“Its gonna be reallyyy cold” I was told as I prepared for my journey to Bates college. At the back of my mind this was now getting annoying. The weather in the U.S is just getting unbearable, the chilly wind towards the end of fall is just like the coldest breeze I have ever had to endure. It just sneaks into my clothes despite the layers of cotton I wear and millions of holes in my jeans that are stitched in with thread. To my surprise the weather was now worse and the turbulence during the flight got me a little nervous and as soon as we were about to land, the view of Portland from above just looked like a little bit of heaven (at least I imagined that). The earth was no longer the enormous brown carpet with green patches but all white that even the trees that stood out were all covered up.
As I was left wondering about all this amazing scenario that spooked me, we finally landed and my journey to Bates College excited me the more. Dr. Abraham .J. Peck who is a renowned peace activist as well as the son of two holocaust survivors who survived the Lodz Poland ghetto patiently waited for me and Jean-Michel. His warm smile brushed the cold off our shoulders. Dr. Abraham and his wife decided to invite us to spend the night at their beautiful home. We talked over a cup of tea and cookies and his work on reconciliation is just a modest example of how much mankind functions under love and how hate tears the human soul into pieces that it averts the light from our eyes thus inflicting confusion and loss of identity. He is just a constant reminder of how I should live a life of purpose and also an amazing teacher of forgiveness and reconciliation despite the differences of where we come from. As we went through the next day, a visit to the classrooms and the languages department was so interesting with mostly professor Alexandre Dauge –Roth class whose focus on peace building initiative with the youth from Rwanda is very much of a great work to both Bates and Rwandan students as well. His office reminded me of how much I missed home with the primus bottle tops pinned to the drawer that just gave the office a fascinating look.
We also had the great opportunity to have a presentation on how much the Rwandan youth is fostering the wounds from the past through using debate as a peace building tool. This was also a way of providing students with an in-depth understanding of Rwanda and who she really is.
It is so surprising how the freezing heaps of snow from above the Portland skyline looked beautiful that my eyes couldn’t afford to blink in order not to lose a good gaze. Snow for the first time is just like an untold story that would surprise a reader for an adventure and would later on be a remarkable story. It is also similar to the wonderful people we met that lit our lives with the stories of endurance from their past and how better they shape the world.