Heyo! Another fantastic day here in Rwanda!
We got up around 9am had breakfast and went to ISHYO for rehearsal with Mashirika until 11ish. The rehearsals are getting more creative and more emotionally rich. Fun times!
After rehearsal we were on our way to Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village about an hour drive. This place is a home to 500 youth who are orphans or vulnerable children. It is absolute paradise compared to what we saw at the refugee camp yesterday. This village/strong community is a school and a home to many. The students all eat in one big dining room area for every meal. The only exception is in their own homes they have a kitchen just for making tea. There is a very nice basketball, a huge soccer field, and a volleyball court. There are different buildings separated by subjects like science, computer lab, music building...etc. I was surprised that they even have a recording studio there! How cool is that?
The way it works with housing situations is that there are 16 students given a "mother" in one house. They name their house after a hero...There was one house named after Anne Frank..Drew loved that a whole lot! :)
We were shown what the rooms and inside of the houses looked like. Everything was so nice. One of the girls rooms I got to see and there are 4 girls in each room and honestly it was a nicer room than my dorm room. They have 2 sinks and tons of space in there. Shalom village is just a great place to live. The area it's in is also extremely beautiful.
The coolest part of the day here at Shalom was the theater stage that made me feel like I was in Greece. It is a beautiful space. The seats where the audience sat was made of stone and it started at ground level and climbed very high. So there were a lot of spectators there. They had a whole schedule for those that were performing that evening which included us (The Anne Frank Project) and Mashirika. There was a group that did traditional dance that was really cool. A group of students, actually from Shalom Village put on a play that was inspiring and thoughtful. Another group from a school here in Rwanda did a play that was super witty and clever as well. Mashirika's performance was well done but the audience were...well reacting strangely. That's when I thought that our show was going to be a disaster. We are doing Shakespeare in front of this group. Also, I was starting to get a little sick so I was freaking out that my voice would give out in front of the biggest crowd since we've been here. We had to use microphones too because the space was bigger which for some weird reason made me more nervous.
So after most of the performances were done it was finally our turn to get on stage. Drew introduced us as we got on stage. My heart was pounding at this point because I looked out at the audience and we were in front of quite a huge crowd. I was also super excited to do it because I couldn't wait to hear everyone's response........
It's crazy to think I was worried about anything because Shalom Village LOVED our performance. Right when we started they became silent which meant to us we had their full attention. During the first half of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet with Kara and Lewis there were so many laughs and verbal comments. I looked out multiple times to see girls giggling among themselves when any kind of love or shyness about love was potrayed on stage. Everyone was very giddy and it was so exciting to watch. Then for Tiesha and I's song, they seemed to enjoy it as well. The part that sticks out the most as far as the audience loudly responding was when I sang "But hey, don't you want your girl hot?!" Or when we sang "Baby!" Then again for the second half of the balcony scene the audience just loved it. They totally understood everything that was going on. It is so fascinating when these Rwandan kids understand and respond to Shakespeare. It makes me appreciate it more too because if it's acted well anyone can understand it. We ended with "Seasons of Love" like we always do and I really felt we impacted this group in some way.
After us, the Director of the Village came up to thank everyone who performed and said how grateful he was that we were all here. It was a special night for a lot of people, including us.
To finish the evening off right they put on some funky jams that everyone in the audience loved and people ran on stage and danced for a while.It was a really nice treat to have performed there. Maybe I'll go back someday.
Tonight was also the night that Mashirika and us were going out (clubbing) together. I was a total party pooper and stayed in. Eve ended up staying back too but she wasn't feeling very good. Well I feel asleep around 12. The whole gang didn't get back till 5AM!