Miami’s heat. Now I know why Miami’s basket ball’s team is dubbed Miami Heat. The heat! It’s crazy. But amazing!
We reached Miami in the evening of 17th September. Coming from Colgate, walking out of the airport felt like walking straight into an oven. It was 30¤C. We reached the Holiday Inn at 7pm and a while later walked to the next block to grab a bite.
The next day, Sunday, was sight-seeing with Randall Martinez, the assistant coach at the University of Miami and 4 other UM debaters. We drove to Little Havana; a city that is known for the beautiful Cuban culture. We walked through the city; to a domino bar (why don’t we have these in Kigali?), an ice cream shop and so on. From Little Havana, we went to a neighbourhood that was branded by street art. It was beautiful. The walls were beautifully painted in many colours and messages.
The first debate we had in Miami was at Miami Dade College. It was 2 of us against 2 others. The debate was on whether foreign aid had done more harm than good in Africa. There was a big turn up from Dr. William Murphy’s class, who warmly welcomed us on the campus. We later on had lunch with him and two debaters from MDC.
On Tuesday morning, the communications professor at UM, David Steinberg picked us up from the hotel and took us to Christopher Columbus High School where we spoke to Randall’s 3 classes and had small debates. In the evening, we debated with UM. It was Bruce, Harmonie and Angela against two UM debaters and I (I don’t want to brag, but we took the debate). It was an amazing experience; I mean, it was UM!!
We debated Florida International University next. We were picked up by Jameeliyah, the Communications professor’s wife at FIU (can I just say we loved her?) At the university, we met Antoine, her husband, who was equally amazing. We then debated on the topic of whether western countries should stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. We won😎
Our last debate was in the morning of Thursday, at Miami Senior High where two of us debated against two others. Can I just say this school is the most beautiful high school I have ever seen? Okay. In the same evening, we went to the beach with David.
Why did I fall in love with Miami? The warmth with which David, Randall, William, Jameeliyah and Antoine hosted us with. The cultural diversity in Miami. For some reason, it reminded me of home. Of family. Being a “lito galo” from Rwanda who had never travelled out of Africa, my crazy expectations of Miami were exceeded. Miami was definitely my favorite stop.