After almost 24 hours of travel, we are finally all back in D.C. and getting ready to embark on our summer internships. What a whirlwind the last 3 weeks have been; from traveling to meet clients to spontaneous hikes in our business suits to being chased by elephants, CAP Rwanda 2015 was a pretty incredible experience. Without a doubt, the memories from this trip are ones that brought the 20 of us much closer together (especially after we capped it off with the Gaga dance party…)
In addition to the fore mentioned experiences, what set CAP Rwanda apart from the trips our colleagues took was the proximity to which we were able to work with our clients and the people of this unique country. Rwanda is an anomaly; in a world surrounded by poverty, corruption, terrorism, and uncertainty, Rwanda shines bright against its neighbors in its attempt to maintain stability. The overwhelming feeling of safety and cleanliness that defines Kigali is something you can’t even find in certain U.S. cities. Even in the countryside where poverty is more rampant, the feeling of motivation and hard work consumes you. It still amazes me how a nation that suffered from so much strife can now also be so determined. Our client, Aime, and the social innovation that founded his business embody the resilient spirit that is Rwanda.
What we learned from Rwanda is how business does much more than deliver a profit. In Rwanda business meant unification, community, collaboration, an activity to fill time productively, innovation, revitalization, and even fun. We saw first hand how economic growth could transform the livelihoods and mindsets of the people within a nation. That’s a pretty empowering experience. We also were able to grow ourselves; whether it was an issue with a client, the occasional Gorillas Golf Hotel power outage, or working together to make it over the irrigation waterfall, Rwanda tested our abilities in ways I don’t think any of us expected. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say our trip was life changing, and many of us can’t wait to go back.
Murakoze Rwanda. See you again soon!