and one of her sons.

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