Having moved from the hustle and bustle of New York City five months ago to the peace and serenity of Gatagara, I surprisingly find myself totally overwhelmed…often. Not the stressful overwhelmed one feels running to and from meetings in NYC, but a totally mind blowing overwhelmed – a mentally exhausted, go to bed at 7pm overwhelmed.
Life is not fair. I’m almost 30 years old so I am well aware of that truth but at the same time the thought runs through my mind at least once or twice a day. Simple things like the fact that less than 50% of the people in our KPI community could afford health insurance for their children this year is mindboggling for me – health insurance that costs less than my morning cup of coffee in NYC.
Almost daily, I experience things that make me think, “what the _____?” For instance, yesterday, we had one of our boys, Christia slice his ankle wide open. Within minutes his shoe was filled with blood and he stood there silently with tears in his eyes. Luckily, he is the son of one of our coaches, Christine, so he eventually showed her and she sprang into action with Flouduard who picked him up quickly and brought him to our sports room. The coaches were dabbing the cut with cotton balls trying to get the blood to stop but it wouldn’t. I was able to grab a pair of our cotton pants to tightly tie his foot to stop the bleeding and then had him lie with his foot elevated on a bench above his heart. The coaches were so impressed. Eric asked if I had gone to medical school.
The point of this story is not, yaaaaay Kate, the point is, what would they have done? How long was he going to bleed before they could get it to stop to take him to the health center? There are no ambulances on call and who knows how long it would take for medics to get to the field. For me, seeing the coaches reaction to my actions was totally overwhelming. I learned to try to cut off the blood supply and elevate an injury by high school at the latest. For them, it’s not ignorance, it’s not stupidity, it’s lack of knowledge. All of our coaches, and community members, have a deep desire to learn – to learn everything from English, to best business practices, to baking banana bread, to First Aid – no one has taught them.
At KPI we have the privilege of being teachers. Of sharing all of the knowledge that we have acquired over the years just by being born in the United States and having access to unlimited learning opportunities. This November, KPI will host a three-day coaching clinic for our coaches and partners. The clinic will include a training by the International Justice Mission on child protection, a training by our community health professionals on First Aid, and an in depth study of Fair Play, gender equity, and the role of KPI in the community. We all anxiously anticipate the training and can’t wait to share an update.
Lastly, I should mention that even though I’m in a constant state of being overwhelmed, I wouldn’t change a thing. Having the opportunity to be here and be a part of KPI is a blessing. I have the opportunity to share the skills and knowledge of my mentors while at the same time being taught the true meaning of life by, not only our KPI kids and coaches, but our community at large. My brain, and heart, are bursting.
Kate Kelley, KPI Coordinator, Rwanda