I was attached to the clinical psychology department of Huye Isange Rehabilitation Center, which is a rehab facility for people with drug addiction. During that 2 months, I picked up some of the duties of clinical psychologist, such as conducting psychotherapy session and psycho-education. Throughout the process, I was closely supervised by the psychologist in the center, which allowed me to have a fingertip sense of being a psychologist.
By listening to different life stories, I realized that history does play an important role in one psychological makeup, and it's hard for one to truly know others' feeling. A vivid example is a patient, who witnessed genocide when he was a little child, told me that he still has fear reaction when he sees someone carrying a machete; but that is not the case for a foreigner. This is a valuable lesson of not assuming you know one's feeling, but by constant dialogue, we strive to understand their feeling.
Overall speaking, the whole journey is a life changing experience.
- Try to immerse yourself in the culture, such as learning Kinyarwanda, visiting different museum, or even attending celebration event (e.g. umuganura day, assumption day)
- Most of the Rwandans are friendly and like talking to foreigner, be open to that kind of experience
- Some of the cities might have shortage of water or electricity supply (like few hours), be ready to that
- Motor bike is one of the common traveling means, it is mostly safe in city
- Try to negotiate the price when you are buying something from a market (but not supermarket)
- Find creative ways to overcome language barrier, since people from the old generation used to speak in Kinyarwanda and French