February 19, 2012
SYV Weekly Highlights
January 23 – 27
She sat at a small table, under dimming light with her shoulders hunched over and her eyes steadily combing through the fine print of a book. Pronouncing each word with even concentration and determination, she carefully made her way through the famous novel Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, pausing only to ask the Art Instructor, her freshly recruited tutor, for the definition of new vocabulary words. One look into the intent eyes of the young girl, and you could sense that beneath her placid veneer was a veracious mind, anxious to be let loose in order to conquer the world one book at a time.
Joyce Furaha Uwamahoro
Nineteen-year-old old Joyce Furaha Uwamahoro, a Senior 5 Agahozo-Shalom student, speaks in a low and steady voice. She is a quiet girl with many things to say. On a Wednesday evening she patiently explains to the Art Instructor about her love of reading and learning new languages. She talks about a time before Agahozo Shalom, when the only language she knew well was Kinyarwanda. She could only write and speak a little French, and spoke no English. She explained that before ASYV she had no one with which to speak French or English. In fact, she stated that before coming to ASYV she did not enjoy speaking at all because of the people with which she lived. However, upon witnessing kindness at ASYV, she began to open up. She now has many friends, some even from America and Israel. Quietly, with a smile, she looks up and says “I don’t know why people come and talk to me, but they do.”
It is without question that Joyce possess a talent for learning languages, a talent she first sensed during her Enrichment Year, and which propelled her to choose the language study track, KEF (Kinyarwanda, English, French). However, after a moment with the girl, one can also see that it is not talent alone that has allowed her to accomplish things such as placing 7th in a nation-wide essay competition on The Merits and Demerits of using a common currency in East Africa, rather, it is an insatiable desire to learn and excel. This desire to learn has led her to pour through books such as, The Concubine by Elechi Amadi, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Weep Not Child by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Betrayal in the City by Francis Imbuga to name a few. She also possess a keen interest in Francophone African Literature, and has read books such as La Negritude Français by Sedar Senghor, as well as D’un Petit Enfant Nègre by Léo Gautra Damas.
When the village lights suddenly, yet expectantly go out on this evening, and the words of Chinua Achebe are no longer intelligible, Joyce sets the book aside and begins to talk about her love for writing and for singing. She tells the Art Instructor that she writes poems and even songs. And, after a few minutes of waiting in vain for the lights to return, a low yet wonderful voice emerges from the darkness, carrying the tune of the popular Justin Bieber song, “Never, Say Never.” Her voice lights the room. She then serenades the Art Instructor, as well as three students, who have taken shelter in the Art room from the blinding darkness outside, with the song “From This Moment.” When the song is finished she then says, “I also love to draw and play basketball, volleyball and football. World watch out, this girl is not playing around. In fact, when asked what it is she wants to do after graduating from ASYV she quickly replies, “I want to be a journalist… or own a tourism business, but mostly be a journalist. I want to be on television or the radio.” She belonged to the Newspaper club last year and this year wants to take the Hospitality Professional Skill course. After leaving ASYV she stated that she expects to study journalism in university. This is certainly an attainable dream for Joyce, the girl with a brilliant mind.