As I participated in one of the Imbuto Youth Forum Series on August 8th 2012, which had the objective of identifying the qualities, values and responsibilities of being a Rwandan, I came up with my own concept of what it means to be Rwandan.
After a period of four years spent in school in the US, I am back in Rwanda for a summer break that also has the advantage of marking a transition from being an undergraduate student to being a graduate student.
In these past months spent home, I could say that the highlight of my time here has been the time spent with my family but that would not be exact. This has come to me as a surprise. You see when I was younger, I used to feel that being the best student in my class, or attending the coolest parties would make me absolutely happy. But I am realizing how wrong I was to think so.
Since my return home, I have had at least a number of situations in which I was not the most achieving person in the room or the one with the coolest story, however I can honestly say that each of these situations actually made me happy as I took a step back and mumbled to myself: “wait a second… I am in Rwanda.” Indeed, I have been interacting with old friends from back when I was a child as well as my high school peers.
Each time, I am amazed to realise that we, “the future of this nation” are doing so well. I am not only amazed to see that young Rwandans have dreams, but realising that our dreams are going to contribute in some shape or form to the future of our nation.
I was once again moved to realise that so many of my peers share my dreams as a young Rwandan. As the speakers at the event shared their journeys to a successful path in life, they mentioned key values to be developed. Among those, integrity, honesty, and hard work spoke the most to me. However, what I also gained from this wonderful experience is the fact that my life path will always be linked to our beloved nation.
As one of the keynote speakers put it, when we are children under the responsibility of our parents, we tend to dream in terms of what our parents will do for us. However, once the adult threshold has been reached, one should start dreaming about what they can do for themselves and on how to start giving back to their parents as well as to the society.
Today, young Rwandans have something that only a few other young people around the globe have. We are the children of people who truly had it worse than we will ever have it. We are also the children of a nation that tells us to learn from its history. Thus, ultimately we are only left with the option of heading on a journey of success, while carrying along with us our Rwanda.