So it’s been over a month since the last volunteer, Claire left Rwanda to go back to school. She has already started classes at Northeastern and is getting back to normal life. After a month of being on my own, I’m so excited that a new volunteer is coming. But she isn’t just any volunteer; she’s Ally Bataille! I couldn’t be happier to welcome her to Rwanda and to EDD.
Ally and I go way back. We met in Mrs. B’s kindergarten class and the rest was history. We were inseparable through elementary school. We had the same teacher from kindergarten through fourth grade and we did everything together. Ally’s house was a few miles beyond my own so the bus would pick her up first and then come pick me up. Ally would always save me a seat next to her. We started and ended each day with each other. When we needed partners in class, we didn’t even have to look at each other. It was a given. The combination of our names “Ally and Elena” rolled off our teachers tongue more easily than our names separately.
|Ally and myself on a field-trip to Lake Elmore|
So when middle school came and we weren’t placed in the same class, we were devastated. We tried really hard to stay connected, but it was difficult because we were on opposite ends of the school and didn’t see each other during the school day. This separation continued into high school. It wasn’t until senior year that Ally and I began to reconnect.
|Our bonding at swim team! |
I think we might be 9 or 10?
It all started with our common interest in travelling to Rwanda through the Harwood program. We were both accepted and we started to hang out more because we did a lot of group bonding in preparation for the trip. And then we left for Rwanda, Africa and had the time of our lives. When you share an experience like that with another person, it bonds you together. After our return home, our whole group clung together, trying to help each other through the pains of re-entry. A year went by and it was clear that Ally and I were still obsessed with Rwanda. I believe this journey was her idea to begin with.
We started planning and saving, and here we are today! Ally will arrive in Rwanda on Friday January 13th at 8:00 PM and our dream will finally have fulfilled itself; we will have both returned to the country we fell in love with 3 years ago.
Be sure to follow along with Ally on her blog: http://rwandaally.blogspot.com/