Friday, August 08, 2014

Let the adventure begin – by Donna

Let the adventure begin – by Donna

9 supply bags, 4 volunteers and the hearts of so many people go with us as we set on for another trip to Rwanda.

Havin – back again! His 5th trip.  But, it’s been a year so he is wondering how the kids of grown.

Eli – Harvin’s 17 year old nephew. His 1st trip outside of the U.S. Wow, way to sing up for an extended haul for your 1st adventure.

Franny – A 17 year old friend of a neighbor and ours who have been raising money to help Sala and Mwami with their school fees and annual needs.

The trip was a bit more complicated in that Harvin and I wanted to attend a friends wedding in Chicago Friday night. This meant we needed to find a way to get all 9 bags to Chicago so we didn’t have to pay double fees.  Eli’s mom and dad to the rescue. They drove Eli and all 9 bags to Chicago in the bed of their covered pick up truck.

Saturday AM we were off!  Franny connected with us in Chicago and away we went.

The trip is basically 2 – 8.5 hour flights, plus a 4 hour layover and then a 2.5 hour drive to our home in Musanze.

Arriving in Kigali, Harvin was especially happy with the surprise I had planned. Norbert, his brother Albert, Albert’s fiancé, Halima and their friend Wilson all met us at the airport.  Halima was holding the New Hope Homes sign.  It was such a joy for him to meet Halima who will be the next student from Sonrise School in Rwanda to attend St. Olaf College in Mn.  Both Norbert and Halima will be traveling back with us.  Our good friend Kevin from KLM joined us for a coke and Fanta before we set out on our drive.

Eli and Franny were troopers taking the windy road to our home in pitch black in style. All good.

As we pulled off the road to get to our house, Harvin said, “I sure miss arriving home when the kids were still awake”.  It was 11:30 PM so we knew there was no hope that it could be true.

Instead however, were we surprised. The first sign was a piece of paper in the door greeting us. It was however, not taped to the door, it appeared to be moving in a hand.  Next, while the lights were off, we heard lots and lots of giggling.  As I opened the door they scattered and then Harvin said “I see you. I see you” to which they came running with a small box of flower petals and threw them up in the air over each of us. It was so sweet. There  were also welcome signs for us and a portrait of me by Nshiyme.

The big kids helped get our supply bags into storage and gave good night kisses. It was just what these weary bodies needed to end the journey.

Franny is sleeping in the top bunk in one of the girls room and Eli is in a bed in Harvin’s room.

This morning we were greeting by the songs of the little girls.  Their favorite songs are by our friend Sophie from Australia who made a recording when she was here in Rwanda.

After morning porridge.  Franny, Eli, Harvin and I headed to the market to get some pineapples and bananas.  Harvin and Eli took the scooter while I drove Franny and some of the big kids.  It was a great chance to show Franny and Eli a different kind of market from which they are used to in the States.   We entered the gates to see all of the stands with people everywhere.  Everything is negotatied and we are proud that we now get local prices vs Muzongo (white people) prices.  Pineapples are about 70 cents each with a small bunch of small bananas a bit less.  We also bought the kids their favorite treat – apples!  One apple is the same cost as whole pineapple. The kids simply love them. Harvin’s mom sent along the money to give the kids this treat.  We will share them tomorrow.

In route to pick up water, Harvin and Eli had a flat on the scooter. It was perfect that we also had the van  with us.  In Africa, everything takes some extra time so simply replacing the tube on the inside of the tire requires 2-3 stops. Lots of people studying it. Identifying that we had also bent the rim on the tire thus causing the flat.  After waiting for about an hour as people assessed the situation, we decided to leave the scooter in town as a new tube would come via bus this afternoon.

Back at home the kids had lunch and then we played on the trampoline, goofed around in the yard playing a combo of hide n seek/tag.  Mama Chantal came for a nice visit and then we sent Lionel back to school. He is in P6 so he must study for his national exams – a critical rite of passage in the country. 

We had to run to town to upload a video that I needed to send and get our computer working a bit better.  This trip meant Franny and Eli had a chance to make their 1st purchases.  Some of the big kids escorted them to get water, recharge minutes for the phone and Harvin’s favorite hot sauce.  We of course were a bit cruel and had them go back for each of these one at time…kinda like a scavenger hunt to they could get their bearings.  They did AWESOME.

Dinner was followed by watching the 1st hour of FROZEN. Thanks Christian for sending it with me. They can’t wait to see the end.

The big kids get 30 minutes extra to stay awake after the little kids go to sleep so we decided to try a new game. Guesstures! It was too funny. The kids have never played charades  before so it was great humor for them to try to get the concept.  The 1st match ended in a tie. Tomorrow will be a rematch.


Soooo, day one is complete. Weary traveling souls filled with abundant peace and joy for being here with the kids and family of New Hope Homes.  Life is indeed very simple here, very sweet and abundantly blessed.

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