Our building is closed but the office is operating remotely.If you need to reach the clergy or the office, please send an email to info@adatshalom.net or call the main number at 301.767.3333.

What A Difference

What A Difference

Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (Rwanda)                                                                  Bethesda, MD
Then                                 March 14, 2020 Now                                     April 7, 2020
Blurry. Schools closed across the country. Check the social and emotional health of 530 students and preparing to send them home with meds, sanitary packets, temperature checks, a little money and as much love as we can elbow bump. Bleary. I’ve gone from eating with 530 kids in the Village dining hall, to eating by myself. I roamed over a hundred acres of glorious walking space in the land of 1000 hills. The sunsets are colorful memories, in my camera. My camera’s in my phone. My phone’s at Apple repair now. 
They all depart on 19 buses, at 5:00 AM. I couldn’t say goodbye. Angelo says, “I can’t wait to come back and see you Auntie, and to hug you hello.”  Kigali Airport closed March 20. I departed Thursday, March 19 eventually arriving at BWI. Friends got my car there, leaving keys on my front seat.
Will it matter we’ve taught them to wash hands safely when more than 80% do not even have direct access to water? Friends, attempting to fill my refrigerator for quarantine, find it’s not working. They order a new one and leave an ice chest of food to welcome me. 

My water is HOT.

There’s limited access to the kids. No lesson packets going home. No devices to connect with WiFi. 

What’s essential? 

A new fridge arrives. Privilege. 

I have two flavors of ice cream. 

What’s essential?

Will our vulnerable youth be safe? Have food? Will they recall Agahozo means (in Kinyarwanda) a place where tears are dried? Will they cry? Will their tears dry? Will I cry? When?
Over the past 5 years, being in Rwanda, I attended Genocide Memorial events, at the US Embassy (Kigali), at the stadium and with ASYV Rwandan friends.  Today Kwibuka 26: Watching the Rwandan Embassy (DC) and USC Shoah Foundation via Zoom.

I email ASYV Rwandan friends.

                Remember, Unite, Renew.                                                                      Pass Over


Phyllis Lerner

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