The distance from Kanombe airport to Kicukiro, can seem an endless journey more so when you have not been home for a year. That’s how it felt two weeks back on my arrival at Kigali airport from my boarding school Hyde in Bath, Maine –USA.
The trees, houses and people on the road brought back the familiar feeling that I had been longing for. It felt so good being home again.
As everyone expected some change in me, I expected change from them too. For sure in a year, there had been change.
Tania, my two year old cousin who did not speak at the time, can now understand and repeat everything someone said the next day. My other cousins Jesse and Melvin, they seem to have so much growth and energy to display than ever.
Seeing kids passing through the road going to school feels so different too. It is not like they developed a third leg or something, but then there is something unique about them.
I guess the striped new uniforms make them look different and smarter, for sure. And for me, my accent carried a couple of feedback. I have been told constantly that my hair grew much longer. That is all change!
In America, summer vacation are three months, people do what they have been planning for the whole year. Others spend this time, visiting family, touring Africa, going for long road trips with family and most teenage American children get summer jobs, developing savings for college.
For my case, this is the only opportunity I get to spend time with family, friends and having a very productive holiday with expectations and goals I set up for myself.
Something I will look back at the end of it all and be proud of my self. The first two weeks have gone pretty well. Teaching my cousins how to speak English has been a fun job.
I guess every elder sibling feels great when the young ones learn what you have taught them, at least I do. There are some positive changes in young kids, I would love to be part of.
Experiencing their growth, something they don’t recognise happening it is like being a spectator in a game, a fun game that one never wants to end.
Everyday has been so different, with different happenings but looks pretty the same since it involves the same people all over again. Guess what, how about experiencing my own growth this time?
I just discovered I could!
By the time I was five, my parents talked to me in certain tones. If I broke a glass, they would say something like “Honey be careful next time.”
I guess if I broke the same glass today in the same circumstance they will phrase the sentence differently, possibly in a more commanding and authorised manner.
Little things like that bring a sense of leadership in me. Being a teenager, mostly a girl sometimes feels like the whole world is watching the next step you are going to take.
The worst of all is that the feeling never changes wherever you go. It is like walking with a name tag ‘GIRL PASSING.’ “It is just a stage,” I usually tell my self.
It is not that bad after all, being in High School- working hard on perfect grades , being more responsible, taking care of myself, sometimes teenage hood is the time to build up more trust with my parents, opening up from the best moment of your day to the worst. Telling them even the worst moments works out, it feels so good afterwards.
Sometimes I feel it is the honest way of living the girl-teenage hood. Having parents as spies does not work, not for me. How good it feels being honest, removing throat obstacles out of that crappy way.
This is a new strategy for me this summer- controlling my own growth through Honesty!
Finally, as I was passing through an old box filled with old books, papers and binders yesterday, I came across “Tek”, the old Diary I kept three years back.
I called it my thoughts keeper, this old book was now reminding me how it was each day of that year. It is fun how memory comes back so fresh, so new and all renewing.
I should restart a new diary this summer, sometimes a book and pen can be the best of all friends. Writing teenage hood thoughts down so I can re-read it all over again. Thinking about the name.... I should call it “Interg”, standing for ‘Integrity.’
This is another way of being responsible for my growth. A book questioning the Integrity behind closed bars of a Teen’s Life! Way to Go.
The writer is a 17- year-old Rwandan student on holiday from Hyde Boarding School in Maine, US.