Friday, August 08, 2014
Wednesday August 6, 2014
Greetings. This is Ely here, Harvin’s nephew. I am 16, traveling to Rwanda for my first time, and am guest blogging our day here.
We started this wild day with a beautiful sunrise hike to the top of a “mountain” just a quarter of a mile away from New Hope Homes. The little ones were unable to come with us on our valiant quest to the top of the mountain which I was a little disappointed about, but after an hour long hike I knew why. The mountain was rather steep, narrow and had many curves which the little ones would not be able to handle. However, Donna was able to make it to the top and back down with her bad knee because she cherishes the smiles of the kids from New Hope Homes and wanted to be at the top to take photos of them. On our way up we saw many brick buildings that had at most 1 or 2 rooms. It was very sad seeing how these families lived and I wished I could do something for them all. Upon reaching the summit we found raspberry/strawberry looking things which were splendid. We stayed up top for awhile just sitting in silence listening to the kids and enjoying the scenery. After many photos and laughs we headed back down and halfway I saw one of the most amazing things ever. A woman had 4 bricks at least 10 pounds on her head walking down the mountain. We got Nshimeye our artist/professional photographer to snap a photo.
When we got back home we eat their porridge and then I played with a group of the little ones on the trampoline, which we all find very fun. After awhile Donna, Harvin, Franny and I went to a pizza restaurant called Volcano Pizza with Norbert and his family. Now when people go to a restaurant in America they expect to be there for two hours at most. However, that is not the case in Rwanda. We ate a 3 or more hour lunch because we felt very obligated to continue conversing with our guests and it is rather rude to rush your departure in Rwanda. Don’t take this the wrong way though. We all love Norbert and it was a pleasure to meet his family for the first time (especially Norbert’s cute baby nephew). After our lunch we drove over to the church and began our new expedition.
Our group of four was in a van on the backside of the church at sundown with people walking by counting out 700,000 Rwandan francs and a few US hundred dollar bills for Norbert’s flight back to America. This was no easy task. Every franc was a 2,000 bill (about $3) because Donna wanted to finally dispose of them after years of being forced to exchange money for small bills and gathering more and more. We started just counting them out and more often than not losing track of what number we were on, causing us to start all over again. Then out of the blue Harvin came up with a brilliant idea to count out 10 francs and fold the tenth around the other 9 to hold them. After we finished our counting we walked into the dark church with literally ‘a block of francs’. We had a little confusion of where to go but finally made it to Milly, a very nice lady who had actually quit her high paying job at Compassion in Kigali to come and be Bishop’s assistant in the church. Then we drove to get gas and air for the van, but there was a complication that we have been dealing with a lot. Very few here know English well, so Harvin did some odd gestures and they soon figured it out.
Then it came, the most chaotic moment all week… Thank you notes. I thought it would be done very soon and we could move on, but I was very wrong. Many of the beloved little ones wrote on already finished thank you notes and they needed to redo them. Others needed help with sponsor names and spelling. However, the effort of all the kids was wonderful. They all wanted to do the best they could and return what they could to their sponsors.
I have personally seen all the joyful faces when they open their backpacks to see what they get for the year. Whether it be school fees, clothes, or some other form of support for these kids I would like to thank you for all you have done. It really means a lot to the kids.