A few days ago, I read my diary entry for the 1st of January 2014 where I wrote down my plans and wishes for the year. This year I had written “ This year I want us to start building relationship with American Universities”. I tried to remember what was going through my mind when writing this idea and as far as I remember I had nothing concrete in my mind it was just a dream.
9 months later, 6 people from iDebate Rwanda are leaving out for the USA on a two months tour to 17 universities in the USA.
For the past few months, I have learned so much, working and dreaming about this trip. Here are a few lessons that I have learned for the past few months.
1) You can only achieve great things if you have the courage to dream. My ultimate dream and the ultimate dream of everyone in iDebate is to make iDebate Rwanda a recruiting ground for the best debate programs in the world. We want that our kids once they pass through our program will be able to compete against anyone else in the world, we want our debaters to be world class and to be able to debate against any ivy league debate team and not feel out of place. We dream that our program will be a place where university debate coaches will come to recruit students for their debate programs and our students will have the same chances I had and be worthy of it. Now if you are honest, this dream does sound too ambitious. But these past few months have shown me that dreaming is important. The first time I presented the idea of doing a tour of the USA it was nothing more than a crasy dream. How could a small program epeople would pay for that?
2) You can only achieve great things if you have the courage to fail. We sent 1500 emails to different people to be able to find those who will host us. In all of those more than 1000 never responded to my email and around 450 or so responded negatively. Every day we would receive emails that were negative and I remember at some we even stopped sending emails because it was emotionally tiresome to be rejected that much. But if we are trying something out of our comfort, we must be willing to fail.
3) GOD will bless the work of your hands. This is probably the best lesson I have learned this whole time. God did so many miracles that I find it hard to believe let me share a few of them:
– The first miracle was the sponsorship of the tour. My biggest worry was how are we going to be able to sponsor such a big project when we can hardly support our day to day activities. We started and worked on a few ideas but they all failed miserably. But here’s the miracle to this the USA Embassy gave us 4 FREE tickets, Turkish Airlines gave us Two FREE tickets and all universities are paying for our transport while in the USA.
– The second miracle was the VISAs. We applied for Visas on September 11th and honestly I thought we had everything that was needed to convince them that we were to go and come back BUT OUR VISAS WERE DENIED. In that moment, I remembered WOW you can work for all these months and then one lady kills all your dreams. But I remember we had prayed through the verse that says “ Trust in the lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall make your path straight” but even after the denial of visas, something inside of each one of us believed we were going. I remember saying “ God come on… you did all these miracles so at the end we could stay?” and I remember Teta saying to us “Guys maybe the key part in the verse is not Trust in the lord but the part that says “ Lean not on your own understanding”. Cutting the story short, three days later, the USA Embassy called us and said that If we could promise to come back we would get the visas. And they gave us the visas! THEY CALLED US TO GIVE US THE VISAS WHEN THEY HAD DENIED IT TO US BEFORE.
NOTHING in this tour makes sense, I would be lying if I said that all of this is a result of our hard work and ideas, that would be half truth; end of it all, this is a result of faith and trust in an all-powerful God who loves us and takes care of us.
Sunday the first group of people are leaving out for New York and Tuesday the rest will follow. I do not know what is going to happen but what I know is maybe that’s not my role or my worry as long as I trust In God and do what I’m supposed to be, all will be well.
When I read my diary entry I wondered if what I had in my mind on the first of January is the same that is happening now and my answer is HELL NO and this brings me to one of my favorite scripture” For he who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, ABOVE ALL THAT WE COULD ASK OF HIM, according to his power that worketh in us”
I would like to thank everyone who has participated into making this a reality; those who prayed for us, those who encouraged, donated, shared our page, shared our ideas, gave our ideas, connected us to people, those hosting us, those working to make this a reality, KATE KELLEY the most amazing mentor alive,the idebate team, everyone
GOD IS GREAT!!