Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Monday, August 08, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
The kids woke early and decided to sit in the bedroom next to mine to chat about life. I love listening to them talk to their brothers and sisters about life. Giggling and just waking to the mornings possibilities.
I joined them and we continued our random chat about life from America, to Rwanda to Soccer etc etc. They were all curious when I was going to leave them to attend a friends wedding. They were delighted when they heard it was in the evening.
Chantal arrived in town so I went for a visit with her. God bless this woman who cares for so many…her own kids in the states, our kids here and the thousands in Musanze. The desire to serve is so real in her heart, but it is so very taxing. Please keep her in your prayers.
We are also working towards our 2012 budgets and have yet to find a way to meet the needs of all 3 homes. It can be overwhelming if we really think about it. So for now we simple ask those of you that can help with any tax deductible donation we would be grateful. We promise to be wonderful stewards of every dollar. The easiest way to do it is on facebook, the next is newhope4kids.org. There in ends my mini commercial.
Chantal and I got finished with errands and were greeted by Abby and the kids when we returned. As many of your know, Abby and our friend Sarah come over for a month about 4 years ago, and feel in love with Rwanda. They returned with me last August and now Abby has moved here as of Tuesday this week to teach and continue to uplift the country.
She is a gifted teacher and the kids LOVE LOVE LOVE when she comes to teach them as she really knows how to do it as opposed to me….who just makes it up as I go!
The kids love Abby and we love having her with us. She also discovered a hidden treasure of our District. Some American’s who make donuts one Saturday mornings near the produce market. She surprised the kids with a box of them to share today. YUM.
The afternoon was spent chilling, getting ready for the wedding and trying to find someone to drive us to Kibeho as I haven’t been able to reach John who drove me the last couple of times. We also had some fun skype calls again.
Chantal finally found someone who knew how to get there as it’s remote and not a common place to attend.
I had a lovely time at the wedding tonight. That was of course after I tried to attend 2 of the wrong ones. People kept directing me to places…so I would enter, greet the people and then mention the bride’s name. Oiya! Which means no. Then off to the the next one which they assured me was the correct space. As I was about to be seated I again asked to confirm…Oiya!. Oh now. Finally I was able to reach the bride’s brother who told me I was close…just down the road a bit. As I walked the dusty road to find the chapel, the parade of wedding cars passed me waving me onward. It was a beautiful and very special wedding. I hope to one day share the name of the bride as she is quite a famous author, but for now she has asked that I keep the confidence. Needless to say, it was a joy to be a part of such a blessing.
Returning home, I kids jumped out of bed and ran outside with Abby to greet me. That is of course, just after she had them settled down….ahh, the joys of camp like nights!
Tomorrow morning we are off to Kibeho. I pray that my heart will be ready to receive whatever it is intended to.
Friday, August 05, 2011
The house awakens at 6ish to the sound of the nearby rooster. It’s not a slow stirring. The rooster crows, the floors start to be washed from stem to sterm, the kid start giggling and the approaching it with the zest that comes of youth.
I visited some friends down the road while the kids were bathing. There are 4 impoverished homes with very simple means all living together in a sort of community with a shared dirt yard. The kids saw me coming down the road and immediately starts screaming my name as they came running. Together we went to the compound to greet the mama’s and other kids. There is no common language among us to it’s up to me to deliver my best Kinyarwanda. It’s much easier when I bring one of the big kids with me to translate, but it’s fun to just wander.
A quick trip to the Mayor’s office to greet other friends there. Most were gone, but Jimmy was happy to see me as he spent a lot of time with me while we processed one of the many layers of paperwork to advance my cause of citizenship.
We had a very productive class today. We played hangman for about 1.5 hours and then I did the next round of lessons. The middle kids that are in the neighborhood school now join them so it’s truly a one room classroom.
I took a little o snooze while they had lunch.
The afternoon was spent skyping with lots of friends. Each skype call brings a new set of friends for our kids. Marie Rose has been really want to skype with Rebecca and FINALLY it happened today. Rebecca from New Hope Homes was able to skype with her sisters in the states, (Different Rebecca’s). The kids loved seeing their brother and sister Erica and Eric from Colorado, They got to talk to Holly twice. 6 year old Danny Harvey and his little brother were quite a hoot. Great soccer conversations were had with Ian, Kristen and Kate. Ian has a great rivalry with Ian has he is a Arnsel’s fan and our boys are Chelsea fan. Isaac was wearing a Chelsea shirt to Ian ran to quickly change and put on his Arsenal’s shirt….and so goes our sweet life here with people around the world showing them how much they are loved and they are never along.
We also have some wonderful news to report. Desami…the twin that can’t yet walk due to some very challenged feet is now able to crawl….and might I saw at lightening speed. He can also stand up with someone holding without crying. This is HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE for me. We need to continue his therapy and continue to pray that he will one day be able to walk and run like his twin brother. Deborah…our girls with CP is also doing really well. I did a game yesterday where they had to mirror me….hand on head, toes, knees up etc etc…she kept perfect time with ease. We love our little girl who has such a big heart. I do believe that one day she will speak too.
Counting our blessings.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Recently people have been asking me when I sleep. My new answer. On the flights to Rwanda. 16 hours of sweet sleep bliss.
Arriving at the New Hope Homes gate, I was met by 2 year Mwami who said “oh missy donna” and when running to get the other kids. Then he came back yelling my name following by the pied piper of kids finishing bathing, etc etc. Dogpiled in the arms of 30 kids and you know that life is indeed sweet.
Then hugs and kisses for each with an I love you.
In that moment, everything else in life melts away and I am once again reminded that I have found my life’s work.
Chatting with 11 year old Isaac, I asked if life is good…bad…or between. He paused, looked me straight in the face…it is not Good….it is GREAT. That sums up the work of New Hope Homes and the many of you who have made that work possible as we are funded exclusively by private donations, many of you who are reading this. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
Today I also the continued the odyssey of attempting to become a citizen. 2 trips to Immigration today revealed that there is “no progress” on my paperwork. I am case number 17. When I inquired what number they are on…there was a confused look. When I mentioned that I saw the President of Rwanda in Chicago a few months back and was able to ask him a question….one of the guys in the office who was watching the event in Rwanda said. “I saw you”. And wished me well on my continued paperwork. I also again asked about the type of test I will be eventually taking (written and oral) IF I ever get to that day. He again said “there is no book, you just have to know”. Arghh. I hope when the day comes, that I will actually ‘know’.
I then rang ‘the boss’ who said he would meet with me on Monday AM. We’ll see. Patience is a much practiced skill here.
We also had the joy of surprising the kids with a visit from Abby today. Abby came to volunteer for a month 4 years ago then again last August. As of Tuesday she has moved to Rwanda to teach! She will be about 15 mins from the kids, so they are looking forward to seeing her. OFTEN.
I had 3 skype calls with the office which brought much entertainment to my co-workers as the kids were hanging all over me and kept coming to the camera to say “hi” while I was talking. Good humor all around.
A full day. I am indeed blessed to be in the presence of these amazing kids.
We will be skyping tomorrow morning USA time. Shoot me a note on skype (rwandadonna) or on facebook if you want to connect with us.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The morning started like a ray of pure sunshine. I have the joy of walking our 7 pre-schoolers to school today. It’s about a 30-40 min walk with their little tiny legs. They look so dang cute in their uniforms. You could just hug each one and never ever let go. As we walked up and down the dirt roads the kids were so happy to have me with them as they know I would usually be with the bigs kids. As other kids came to follow our pied piper line our kids kept fending off the others to take my hand as I was theirs (indeed I am!).
We arrived a school to find about 500 kids starting in straight lines getting ready for school. The teachers recognized me from the church the kids attend an came to greet me. I had know idea it would be these fine women. You will absolutely love the video I shot when I can upload it in the states. The head teacher was AMAZING with the kids. Getting them to respond in English to so many things. They danced ,they praised God, they did their ABC’s. Everything had a lead and echo response.
I had two favorite songs. One talked about “I am a doctor…because of a good education, I am nurse…because of a good education, I am policeman…because of a good education. Each job had a action pose. The second was so simple, but so uplifting “ I AM THE BEST OF AFRICA”. Oh may it be so. May these simple people grow to make a difference.
The classrooms were beyond packed. About 100 kids per room based on my count. They kids had simple benches, no desks but a small chalk board in the front. The joy of learning was so present.
On my way home I stopped by to see the Mayor’s assistant again. My daily routine.
I then spent hours looking for Mwani’s Doctor’s number. He had given it to me for a private consult if needed. We had looked through all the paperwork he provided but couldn’t find it. So today I dug through ever receipt I had and viola…found it. He agreed to meet us at 2 pm when he arrived for the afternoon.
That gave me enough time to pick up the kids from school and get my wash done before we had to leave. The kids were not expecting me on the return trip and I was delighted to see the joy in their eyes. I visited each classroom of our kids just before they exited at noon. The return trip was too funny. All the kids wanted to walk with the moozongoo and the teachers had to ensure only our kids left with us! Then those that shared the road with us wanted to share my hands which were already full with 3 of ours. One get thumb and one gets pinky on each hand. Dorcus was pulling on my arm so badly I thought I was literally going to have to drag her up the hill as she wanted to ensure no one got any finger on the hand she was holding. My back aches from her strength! But it was luv so it’s all good.
Mwani and Auntie Jaki arrived to head back to the hospital. I love knowing more and more parts of this country and key locations. Working your way through the hospital is challenging trying to find the right rooms. Each procedure needs to be prepaid. So you go to the area that is required. Then go pay. Then go back to show them you have paid. Then you meet. Patience Patience Patience…the key words here.
The Doc decided that Mwani would need to have surgery. It’s a simple one but he needs to go under General. The abscess is not improving and he needs to open it up and get it cleaned out. We then had to get blood drawn for pre- surgery evaluation. All I could think about was Rebecca’s scream when we took her to the doc in the market. But would you believe it that this sweet boy never cried. He even got brave enough to look at the needle as they filled the second vial.
Then to pre-admissions to meet with the anesthesiologist. After a long long wait they said he could meet with us tomorrow morning.
Mwami will need to arrive by 8 am then surgery will be at 4. Hopefully he will be able to go home this weekend.
I wish you could know what a sweet little boy this is. Holly joined me on my last trip in December and fell in love with him. Her heart aches not to be her with us as he goes through this surgery. He is funny. He is fascinated with the way things work and loves balls.
The early afternoon evening was spent just playing with the kids. It’s such a treat to have time with them while the big kids are at school.
Our two newest girls-each about 1.5 years have fit right in. Many of you may have seen the photo that Chantal posted when they arrived. They looked so scared. Today they fit right in. The are generally at the center of everything. The older kids really look out for them and give them lots of extra hugs.
Speaking of extra hugs. We surely could use yours. When are you coming?
So we ask for special prayer for Mwani tomorrow. I really like his doctor. He seems we educated and is very gentle with Mwani.
Oh…and PS. Apparently the Mayor decided to sign the extra paper for me that he declined yesterday. That requires meeting him. His assistant and I have a plan to have be there waiting when he walks in tomorrow. If I miss that window it will have to be on my next trip as he has the Parliament coming in tomorrow and eventually a full calendar before I leave. It would be amazing to finally get the chance to meet him.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It started out simple enough. Yes, another trip to the Mayor’s office. Thankfully it’s just a short walk. Now I am a regular so many people greet me. The Mayor’s committee approved the recommendation for me to become a Citizen which is great! However, it still requires the Mayor’s signature. This requires the Mayo to actually be in his office.
His wonderful assistant played my paper at the top of his things to sign, but he was not yet in. After about 2 hours, we decided I should go back to New Hope Homes and stay put as she would call me as soon as he arrived and signed. Hours later I phoned and he had reviewed but decided that he didn’t need to sign it and I should use the paper I got 2 weeks ago! Wah. He said it would be fine. Please, could he just sign it for me.
His Assistant Louise assured me it would be fine.
As we chatted this morning she offered to share more of her story about the “war” (genocide) with me if I would like to learn more. She could see that I was moved yesterday and while she has forgiven and forgotten, I think she feels safe with me and it’s probably still good to process. The bomb shell she dropped on me this morning that to fully live her life of forgiveness she has adopted a child of “those people” who killed her father. I presume she meant what used to be referred to as Hutu people, not the actual killers as this boy is only 7 years old. She has grately moved my heart. She asked if I could help with funding that this boy might be able to go to Sonrise School where our kids go. Imagine the power of what she was asking. That this child. An offspring of people whom most would go to the grave hating be given the greatest gift that Rwandese children can get given. The Power of a great education. I explained that we didn’t have funding for it and it would be $1300US per year plus $200/term in supplies. She acknowledged the size of that expense. If you are have been moved by her story and would like to help, I will ensure funds get to her.
Then off to immigration. Or so I thought. Cars and Motos (motorbikes) share the roads in crazy close proximity here. Today is was too close. My driver (20 year old Joesph) got a little to close to a Moto. He did the customary ‘beep beep” but the Motor turned into us. Down they went. The Moto driver and his passenger. We weren’t going fast, but they took a tough spill. Like a fool, I opened my door to check on how there were. This of course quickly established that a Moozoongo (white person and thus presumed rich) was in the car. This created quite a stir. The crowds built and the yelling was loud. Witnesses came and took stones to use a chalk like on the front and back of the tires to demonstrate where we stopped. Robert went out to attempt to handle the angry crowd. He returned to announce that they wanted to go to the hospital. I agreed we needed to make it right. The two men approached my passenger door and began yelling at me. Once I spoke a little kinyarwranda and saying it was an accident and we were sorry and yes yes, let’s to go the doctor in the market (my new friend from a few days ago with Rebecca. ) and we ensure it was all taken care of.
They climbed into our van and I directed the driver to the Doctor.
The Doctor examined both men, put some light bandages on them and gave them some antibiotic to ensure they would be fine. Then the fun began. They started negotiating with me for money. The first man who spoke a little English said that he was too injured to work. I countered with I can’t imagine a job that couldn’t be done with the small bandages. The conversation when like this “ So what is your job?” He replied after pausing for a long time “ I don’t have a job. You give me a job.” “You give me money for food”. Me “ What does food have to do with the accident”. Reply “well….I can’t work”. Around and around. Then he said he needed money for the ongoing Doctor treatment. I told him I would definitely give the Doctor whatever was required for their treatment. The Doc returned and basically said they would need their bandages changed. Then came the offer. “You give me $5000 franc and all will be forgotten. “ $5000rfranc is just about $10US/each but I simply did not want to be taken advantage of as it was an accident. Around and around. Then the crowds in the Doc office grew with the men shouting at our driver and at me. Whenever I would speak Kinyarwanda the meanest of the two would start laughing and I knew he thought this was a fun game.
Finally I called sweet Milly , Mbanda’s assistant to sort it out via phone. She agreed with me that I sound not pay. It is a bad precedence when they are simply trying to take advantage of white people. I returned to the men and asked again for the Doctor to come forward to meet us. He said the treatment would be $2500rf each so I said I would pay. The men were delighted….until I told them I would give the Doctor the money and he would give them a credit.
Game Over. Moozoongo wins.
Defeated I told them we would give them a ride back to their Moto, but they could not yell any more. The issue was closed. Or they could walk. They stared at me knowing it was done and thus…they chose to walk.
Then off to drop off paperwork to prove our girls Esther and Grace are of age to attend Sonrise. We got to the express bus to the Volcanos who took it there for us.
Next up Immigration. There are literally hundreds of people in line. I know my way around know and know that I should bi-pass this line and go through a back door to speak with the Naturalization people…but each time I pass, I feel terrible – like they think – I think – I am special. Thankfully when they see me gently push through the line and then go through another door the tension eases.
Immigration will be another fun adventure. He reviewed all my paperwork and tried to get me for a loop hole. I knew the background and assured him that it only applies if I have been here less than 5 years and now I have been here longer, so we should be good. With the best Kinyarwanda, friendship, charm I had he agreed to begin the process.
Next step – they must approve the proposal for naturalization. Then I will be notified. Then I must come for a written test about the country and then oral. Needless to say, this won’t be done on this trip. Hopefully next. The people actually love that I want to become a citizen, but process is process and the process here moves slowlyyyyyyyyyyy.
Then Nakumatt…the most wonderful thing that happened to visitors in the past 2 years in Rwanda. A large Kmart like store with 24 hours operation. They have everything. And I mean everything. From food, to wine to buckets to washing machines and toilet paper. I needed to get a few more things for the homes.
Exhausted we headed for home and some fun with the little kids. OMG, they are so cute. They all come running. Missy Donna, Missy Donna. They were all in their little plastic chairs eating when I entered. Again the power went out, but this time they had my solar lights and they continued on with ease. Sweet. Need to keep advancing the ball on these lights.
I had my iphone with me and I recorded some of their songs. Once they got the concept they they sing, I record and play back the fun got intense. I just kept asking them to sing and the results were so random including Jingle Bells..which sounds something like bingle jells. At the end the started humming the macarina that I had taught the older kids a couple of year ago. Then they started with the motions. It was crazy funny. I made each Auntie and Uncle get up and do it with me while the y hummed along. Ya, I luv this little squirts.
Tomorrow. Finally. I get to walk the little kids to school. It’s like a pre-school. I have no idea where it is, I only know that we will leave at 7:45 which could be anywhere between 7 and 8.
Oh my, the most important thing. Rebecca is feeling better, but Mwami is still in need of medical care. Gonna get on that tomorrow.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Today again I went to the Mayor’s office to inquire about his letter of Recommendation for my Citizenship. It remains in “Committee”. Each day I go with with a smile on my face an encouragement to advance the cause.
Since I am now a regular more are starting to greet me.
As I was talking to the Mayor’s Assistant she began to share her story of the genocide with me. As you may know, this is not a subject that the people want to discuss and it is in fact considered rude to inquire so for those that want to share, I am grateful to hear their stories 1st hand.
She was 19 during genocide. About 5 days into the killing they came for her family. It was her father, mother, little sister and little brother. Her Father told them they would kill him but when he was dead would probably leave. He told them to hid until he was killed, then to run. She heard her Father argue with the killers then they began to cut him everywhere and the sounds were something terrible. He walked back into the house bleeding everywhere and went to the room he shared with his wife and layed down on the bed and died. They waited in silence till the noise was gone and then, without a plan, they each ran in different directions. She went alone, her Mother took one child and the other was solo too.
She ran for days and kept hiding during all the killing.
Can you imagine being 19 and having this seered into your brain? Things your eyes should never see.
I asked about food or water. She said, “when your mind thinks, they will kill you they will kill you if they find you, your stomach does not ask for any food”.
This was April 1994. She did not return to her home until 1995. She was thankful to find the rest of her family had survived.
Then she talked about forgiveness. I asked about forgiving, but not forgetting? She said “no, we must do both”. I asked how long it took. She said she was still angry in 1995, 1996, 1997 etc. Then the killers started to return to the country. They came with kindness. She then found her faith and knew she must not only forgive but forget.
Tomorrow she will share more.
The first time I came to Rwanda 5 years ago I can with a broken and bitter heart about a boyfriend who had not been faithful. I hung onto the bitterness for a long time. Then I met these people and found inspiration from these people who have suffered to so much and have found a way to move forward.
What bitterness, anger or hatred have you been hanging onto too long? Perhaps you too can learn from these amazing people in Rwanda too.
Sorry, I have been slacking on the blog, but certainly not slacking here. So much going on I can hardly remember.
Drove to Runeghiri to enjoy Easter Eve and Easter Morning with Bishop and Chantal Mbanda. We had a wonderful time together. In addition to the joy of celebrating Easter our focus was on strategic planning work for the Vision of New Hopes Homes. Our friends in Kansas have raised the funds to build our 4th home. We now have the land, and will break ground but need to raise the funds to operate it annually. Our goal would be to build the 4th and 5th homes together for building efficiency costs. There are the serious on going needs of our current 3 homes. Our dreams are so big but our budget so small. Believing that God will show us the way and so grateful that my colleagues at Aegis Media are eager to help us use their collective communications expertise to help us raise funds.
On a small note, ahhh, so nice to have running water at the Mbandas. And hot water! They also had a wonderful meal for me and shared some wine. It was good to be present with them as they shared their needs to so many other things they want to accomplish. Help build a small home for a woman who’s home was destroyed in a big wind about 2 months ago, start more day cares through their part of the country, send Mbanda back to school to finish his studies in Canon Law in the Anglican/Episcopal Church, help Chantal build a little store that ladies who weave baskets etc can sell, etc etc. Their hearts are so focused on helping people uplift themselves. Please, if any of these things seem like something you would like to get involved with, please let me know.
The drive to Ruhengeri is normally 2.5 hours. Our return was like a rocket ship with a nice man who drove us back. 1:20 mins. The roads are not stop twisty, turny roads with people passing at all sorts of inopportune times. I was in the back seat with Chantal desperately trying NOT to throw up. There was a small plastic back near me so I kept my hand on it if needed. I told them I could not speak. I would just close my eyes and focus. Thankfully we made it with no vomit anywhere in sight!
Then it was the last night home with the big kids. 12 kids that you simply would love to call your own. I can’t tell you enough about how wonderful they are. They are smart, compassionate, kind, funny, helpful. You name it, they are simply a joy. When I think back to 5 years ago when no one spoke English and New Hope Homes was envisioned and launched by Chantal it’s remarkable. I have seen these kids go from scared, incredibly ill and timid kids to filled fully with hope. If you are reading this, you too are part of their journey and I thank you.
The energy level in the house last night was at a fever pitch. Yes, like any kids the night before school, trying to get every last wiggle out. And in this case, serious giggles were part of the wiggles.
We skyped and called so many people. It was too funny!!!
I eventually got them all to bed. This included standing like the camp counselor in one of the bedrooms until the boys stopped laughing. Of course my food on there behinds shaking their beds made the process last a little longer. Hey, come on, I was a kid too!
The drive to Rugenguri was uncharacteristically quiet. When I inquired what was up they said they were sad that they would be at school and I would be here. Some also had that – I want to stay on vacation – look on their faces. We eventually arrived at school. On the way up I asked if I should “cry big and make a scene or little?” They said ‘little”. I said I would cry “big” just to bug em. Their English is good enough now that jokes are understood. They boys however, were horrified by the fact that I might embarrass them…they just kept trying to see if I joking or not. Yup, they are growing up indeed!
There was a serious check in issue that took hours. Some top guy somewhere in the government made a ruling THIS MORNING that no 6 year olds could attend boarding school. They thought several of our kids looked that age. They check the paper work again and again trying to confirm that they were right but our kids kept saying they were 7. We had to go through layers and layers of review until we ended up at the head master who said Grace and Esther look small – yup they are – and could be 6. Finally I remembered that I have a pdf on my computer with all the kids ages. Not government official, but the beginning. Mbanda’s wonderful asst Milly came to help me and finally go them to agree to let them stay over night while we drove back tonight to find some government paperwork to allow them to stay. Esther and Grace however, were kinda digging the part where they go to come back home with me instead of school!
We gathered in a circle and said a prayer before the boys headed off to their wing of the school. One of the officials allowed me to cross through the entrance gate with the girls as I was ‘their Mom’. I like the sound of that!
As we walked through the rain to their rooms their friends came running and gave them lots of hugs and helped them with their bags. It was so sweet. I toured each of their rooms and met their friends. Marie Rose asked if we could say another prayer before I left. Paper, Rock, Scissors confirmed Fabiola would lead us in prayer. Tears flowed but not as badly as before as they know “Miss Donna ALWAYS comes back!” I rounded the corner and burst out in tears. 3 mins later two little hands landed in mine on either side and it was Alice and Esther who had come running to walk me back to the front gate. Bless their sweet hearts. Another goodbye and then I was mush.
Abby who is planning to spend at least a year teaching in Rwanda starting this fall.
The drive home was still. No kids. Only memories of each of their voices, their giggles, their hopes and dreams.
Now I return to 3 homes where no one speaks English, But the love is there. I am looking forward to getting to know our little kids more and more as our big kids get so much of my attention, but my love spreads out over them all.
Friday, April 22, 2011
The day started really sweet. Got to sleep until 8 am, then hang with the kids who are at my nightly slumber party. We rotate the groups and play paper rock scissors for the remaining stragglers.
Then they went do to the 2nd/3rd house while I went in search of a Catholic Church. I have been asked for days and no one seemed to know. I recall walking through some woods about 5 years ago to one, but can’t seem to find it now. Yesterday and old man on the street pointed me in the general direction so this morning I set out on my adventure. Much to my surprise, about ½ way down there on the dirt road 2 kids came running up to greet me. They were the kids from the neighborhood and it was so sweet. I felt like a regular. Speaking of regulars the other day when I was walking through the market and getting the traditional shouts “moozoongoo, moozoongo” – white person, white person. Some guys walked by and started in…his friends silenced him by telling them “oh that one…everyone likes that one”…”oh” was the reply and he stopped. I had no idea it had happened but the kids translated it all for me. I think I am making progress in my home away from home. ☺
I kept focused on a radio tower across town and headed that way. It was nice to just walk the road alone. I love the kids, but some ‘me’ time, especially to process on Good Friday was precious. I was very proud of myself when I found it!!! There were piles of people washing the floors and benches in preparation for the weekend Masses. I just sat silently and tried to comprehend the power of this day. The church was really impressively large. They were working the ceiling with nails falling from the tin roof to the floor about every 3-5 mins, so I needed to be somewhat attentive.
The road back was so wonderful. The kids in their tiny homes made of mud bricks wave and said “hello…ahhh-low” when I passed the second time. Everyone is so friendly, especially when I greet them in Kinyarwanda. They simply stare at me as I approach, but then I greet them then laugh and try to get a conversation going. The story goes on person after person on the street.
Then back to the 2nd/3rd homes to play with the little kids until they took their after lunch naps. The rain poured again today so it was fun to skype with some more people to keep them entertained.
I noticed before lunch that Rebecca seemed quite hot. We took her temp and realized it was high. Not to high, but a definite fever. The kids then watched one of the DVD’s I brought them about the history of Football/Soccer. Sande took the small orange cones I brought and set up is own training camp outside. I was so very impressed with how he put himself through the paces. I will post pics in a day or so.
Understand that 30 kids who all want to talk and play at the same time is such a joy but so exhausting. I really try to give the little kids attention when we are all together as I know the big kids so much better.
Later I held Rebecca again and she seemed really hot. We took her temp and it was in the high 103’s so we decided to take her to the doc. Auntie Jaki (who doesn’t speak any English) and I headed to the Doc in the pitch black of night. There is a small Doc’s office near the market which is manned by a male nurse. He was lovely. Vincent (the nurse) initially thought is was Malaria. After drawing blood and then waiting 30 mins he looked at it under a microscope and said it was not. WHOO HOO. He loaded us up with 3 types of medicine and we journeyed back home.
My amaze ashoo-shey (hot water) was on the stove for my evening bathing. So it was ready to go by the time we fed Rebecca, gave her the medicine and tucked her into bed.
The merry band of silly kids and I made our way up to the 1st home. A quick game of go fish and it is lights out. For Me too.
Tomorrow off to Rhungehi – a 2 hours drive to spend the evening with Chantal and Mbanda to work on a vision for New Hope Homes.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The really special part is to see the joy on their faces when they see the pics of who sent these shoes. The read each card and study every word that is written. Then they sit down all alone and really look at the pictures. Once that is done, then they joyfully run around trying to show as many people as possible who is their 'sponsor' and ask all sorts of questions about them. The most common one is "Will you please greet my sponsor and tell them thank you for me?" Then they ask "Will they skype with me?" Yes, I have created little technology pros here in Rwanda! Whoops.
Today in school I asked the question where would they like to visit in America. Many made their decision by where the people are the sent their shoes. You really do matter.
The adults have never had such quality shoes so they were pretty much speechless.We also had some great skyping time with people in all sorts of places. They love it!
On a personal note for me. A another little trip to the Mayor's office and I am almost done with my paper processing on this end. Then to immigration to do the final step for hopeful citizenship. The kids are hoping it will be true. They think I should be called an African if it happen. Or African American vs RwandaDonna. Love is in the air. (as are the mosquitoes from the daily downpours.