The next journey begins Poland and Rwanda 2019

The next journey begins  Poland and Rwanda 2019
2019 adventures

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Home - August 16,2022

 Home safe and sound. Strange how my normal surroundings seem somewhat different now.  Colleen went home after we had a good old diner breakfast,  And  I did feel a bit off not seeing her in the morning.  I am trying to assimilate back into my normal routine and it will take time.  Doctor appointments fill my days, and I am excited to see my WHOLE family!  It will be the first time we are all together since Ross and Maddy's wedding! and Jennie will meet her niece for the first time. 

My placemats are on my table and I will fondly think of "Passy" when I sit at my table. I also will think of my experiences when I look at my wall hanging. Seeing friends helps because they are genuinely interested in what I have been so lucky to have been part of.

It will be a while for me to process everything, and I am often at a loss for words. I think about my "kids" and what they are doing, and what they are learning.  Berlyse, Passy, Baptiste, Eric, Giselle, Patrick, Noella, Gideon, Aimee, Joseph, Katyrie, Genevieve, Samuel, JD,  and so many more I cannot name them all but I am privileged to know each and every one of them. Forgive me for not naming them all. I want to  Thank the kids for their personally written notes, which I will cherish. The hugs, the games of "Zip Zap Zoop" and "Leader" and I hope you will continue to play Simon Says!

I will go back and read over the blog once I am emotionally able to.  It has been one of those experiences that will remain with me. I felt purposeful, I felt loved, and I felt like I actually contributed in a small way that I hope will help encourage the kids to never give up although their lives are often like their roads: dusty, and rocky.

Murakoze Cyane!

Friday, August 12, 2022

August 12 and 13

Squeezng every drop out of this trip. Yesterday we did 10 hour tour called Golden Circle which was so amazing!Included the Lagon swim in bubbling natural hot water , the waterfalls, the craters, geysers, teutonic plates, so much packed into one day with a fabulous guide who was funny, informative and so nice. The tour company also was so nice as Colleen left her phoneon bus and they drove it back here!  We ended night with a beautiful Shabbat dinner with Andrea, Colleen friend- and her family . They live in Iceland now and love it.  Today we return home on the shortest flightI have had in years only 4 hours. Iceland was wonderful and amazing.  I would definately return. Maybe we did not see the volcano in person but we saw amazing natural wonders. Our entire trip has been full of amazing good people and grateful kids who are still emailing us and keeping in touch. We plan on a morning walk with hat and coat before we shed them for hotter temps in East Coast. I do look forward to seeing my kids! Jennie making a visit for a few days.

I try to remember my favorite Dr Suess quote " Do not cry because its over, smile because it happened"  

hot steam from volcanos


Secret lagoon

tour guide

bubbling water

wild horses


Teutonic plates

Shabbat dinner

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Freezing in Reykevick

 We flew for almost 24 hrs but did hav 10 hr layover in Amsterdam. It was crazy at the airport as it had been reported. Lack of workers made for long lines for Customs and passport control. We had hard time trying to figure out our connection and I thought I would not be bale to see my friends. BUT fate had another plan and we HAD to exit the airport and re enter in order to check in to another airline. SO we did get to spend time with Rosalia, Ranier and their daughter Crystle. Also they were a great help in navigating the airport and our connection. so we had breakfast, walked the airport, talked to catch up. Great to see them.

Then on to Iceland in a cramped small plane. We arrived and had problems with our pick up waited a long tme bu eventually made it to hotel. It is still like daylight at 10 pm but overcast and cold.  Today we did our own walking tour and then was suppose to be on another walking tour but guide never showed so we hopped on to another city walking tour after we went    to a wax museum that told the historic events of Iceland.

I learned a lot about Iceland and today they are only 370,000 people here but now over 4 million tourists come. They have a love hate relationship with the tourists. Icelandic is spoken but you mostly hea English and other tourist tongues. A lot of construction going on but mostly for new hotels.  They have no army, ( dont need it) are very liberal with rainbow street and gay pride flags flying over public high school.  Taxes are high but colege and health care is free, Unemployment is low.   Everyone is pretty much related. Women DNA always shows connection to Ireland or Scotand where the Celts took them as slaves and began populating Iceland. All Icelanders did DNA test if they wanted to and it showed a connection.  There were no indiginous people here originally.

Fishing and Tourism is topmoney maker.

After 19000 steps we had dinner with Colleen"s friend Andrea who lives here now with her husband, a professor, and 4 kids who now all speak 3 languages. Tomorrow we will have Shabbat dinner with them.  And we have a full day tour tomorrow.

Breakfast was beautiful and abundant with herring ( it was really good) cheeses, eggs, muffins, yogurt, a lot of everything , similar to Israeli style.  It made me take notice thining of Rwanda and what they have and do not have. I almost felt guilty eating fresh tomatos, and eating  a piece of quiche.

Amsterdam with friends

Crysttle, Rosalia, Ranier
Approaching Iceland

Gay pride flags

The Penis museum

Had to buy a hat- its COLD

Oldest house in Iceland

Rainbow road

They call it the bureaucrat

Colleen and her friend and family

10 PM and still light out

Monday, August 8, 2022

Home visits

 Home visits are very hard. We wen to Patrick"s house who lives with his/mom and two sisters one is getting married next week. and Emmanuel- who lives with his mom, his sister Letica - whose photo I posted with her under th tree with her beautiful hair. There are a total of 5 people living in a small space surrounded by piles and pilesof cast off material.

The moms are so warm and welcoming.  Patrick has electricty but must walk a very  long way to get water and carry it back to their home- water is not free. The "bathroom" is outside and shared.  I did not see it but it sounds like a seperate place to/ urinate and do other but it is not a flushable toilet as we know it. Emmanuel home was even more challenging. Today is Leticia's 18th birthday. They, all 5 live in this tiy space and cook on a little cooker with coal. Leticia is very beautiful and all her stylish clothes are neatly hung up all around this small space.

I really hope someone reading this will consider sponosoring a child fromMindleaps. It does so much for them, paying for school fees school is NOT free. I actually sponsor Emmanuel but it is against the rules to let the student know who sponsors them, so it was very hard for me to know this is the young man I have helped.  I hope to continue supporting him. Please consider doing this.

Getting to the homes was quite a challenge! I needed to hold Patricks hand a lot!

Our last full day. So hard to say goodbye.

The empty chair outside our classroom,a kind of metaphor for how I feel on my last fullday

Patrick bed in the entire living space

Patrick"s mom carried allt these banannas on her head from bottom of hill to sell.

Outside the home with Patrick and his mom

Outside Patrick home

Mom and son

Kids gathering avacodos from a chopped down tree

Gathering coal used for cooking

View outside of Emmanuel and Letica home

Inside. This is the ENTIRE living space for 5 people. I was sitting on a small wooden bench taking the photo. Leticia, with the braids has all her stylish clothes hanging up around the space

cooking area

entrance to home

piles and piles of cast off materials are outside the door and lines the way as we had to walk sngle file with one foot in front of the other

Eimee who accompanied us on the visits and helped us navigate the terrain

Salama ( green scarf) is the woman in charge of family relations for MindLeaps. She does so much to try and help the families to cope and making sure kids are staying in school

part of the disguarded materials

Patrick and me

heading back to Mindleaps