Rwanda Day is a time when Rwandans in the diaspora, their families, and their friends gather to enjoy each other’s company and exchange ideas for developing our country. In short, as President Kagame put it, “the reason for Rwanda Day, to start with, is to make sure that every Rwandan, who is outside of Rwanda, is connected with his or her home wherever they are. You can leave Rwanda and go wherever you want to go, but Rwanda should not leave you”. ALSO READ: Kagame to Diaspora: It is upon you to take Rwanda to its deserved position Oh, to be with Rwandans, speak Kinyarwanda again, and catch up with one another! So many people will hug you tight and ask, “uracyabaho?” We share tidbits on whose children got married, who moved back to Rwanda, and who finally struck that much-coveted business deal! You finally get a chance to ask or be asked the all-time unsettling and intrusive “ko wabyibushye?” ALSO READ: It’s Rwanda Day in America! Rwanda Day to me is a reminder that Rwanda is wherever Rwandans are because for us, Rwanda extends beyond its territory. It lives in our togetherness. ALSO READ: Ujiri lauds Kagame's investment in sports business I remember that when I was a young girl living as a refugee, one of my dreams was to contribute to the development of my country, but I could never fathom, even in my wildest dreams, that things like Rwanda Day could ever happen. You see, at that time, I thought of Rwanda as the only place where I could be truly Rwandan. My idea of home was a little piece of land somewhere in Southern Province, formerly named Butare. This is where I was born, raised, and spent most of my early childhood. Acute nostalgia and longing for our homeland at times unbearable were tempered by our ability to connect through our core traditions and culture. Colonial powers and previous governments that tried to divide us mistook Rwanda for a mere territory when, in reality, our country is its people. The origins of the name itself come from ‘kwanda’ (to expand, enlarge). For our ancestors, ‘kwanda’ meant growing the size of our territory, but it has since come to symbolize a strong affinity and kinship that draw Rwandans together wherever they are. People were and are still the foundation on which Rwanda is built. Hence, sayings like ‘uracyabaho’, ‘waramutse’, and ‘urabeho’ make sense even today because when one Rwandan dies, our Rwanda shrinks, and when one Rwandan is born, Rwanda grows. People who were born in the 1950s or before may have come across another saying “amahanga arahanda” (foreign land is rough), but Rwanda Day is a powerful reminder that Rwanda is wherever we are. Being together reminds us that while business deals are made and dream jobs are landed, there is no feeling that beats being with your own. Rwanda’s diaspora has spread all around the world. We have expanded in our ambitions and capacity, and in every possible way one can imagine. On Rwanda Day 2024, we saw our children dancing with excitement. They are proof that Rwanda lives in us and in our families. Many have now started saying that Rwanda Day is every day, and I will add that it is anywhere, whether in-country or abroad, because Rwanda is us. This year’s Rwanda Day was hosted by the Embassy of Rwanda in Washington, D.C., and attended by more than 6,000 Rwandans and friends of Rwanda. Amb. Mathilde Mukantabana is the Ambassador of Rwanda to the US.