The Moment Begins Now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

And Fade (To Black).

What are the lessons learned from six months in Rwanda?

What do you take away from a country, a people and a place that you feel like you've never really left... or that you left such an important piece of you there, you never fully came home.

How do you find meaning in what happened; find hope and strength and inspiration from the work you poured your soul into?

How do you come home after an experience that tested the mettle and courage and resurfaced all of the fears that you've ever had to deal with to answer the question everyone asks when someone gets home from an adventure...

"Well. How was it?"

What do you say to that? Do I dismiss it with a grin and a simple, "It was good, man. It was really good." Or do I try and dig deeper, unprying thoughts, feelings and experiences I have yet to wrestle with. Things that you may not want to hear when you asked that three headed dragon of a question. Things that you have to deal with on your own, before you can deal with them aloud. The state of humanity, overwhelming suffering, abject poverty, crippling disease, greed, corruption. Alternatively, the perservance of a people, hope, a thriving culture, sustained harmony and safety. The absence of war.

I internalize a lot of it.  How do I help this world most? How do we help each other get through life better? And how do we do it without losing ourselves... without losing enthusiasm, optimism and hope?

These questions emerged over the half year I spent in Rwanda, and the more I thought about it, the more I realize we may never have the answers. Heck, like my friend once pointed out, we may not even have the right questions. And that's starting to become okay with me. There's no easy answers, no simple cliche's that will solve the thoughts that have resurfaced in the land of a thousand hills.

But this came close. Halfway through the trip, a sentence arrived from a closely distant friend.

"We're doing it, Rav," it read. "We're living our dreams."

At the heart of these questions, through the answers we maybe will never find and the world we'll never completely understand, maybe the lesson of this whole journey... is this simple. We. Are living. Our dreams. We're doing what we feel is right. We're going to try and make this world a better place when we leave. This, I believe, is my purpose in all of this.

 So please, go ahead. Ask me how it was. I may not have the answer your looking for, or any answer at all for that matter. But I hope the smile that flickers across my face when I think of Rwanda in that instance is enough to give you a glimpse of a place and an experience I could never fully articulate.

It was... exactly how it was. Exactly how it was supposed to be. It was...
A Moment in Rwanda.


For everyone who has followed and commented on this blog, sent and received emails or letters, laughed or shared in the tears, my gratitude goes out to you. Family, friends and perfect strangers, you were there when I needed you.

Every. Single. Time. You. Were. There. I won't forget that. I couldn't forget that. Thank you so much.

With love, hope and the continued search for meaning in what we call life.

    Live the Dream,

    Ravi Jaipaul

   (The photo journey continues on:

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