The Uncommon Man

September 26, 2007

James Describes the First Day of Training in Rwanda

This morning, I got up with the 5:00 A.M. call to prayer and I felt so rested after a physically grueling day yesterday. The eighteen-hour flight on three different planes and several time zones threw me for a loop. After all that time of confinement and body restriction I got up yesterday about 4:00 A.M., and knew I had to get up and move my body. I left the room at daybreak to admire the kaleidoscope of colors painted across the sky.

The view of Rwanda from our hotel balcony is just stunning. This is called the land of a thousand hills and aptly so. I wanted to go jogging but was intimidated by all the hills. You cannot walk too far with out walking up or down a substantial hill, so I decided to take a walk to find a park for a round of Tai Chi and some karate. My body was calling out to be stretched. I found a nice landing overlooking some fields that was ideal for meditation and practice. As I stretched and moved, my body screamed out for more. After an hour and a half, my body was singing and I thanked God for the gift of movement and the opportunity to be here in this sacred land with so much history. I was now ready for the day ahead.

When I got back to the room Steven was doing his Tai Chi. We acknowledged each other with a smile and I got ready for breakfast and our planning for our first day of training. At the breakfast table Adin, Steven, and I marveled at our being here with our brothers and sisters from Nigeria and Zambia.

We all were breaking bread this morning after converging yesterday at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to board the flight for Kigali to meet our brother Fidel. The airport erupted with joy when we saw each other. To see Stanislaus, Stephen, Uduma and Ugo all with great big smiles and open arms was a great delight. We hugged, kissed and beamed with each others' smiles.

Of course it was a nail-biting experience waiting on the seemingly motionless line to get to the other side where we would see if we would all be on the same flight. Our African friends had spent the night in Addis and got to the airport hours before we did. We did make it onto the same flight, but what was supposed to be a one-hour trip took two-plus hours because of the local stops. The extra time was nothing compared to what had come before: we traveled from Bradley airport in Connecticut to the Washington, D.C. airport, to Rome, to Addis Ababa, to Kenya, and on to Kigali, with three airplane changes. To say that I needed to feel solid ground under my feet would be an understatement.

Yesterday's training was a great success. There were at least 28 participants. A few dignitaries gave their blessings and we began to get to know our new brothers and sisters. As usual, there was not enough time to get in all we wanted because of the need for translation. We spent extra time trying to make sure that our thoughts and concepts were being understood. It was beautiful to see how sensitive, patient and caring the two translators were. It was fascinating to observe their struggle to try and capture certain concepts in Kinyarwandi.

By the end of the day I was super-tired and needed a nap. I was able to get a strong hour and a half nap and was good to go for the rest of the evening.

I am looking forward to a new day of training.

James With the Ceremonial Pole

Blessing the Pole at the End of Day One

Posted by Jorge at September 26, 2007 03:03 PM


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