Thursday, December 31, 2009


Literally and Figuratively. Literally Somewhere in transit I left my voicebox. What is left resembles a tired old baratone. Hopefully it will return quickly. Figuratively Upon arrival I was greeted by Chantal and Mbanda. I had sent them several emails to NOT come to the airport at 2:30 in the AM to pick me up, rather send a driver. But as always, their hearts are too big to contain and they arrived. We hugged and hugged and hugged. I am so happy to be here. Getting through customs was a bit of a challenge given that I am one person traveling with 7 monster size bags. But after about 30 minutes of my best Kinyarwanda and photos of the kids they let me pass. Visiting with Chantal and Mbanda is simply like coming home. They have adjusted the sleeping arrangements so the volunteers are now at the 1st house and the kids are in the 2nd and 3rd…so I am staying in the room that I first stayed in 4 years ago. Sweet memories. Jean Pierre met us at the gate and greeted me with a hello, how are you in English. He was one of my most diligent students. Dear dear Claudine was the next to greet me. She is one of the Auntie’s and full of the love of God. We hugged….neither of us wanted to let go. I sent Chantal and Mbanda on their way as I started to get settled in. Sleep was of course futile as I was like a kid at Christmas thinking that Santa had delivered the prezzies, but I couldn’t go down and see them. in this case, the prezzies were simply getting my arms around the kids. As the rooster cock-a-doodledooed the daybreak hours later I went to greet the kids. As I walked to the compound I soaked in the simple pleasures of life in Rwanda. Beautiful people walking to and fro, remnants of the morning rain lingered with sun sparkling off of it. As I approached the compound I wondered if the old truck would still be rusting on the corner. Check. Double check. Still there. Progress comes slowing and quickly in this country. I took a deep breath and listened to the laughter of the kids behind the gate. I reminded myself to have no expectations. They may not remember me. They may be distant. As I banged on the metal gate I heard Fabiola and called her name. They kids came running and warmly welcomed Miss Donna with so much love. Later that told Chantal that they loved me this much…you know…the kind where you stretch your arms out as far as you can to show that it’s a lot. The walked through the compound the squeals of various kids as I found them in some stage of getting ready for the morning. The weaker of the Desami twins is getting stronger. Yeah. So much to learn about each child to see how they are doing. The kids at the boarding school are home until the end of January and are using the time wisely. THEY are teaching the kids in the classroom each day. More to report as the days go on. For now, know that I where I belong on this New Years Eve. In the country and with the people that have captured my heart and love. It’s the perfect way to ease into a new decade. (That's not to say that I don't love America and my family and friends get it.)

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