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Cate School Senior Goes On a Mission In Rwanda

Raisa Bruner and her mom, Michelle, brought supplies and taught English to genocide survivors.

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Cate School senior Raisa Bruner spends time with Rwandan children during her trip to Rwanda this summer. She taught English to genocide survivors and distributed gifts to communities. (Cate School courtesy photo)

After becoming involved in Network for Africa, a nongovernmental organization that focuses on rebuilding lives and communities in regions destroyed by war and genocide, Cate School senior Raisa Bruner and her mother, Michelle, were offered the opportunity to join a trip to Rwanda to see the problems and progress firsthand.

Their assignment was to teach English to genocide survivors, and to bring supplies for a variety of different projects; among the things they packed were a selection of school supplies and toys, nearly 30 soccer and basketballs, and the handmade dolls that Raisa Bruner’s group at Cate had made after raising nearly $500.

For three weeks, the Bruners traveled through the country, distributing gifts to communities in all corners of Rwanda. Every morning, they taught English to young adults who survives the genocide of 1994; every afternoon, they visited genocide memorials, museums or rebuilding projects. Each night, Bruner Raisa reflected on the day’s events by updating her blog with photos and thoughts.

Click here to read her blog.

“It was an experience of stark contrasts: the bold, colorful patterns on clothing next to the dusty brown roads and buildings; the poverty next to the lush land; the dark, brutal past next to the hopeful, optimistic future,” Raisa Bruner says. “My blog is a testament to these realities, and I hope all who read it can find themselves a little closer to Africa and a little more aware of Rwanda’s plight in the world.”

Don Orth is Cate School‘s communications director.

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