26. BUGESERA SCHOOL HUG-A-THON
After leaving Nyamata we headed back to Kigali, the visit to the Bugesera region being the end of our four-day road trip.
I was disappointed we wouldn't have time to go to Ntarama - a village in a nearby hill - where there was a school I'd read about that survivors had slept in at night after their days spent hiding in the papyrus marshes from killers who hunted them morning to dusk. I wanted to give them school supplies.
But it being late in the afternoon we decided the school would probably be closed anyhow. Just as we were having this discussion we came to the schoolyard we'd passed earlier (and which had been empty) but this time it was swarming with kids. We pulled into the driveway and were swarmed, especially when they saw the soccer ball, pencils, crayons, compass sets and scribblers. Everyone wanted something but there wasn't enough to go around so we said "Take us to your teacher".
The walk across the schoolyard to the principal's office can best be described as one giant hug-a-thon. We were almost lifted off the ground by the force of the bodies all pressing toward the center - and we were the center.
The only thing more fun than the walk with the kids from the van to the principal's office was the walk with the kids back to the van after everything had been divided up. I'll never forget the bliss of our hug-a-thon.
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