level8bestA few months ago, I was telling the kids at MindLeaps that we will host a group of special guests in August.  The kids asked me why I call them “special.”  I responded, “They are special because, thanks to them, our MindLeaps Center exists.”  I could see doubt on their faces. Then came August 1, the first day of Level8 Projects visit.  The MindLeaps kids were so excited to see Carnoustie High School students who are almost their age.

A specific schedule was designed for this three-day visit from our Scottish visitors and supporters. Small groups were created with Scottish team members, MindLeaps students and MindLeaps Rwandan staff.  Each group presented a final piece of their collaborative work on the third day of the visit.  Those three days were full of joy. I have never seen MindLeaps students that open and happy with foreigners. The Scottish guests exchanged everything they knew with our kids.  They even visited the ones who have been rehabilitated and reinserted into their families.

13901739_10153501783226653_1778997690_oI asked a few of our MindLeaps students what they learned from this experience. One of the kids named Joseph responded, “Every time MindLeaps receives guests, I learn about a new country in the world that I never knew existed before.” Another student, Sandrine, said, “Working and playing with guests makes me think I have new friends and I feel happy.” Joseph complained that the visit was too short!


Sandrine (left)

Mr. James Bell, founder and Team Leader of Level8 Projects, explained to our kids the origin of the name “Level8”. He explained that “level eight” represents the best kind of giving. It helps the poor to help themselves by extending a loan, funding a permanent project, or training them out of their poverty. Sandrine later told me that her dream is to become a Level8 member to help other kids. I hope she will keep her dream alive.

It was hard to say good-bye – so many tears and hugs on both sides that last day. Everyone was happy and sad at the same time: happy that it happened and sad for the separation.

This August, I think the MindLeaps Center became a place to grow and connect to one another…dancing together, learning and sharing is powerful.

MindLeaps is especially grateful for the support of Level8 Projects.

Eugene Dushime is the Country Director for MindLeaps.