Sunday, April 08, 2012

Harvin was the best surprise I could have ever brought to New Hope Homes today.

Harvin got out of Chicago with 5 supplies bags and I got 5 more from Detroit. While it takes lots of coordination and patience to get the bags to the airport, the effort is worth it.

Our sincere thanks to all of you who helped with sheets, shoes, watches, pack and plays, financial donations etc etc. We could NEVER do this without you. .

I met up with Harvin in Amsterdam for our mutual layover. My favorite part of the AMS airport is the wonderful showers. Harvin is now officially spoiled as he got one too. Knowing we will be without running water makes the last hot wonderful shower something to be cherished. .

I usually sleep both legs of the trip, but managed to stay awake for about 4 hours on the AMS to Kigali portion as Harvin and I talked about so many different subjects the time flew. The plane was shockingly empty so we each got a row of 4 to catch some zzz’s. We also made a video for the kids as they are fascinated by what a plane really looks like and what’s the inside. The flight attendants let us walk the aisles, check out the food and even give them a tour of biz class. It was great humor. .

Returning to New Hope Homes is something that needs to be eased into. We both were so excited but trying to contain our joy as you need enter into each trip with zero expectations and simply open your hearts to meet the kids needs whatever they are today. After all, this is all about them. .

I keep warning Harvin that the 2nd trip is the hardest, especially after the life changing transformation of his trip in January. BUT…it’s hard to be transported back to the love and joy he felt with the kids then and wondering if it would still be here now. .

Awaiting our bags to come in at the Kigali airport, we hardly said a word, but keep looking at each other with such glee in our eyes that soon….very soon…we would be with the kids. Thankfully all 10 bags made it so we did not have a delay with trying to track down bags. .

Customs was a bit reluctant to let us pass with 10 bags, plus our carry-ons and Desami’s walker. Thankfully we had a letter from Chantal and a manifest with the supplies. Photos of the kids and my limited Kinyarwanda seemed to do the trick. Voila…they let us pass. .

The drive to our homes was filled with giddy anticipation as we tried to figure out the best way to reveal our surprise…HARVIN. The kids thought it was only me coming. We debated whether he should be hidden with the luggage or get out a block away and then knock on the gate. It was a toss up, so we finally decided he would hide amidst the luggage. We put up to the 1st home and the big kids came out to greet me. With hugs and love complete, I asked if they would help me get the bags out of the center seat of the van (where Harvin was hiding). They opened the door and started to take out a tire. Then someone said “hey there is a shoe”…but they simply thought it was as shoe. Then “Hey, there is a leg here”…the other kids came running…and then….”hey, there is a person here”…up popped Harvin and they screamed for joy! I mean it. They were sooooooooo excited to see him. They hugged him and loved on him. It was the sweetest outpouring of love I have seen in a long time. .

They helped get the bags into the house and then we set off for 2nd and 3rd homes. The sky is without visible stars here tonight as it had been raining earlier today. We made our way down the muddy hill to see the other kids. We again decided Harvin would be a surprise. I walked through and the kids and aunties greeted me with lots of hugs and kisses while Harvin hid around the corner. After about 5-6 mins, Harvin walked around the corner and said “What’s a guy gotta do to get a hug around here?” OMG…the kids took off in a full sprint across yard to leap into his arms. They were surpassed the aunties – especially Jackie – who were so excited to see him. .

He had promised that he would come back when he got a new job…and they are confident that their prayers helped make it happen! They all said they had been praying for him a lot! .

Clearly for the kids and family of New Hope Homes, Harvin is family and their love for him is very real. It was as if no time has passed.

So as we settle in the for the first night at New Hope Homes, and give the kids good night smooches, all is right in the world. .

Regrettably today is also the 18th anniversary of the genocide here, which killed 1 million people in 100 days in a country about the size of Maryland. Please keep them in your prayers as they morn the lose of their families and friends while combining it with the joy of Easter. .

With a grateful spirit. Donna

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