Saturday, August 04, 2012

An adventure filled day.

It’s been a while since I have done a solo trip to New Hope Homes. It’s wonderful to have the kids to myself, but at the same time, overwhelming.

I enjoyed 7 pure wonderful hours of sleep last night. Ahhh. So wonderful. Chantal and team left early for one of their many wonderful projects. I enjoyed a slow calm peaceful start to my day. Innocent again had oranges, pineapples and banana bread for me! I could get use to this special treatment. I usually stay with the kids, but until we have the new house finished there isn’t any room. I usually awake at 5 am to the sounds of the kids giggling and the aunties and uncles readying the day. Quite a contrast.

I scooterd off around 9:30 and somehow made a bad turn. Thankfully after a few do-overs I found the right way. Kickuro near Kigali has been home in Rwanda for the past 6 years so I still need to get my bearings in Musanze. A female muzungo on a scooter is a rare sighting so everywhere I go I get beeps, yells and “muzungo”…I reply to each with a good morning, hello, or good evening in Kinyarwranda, which is always returned with cheers and laughter from the crowds.

The dirt road by the rental house is so very challenging to navigate. There are big boulders; lots of tiny rocks and of course the log bridges. The cheers as I navigate each successfully are all the more stressful, as I know the throngs of people are watching my every move. I of course wear dresses here so trying to keep my skirt from flying in the breeze is also a bit challenging when I get up to 50k on the main drag.

Our new GoPro client wanted to send a camera with me, but in my quick exit, we didn’t have a chance to grab one. She would have LOVED the footage from the helmet cam mount!

BEEP BEEP BEEP at the gate confirms that I have arrived at New Hope Homes. The kids yell Miss Donna Miss Donna Miss Donna as they come running to greet me.

There is nothing in the world like a hug from our kids. While I am only here 5.5 days, I’m now confident that I made the right decision to come. The rental house and yard is small relative to what the kids are used to having so we have to be creative. Where they are used to grass we have gravel, we are without the multipurpose classroom and most of the toys. In a way, it’s back to the beginning when we opened our first home. The good part is with everyone in one room, is people communicate and play with each other vs wandering off.

I arrived to find the big kids working on their homework for break. How cool is that? They started their day, without anyone’s prompting by getting their homework done! They were working on “opposites” and abbreviations. With a bunch of brothers and sisters they tried to solve them together.

When all hope was lost, we opening up my laptop and went into the dictionary for a little assistance. In the end we were stumped on two. I will try to remember to post on facebook when I can remember what we couldn’t solve. One was COURSE…not coarse. What the heck would that be?

After playing around for quite some time I asked the big kids if they wanted to go on another adventure. Some said yes, others no. Isaac has a hole in his shoe so he didn’t think he could go. I showed him that the rest of us were wearing sandals, so it would be ok.

We set off in the same way as yesterday. Down the dirt road. We brought a Frisbee, jump rope and ball with us. I thought the place we had found yesterday would be a perfect location for all of the above. As we approached we saw that there were quite a few prisoners in the yard and police. The children and I agreed that we should ask permission before playing. The police could not have been more lovely, but in the end, they could not give us permission or the other kids in the hood would want to do the same thing. Understanding completely we said our goodbyes.

Down the hill just a bit the boys found some trees that looked like a goal post. They decided it would be a perfect volleyball net. Auntie Grace was with us so she sat in the grass and enjoyed the game while the other kids tossed Frisbees.

I love our new neighborhood. Or shall I say our short term neighborhood. As the location where we are building the new home is in Muszane, but not in this neighborhood. It’s much more rural and filled with adventure possibilities.

After about 30 mins Esther decided is was time “to go”. They wanted to continue the adventure. We decided to go down the hill vs up as we did yesterday. Everyone kept asking me “where are we going?” I kept replying, I don’t know. I just thought we should explore. The reply “but where?” My reply, “ Let’s just have an adventure and see where it takes us”. Not quite an easy concept , but they got it.

Finally when all the faces where grumpy I said. “ok, do you want to stop” NO was the reply. “Are you having fun?” YES was the reply. I asked by the faces, and they said they didn’t know they had those faces.

After another and another log foot bridge we got to the bottom of the hill and the kids love the big stream. We aren’t used to seeing lots of water where we used to live, so this is all good.

The local in the village aren’t used to seeing all these kids, much less me, so they stopped and stared for what seemed like eternity.

I try to take the time to reach each one and ask their name. But, it’s simply not possible given the number of people as we were climbing down the big rocks.

I kept saying we need to find a mountain to climb. The kids said yes yes. Just after we agreed to go back Sande spotted a both up the side of a mountain. I suggested that we do it Tuesday when I am back from Kibeho, unless they wanted to do it now. NOW was the reply.

We presumed a way to get to it then asked a villager who confirmed we were correct. It was a great climb and I was very thankful to have Auntie Grace with me to keep track of the kids. We were on a path the entire time, but each turn revealed a new adventure.

When we got to the flat road, the girls wants to do the “hey hey we’re the monkeys walk as we stretched across the entire street. I taught it to them in April. They then re-wrote the song to be “hey hey we’re Harvin, and we here to monkey around!” He would have loved it.

In the end, we had a great time. We walked back through town and I got water for everyone as we were thirsty from all that work. A bottle of water here is a big deal, not quite as good as Harvin’s donuts after their run, but a treat non the less.

Mama greeted us at the return asking about our adventure.

Back home it was time to play with the little kids.

In the morning I put in a video to distract half the kids so I could get time with the other, but I didn’t think 2 videos in the same days was a good plan so we just made the best of it.

Eventually Fabiola asked if the ipad could come out again so they could play football (aka soccer) games. They have become must more respectful of asking permission and waiting their turns. Yes, indeed they are growing up.

Since I don’t have my modem yet we substituted calls for skype. Clearly more money, but since my time is short here, I wanted to make sure some of the sponsors got to chat.

Everyone wanted to call everyone. In the end Kristen and Ian got the 1st call, followed by Harvin who got 30+ minutes and we left some random messages.

The sun began to set and I knew it was time to scoot as I don’t think I could manage the roads in the dark. Yet.

I hate leaving them at 6:15, but I need to be smart. Yes Mom, I do make good decisions every once in a while!.

The good part is it’s 7:30, the blog is now finished, I’m showered and can now start editing photos.

This is indeed a very unusual trip as I’m usually going until 1:30 AM here.

Tomorrow is church and then a big adventure to Kibeho. We plan to pick up Abby in Kigali and for the first time do a overnight as the drive we not be 6 hours each way vs 3.

I can only imagine what the day will bring…..

Blog done…Chantal and Mbanda just arrived home….time to close.

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