Saturday, July 31, 2010

A servant's heart

This a delayed entry by Miss Donna. Abby/Sarah...please tell the kids I loved their entry!!!

Today was a very special day for our kids. Today was about giving back and showing their Mama, Aunties and Uncles that they love them very much.

We told that cook Manuel that the Muzongos were going to cook a special dinner so they should all come to the classroom around 6 pm .

That concept sounds easy but it’s all about the execution as you know. Sarah, our forever ringleader and organizer put the list of to-dos together and we divided up the jobs and went at it starting around 10 am.

Abby volunteered to go to Knokumott on a Moto (motorcycle) and get the meat, chicken and ice cream. Sarah had promised some of the kids yesterday that they could go to the produce market with her today so she lead that parade. I joined them but peeled off at the market with Kayitesi to get some material for our table cloth.

Sarah now had a regular person from who she was buyng produce so the negotiation went quite well. I had been in the material market 2 days prior but couldn’t get a good price on what I wanted (I kept telling them it was a Muzongoo price – white person price – and that I had visited Rwanda 6 times and knew what was fair. Today we were able to strike a deal. It was at just the moment that I realized we were to be skyping with Liles Repp and Sydney & Regan Hansen so we went rushing over Sarah and the kids and told them we needed to go back. Alice decided to join us on the return and we were off.

The menu we selected was based on suggestions from the kids, adults and Erica Mbanda. Meat and chicken are much appreciated by the staff. Kids have now had pizza 2 times and while not liking it the 1st time..they really enjoyed it the 2nd time so they asked to try it again. Pizza’s are 10US$ each so they aren’t cheap but Erica offered to pick them up for us in town so it seemed like an easy plan for 27 kids.

By the time the girls and I reached the gate, we they started yelling Abby Abby. Indeed Abby was just returning to the house on the Moto and we were all so impressed as she had been to town and back with the driver that didn’t speak any English. She explained to the Motor driver the she wanted him to drive her to Knokutt, wait for her and return to the house and she had BEATEN us home while were just had to walk 15 mins to the market. She received lots of cheers.

At home we skyped with Sarah and the girls and our girls loved talking to them. The connection was great and I think we could have have simply walked away and let them talk to each other for an hour. I love love love when that happens.

Next up was Liles. While his connection did not allow for us to hear his voice, he was able to hear us so he simply typed the words as text messages that they had to read and they would respond. It was a nice English lesson and the kids loved loved loved seeing him. We told him the $100us equivalent thst he sent along with me in left over Rwanda francs was being used to throw the party that night and it made him really smile.

By now it was 4 pm and there was much to do. Abby and Sarah started washing and cutting up vegetables. Lionel, Isaac and Sande had offered to help cut and cook and they were a huge help. They stayed focused for hours helping. Sarah and Abby have surely discovered some hidden talents. I love when volunteers find something new in our kids. We’ll now be able to pass that along to other people who come to help advance their skills.

I went to the classroom to start decorating with the kids. We took the small tables that the kids use to study and put them together to form one large table, then we put the table clothe over it, topped it with candles and then the kids made special place cards for each member of our staff. They put the name on the outside of the card and wrote I love you on inside each card and then decorated them with stickers and other fancy things. They were simply precious. They also moved the chock board to the end of the table and wrote “thank you for loving us” in Kinyarwanda.

Next up was to find enough plates and silverware from all the houses. In the end we had enough forks and plates but only about 5 knives to share. The finishing touch was to created some nice napkins presentation with some cheap paper ones I had bought in January. The kids patiently studied my pattern and did it pretty darn well.

Next I gathered all the kids and we made a plan for the night. They needed to understand that this was about giving back and having a servant heart so it was not abou them tonight it was about the adults.

Meanwhile Abby and and Sarah had a massive production going with Chips (French fried) meat and chicken. We laughed at the amount of meat we decided to buy and thought we would have enough leftovers for days. More about that later.

Manuel the regular cook stood by and oversaw their production helping out as needed. He was so full of joy that I can’t describe it. He literally skipped through the yard at one point. I asked him in Kinyarwanda if it was good and he was having fun. Yes Yes was his reply and gave me a big thumbs up. The look on his face was indescribable.

Erica arrived with the pizzas and everyone from the 2nd and 3rd house arrived so the party could begin. The kids made a line at the entrance (well sorta of a line..they are kids_ and the adults passed by them to enter the classroom and see it’s transformation. The each sat on the chairs (that are so short you could be sitting on the floor) and read their cards. Whoo hoo. Off to a good start. Next up 4 kids worked perfectly in unison – starting with Mommy – 1 held a bucket under her hands, the next poured some water to allow her to wash , one held some soap to wash and the next a towel to drive. The beautiful production was repeated with each adult. The expression on Mama’s face was complete pride and joy that the kids were doing such a good job. Next I shared in English, while Erica translated that tonight was about giving thanks to them for loving our kids and doing such a terrific job with it. Sande then lead us in prayer. Next the kids went running out of the classroom as a group to quickly go to Abby and Sarah so they could dish them up a mean for the adults. The adults asked that the little kids be served before they ate so we quickly sat them down and handed out the pizza. Then the kids line up and presentation of the plates began. One after another they filed in with a big serving of meat, chicken, rice and potatos. The adults loved loved loved it. In fact the only left overs was some chicken that was taking a long time to prepare. The food was a huge hit which is hard to do with this crowd.

Erica was a huge help with the kids, with translating and taking photos so we have some memories.

After dinner Mama started a spontaneous song that the others joined in with and before you know it EVERYONE was up dancing and singing. I pulled the drum down and one of the Aunties began to place it with such fervor that everything went to the next left. As they began to sing “we are one” in Kinyarwranda I unsuccessfully tried to hold back the tears of joy these people represent in my life. The appreciation I have for how well they care for our kids.

After about 20-30 mins of song and dance they sat back down and we did a little entertainment program. Sarah and Abby have discovered Lionels amazing dance skills and they cranked the itunes and let him take the floor. A bit timid at 1st he eventually got the courage from the cheering crowds to go for it. Abby and Sarah then did a duet “Down to the River” and received lots of cheers.

We decided to hold off on the ice cream as the evening seemed perfect as is and Abby and Sarah could use it for their departures or just another night of celebration.

The kids then filed out to help do dishes. Abby had sent up the perfect production line of wash, then rinse then dry. About 6 kids did the work with Abby and I providing some assistance. The adults decided it was time to get the little kids back to the other houses and came by to say thanks. The look on their faces when they saw what a good job the kids were doing with dishes was priceless.

In the end, the kids were very proud of their night and the adults understood that they were appreciated and clearly were so proud of each and everyone one of them. the kids for the time, effort and love they each put into it.

Abby, Sarah , Erica and I ended the night by cracking open a bottle of African wine I had bought in town earlier in the week. Ahhh, a very very very good day.

Notes to Donna from the kids :)

Hello everyone! Apologies for the lack of updates this week…. More are coming soon! In the meantime, Innocent, Isaac and Sande typed messages to Ms. Donna. (Nothing is edited!):

Hi Iam Innocent God bless you


Hi it is me Isaac, Innocent and Lionel we missed you so much.

Sarah and Abby are helping us and we are happy with them.

Please Donna may you come back we missed you so much and we love you so much.

Last evening when you were going to go back in Minesota in the morning we laughed so much because of what you showed us


To Donna.

HI am sande

HI Donna how are you now we want to skype with you we are praying For you that GOD can bless you so you can came on Christmas day. GOD you so much. Say harry to every body and Imissed you so much. You tell Krsten that we missed her so!!!!much and we want to skype with her. And tell Ian that I love hem so!!!?? Much and I am praying hem and GOD bless you so much!!?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

We are counting down Donna’s last days in Kigali and trying to check as much off our list as possible. First on the agenda was getting some video of the kids singing and saying some greetings. Donna’s going to turn the best of our cuts into a New Hope Homes video. The problem is the kids are SO tired of being videotaped! And rightfully so. Abby and I have been following everyone around with 2 digital SLR cameras, a video camera, 2 point and shoots, and a digital voice recorder. So I did the ultimate no-no. I bribed them. As soon as I told the older kids that I’d give em candy if the video turned out, the grimaces and eye-rolls were replaced with a sudden sense of urgency to perform!! Imagine that.

Momma Chantel stopped by to say hi (more pictures and video). Even on just a stop by she’s busy settling disputes between children and makes sure each gets a hug before she leaves. Chantel took Sande and Kayatesie with her when she left because their older brother and sister had stopped by to visit. It was heartbreaking to watch the affect this had on Alice (7). I couldn’t tell if she was tired or sad, but she finally cuddled up to me and said, “they never come to visit me”. When I asked her who, she responded her aunt and uncle and proceeded to tell me a little bit about her family. It’s hard to know how to respond when a child is open about something so truly painful. These kids are generally so happy and well behaved, it’s easy to forget about the private battles they fight on the inside. Even for a 7 yr old, there is deep pain in being abandoned and forgotten, especially by family. These are strong kids to endure all this. Oh, and btw, Alice is still 1st in her class! She showed me her marks today. Way to go Alice!!

The day continued with lots of quality time with kids. Physical touch, affirmations, new games, music, etc. Donna and I got a good start organizing the bookshelf in the schoolroom. Admittedly, I’m a nerd and got distracted for a good 20 minutes by a book on the history of the alphabet. And then the kids went down for dinner. One of my new favorite times of day is the pre-bed-wind-down time with the older boys. Tonight we played some old school Monie Love and Lionel and Innocent showed off their hip-hop dance moves!! There’s a video somewhere, it’s unbelievable.

I just want to thank everyone for your thoughts and prayers as we continue with our time here in Kigali. It means a lot to have a community of support behind these kids and behind us as we are working here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A night on the town!

Sunday. What a day. It began with church. Both last week and today, we walked past the market and down the road to “Rwanda for Jesus.” What a great church! This is a different one from the one I attended last time, for those of you keeping track. We’re hoping to make it back there as well. Rwanda for Jesus has two services: one in English and one in Kinyarwanda. Last week and today, we hit the tail end of the English service (for the muzungu’s benefit!) and stayed for the Kinyarwanda portion. The church is alive and flourishing. The kids really like Sunday School. The walk to and from church is a long one for the littlest kids. I pulled Ingabire along for most of the walk home, but toward the end, her tired eyes won me over, enough so that I hoisted her up on my shoulders. I got a lot of laughs from passer-bys. I believe the translation of what they were saying: “look at that white person with an African baby on her shoulders!” I just smile and laugh along with them. 

After church it was a lunch of chips (French fries) and sauce (tomatoes and beef). It is the kids’ favorite and they lapped it up with fervor. Manuel is a great cook! Nap time was next… for everyone. As we rested up at our house, we found out that we could get tickets for the FESPAD festival. And the headliner was…. Lauryn Hill! (!!!) For those of you that know me, you know she is one of my most favorite all time artists. Thanks to Erica (Chantal’s daughter) we secured tickets, hopped on a moto, and headed to Kigali’s beautiful stadium. I love riding by moto! Contrary to what I’ve heard, my driver was actually very cautious.

At “the stad” (stadium), we joined a rather short line of people to get into the concert. The line, however, quickly turned into a mob of people very determined to get in. We stuck together and made it into a line to get searched and patted down. After making it through security, yet another mob formed, which could have quickly turned into a stampede. Thankfully, we made it through and got into the concert area. Lauryn Hill was sound checking. I was in disbelief…. I am in Kigali’s stadium. Lauryn Hill is literally 30 feet away from me. Unbelievable.

We settled into our seats and listened to the 5 acts before Lauryn. The standout was Mike-E, an Ethiopian-born, now Detroit-based rapper / spoken word artist. His lyrics were incredible – SO relevant to Rwanda and inner city areas in the states. Do yourself a favor and look him up! Lauryn Hill came on after midnight. I can’ t think of a better performer to bring to Kigali. Her lyrics are critical and empowering. She sang “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do…” What a powerful message to sing to a country in the trenches of forgiveness.

I’m not going to lie, it was an incredibly late night, and after an (expensive) taxi ride home, we crawled into our beds and barely hit the pillow before sleep set in. I never expected to have this kind of day in Rwanda, how amazing.


Saturday, July 24, 2010


We began the day today with three tasks: wash our clothes, organize shoes for the kids, and go to the market to buy vegetables. I am proud to say all three tasks were accomplished! But of course, nothing ever goes as easy as you’d hope. And there are always lessons to be learned.

When Abby and I woke up this morning, Donna had already headed out to the market to look for fabric and take some pictures. After a few cups of tea (I’m a caffeine addict) I finally felt human enough to begin washing clothes. The process: find water, pour water from huge jugs into washing basin, find soap, soak clothes in soapy water, use bar soap and rub on clothes, use fists to rub pieces of clothes together until dirt is removed, rinse clothes until all soap is gone, hang to dry. To sum it all up, LENGTHY!! I can’t believe how hard these aunties work to wash clothes for themselves and the 27 children. I thought I could rest easy, all my laundry done, 4th or 5th cup of tea in hand, when I realized that the piece of paper with all of Sister Nathalie’s contact information (refer to yesterday’s post) was in the back pocket of the jeans I just washed. I ran to my jeans and pulled out a soggy, crumpled mess that used to be a piece of paper. Face gray, heart stopped, body sweating profusely, I grabbed Abby’s tweezers and set to work (see pic). I don’t think I even breathed until I finished. But, thank the Lord, I was able to spread it enough to copy the information in my notebook. (I can’t even describe the look on Donna’s face throughout all of this. She is a woman of unbelievable grace)

After we all calmed down, we began the arduous task of finding tennis and dress shoes for all the kids in their right sizes. We’ve been at this for a while. Most of the kids are wearing shoes that are too small, some as much as 2-3 sizes. We searched through bags in the storage room and found the right shoes for most of the kids. Some will have to make do with shoes that are a little too small or too big until we can find the right ones.

We also took Sande, Marie Rose, Fabiola, and Alice with us to the market. Donna is so much fun to walk the streets of Kigali with. She doesn’t know a stranger and she’s constantly making new friends with her camera! There were crowds of people around her while Abby and I were picking out produce. What a great sight! It’s inspiring to see how committed Donna is to getting to know the community surrounding New Hope Homes. The busy day kept going. Donna hosted a market for all the staff at NHH. They all got to pick a number and come pick out a gift from her “market”. Everyone had such a blast! The aunties and uncles were laughing so hard. We were also celebrating the day with a movie night for everyone. Kids made jiffy pop over the charcoal stove, played with dress up masks, and then we all sat in the classroom and watched part of Toy Story together. Sande ditched the movie to help me cook some of Donna’s meat. He was great. While we cooked, I asked him about what he wants to be when he grows up. He responded either a football man or a bishop. All of these kids have such powerful stories. As an American, you usually hear about kids in poverty in numbers. So many kids go to bed hungry, blank amount of kids are orphaned by violence or disease. It rocks your world a bit when these kids stop being numbers. They are Sande, the 11 year old who wants to be a bishop, and Alice, the 6 year old who loves dancing and having her hand held. There are 25 other kids like these at NHH. All with hopes, dreams, and fears. All unique, all wanting to be loved.

So while my task-oriented side celebrates that we crossed everything off the day’s list, I am also humbled by remembering that there is a greater purpose behind what we do here. The kids these homes are serving are real, just born in a different country and in a different context than the ones I see running around Minneapolis.

Sarah trying to piece together the paper with the Visionary's contact info from yesterday. Thanks for the tweezers Abby
Movie Night - Toy Story - complements of Kristen Cavallo Abby and Sarah's yummy stir fry Jiffy Pop works like a charm on our charcoal stove Sarah cooking with the kids
Sande learning to cook with Sarah Abby doing dishes Claude washing Our milk delivery person. A 45 min ride each way to the cows.

Lot of interesting ways to carry chicken.

Yesterday we had lunch a restaurant in Kibeho. We ordered chicken. We had to wait 50 mins for them to 1st kill it, then pluck it, the cook it. Ahh, simple pleasure.

A place to fall in love with - Rwanda

Market and More

Soak in the beauty of Rwanda

Beautiful sights of Rwanda

Friday, July 23, 2010

Anathalie - one of the Visonaries.

The beautiful grounds of Our Lady of Kiebho

You may have heard of Fatima, Lourdes and our Lady of Guadalupe…but did you know there was/is Our Lady of Kibeho?

Donna here -Today’s entry is a serious entry. It’s an honest sharing of faith. Feel free to skip this one if it’s not your cup of tea – and join us tomorrow.

I think it was about my 3rd or 4th trip to Rwanda that some people asked me if I had been to Kiebho. Had I heard about Mary (as in the Virgin Mary’s) appearances there? “Nope” was my reply and I let it slide. Then I googled it and saw that it far from our New Hope Homes in Kigali and let it slide. I also learned that Immaculee Imabegeza – the Author of Left to Tell – the story of her survival for nearly 100 days in the 4x5 ft bathroom with 7 other women during the genocide – had written a book about it.

So on my last here in January we did a road trip to Kiebho with Kristen Cavallo and our big kids. You can read the humorous in a prior blog. I didn’t really know much at the time other than Mary had appeared to some young girls there in the early 80’s and in it’s height 100,000’s of pilgrims would come to this site. I also learned that one of the young girls – now grown was still on site to meet visitors. It sounded amazing.

On that trip we just missed the woman, but toured the grounds with the kids and learned more about the story from a young boy who followed our group around and then our kids translated for us.

Today was different.

Today was well prepared for what was to come. I had read Imaculee’s book 2 times and was attempting to begin to comprehend what was in store for us. I also prayed that with no warning that Anathalie would be here today and I could meet here. Passengers for this trip were Abby, Sarah and Chantal’s daughter Erica. All woman of faith and open to understanding more about the Catholic tradition and what the day was about.

The trip took 3 hours with the last 45 mins a dirt road, but substantially improved from my last visit. When we arrived a the beautiful mountain top I paused to soak it in this time. We approached the beautiful church and took in the grounds which were mainly vacant. We asked through a translator is Anathalie was here today and was told she was not yet here. I breathed in and thought…ok, well if it’s meant to be it will be. We make a quick stop at the “squatty potty’ as Sarah calls them and when we returned our driver informed us that she was here! My heart lept for joy and I began to ensure I had everything I needed. We knocked on the door and she welcomed us.

I was hoping to skype my parents in to listen (yes…we now have a modem) but were informed that the church must pre-approve any recordings etc …so skyping would seem a bit too much. She then asked us to turn off our phones and those with gum to remove it was we were in a holy place. We sat on chairs and just soaked the love. She lead us in a prayer in Kinyarwanda and then I thanked God for her and all that she is doing to share the story.

After prayer she asked (Erica and our driver Gilbert translated) what we would like to know. I asked her to simply share her story. She began with how Mary 1st appeared to her when she was 17 years old. If you read the book or fan our Lady of Kibeho on facebook you can learn about the other visionaries.

Mary’s message was to love each other and to trust in God. She also wanted people to pray the rosary ever day. The rosary she was particularly fond of is the 7 sorrows. Those are the sorrows that Mary experienced as the Mother of Christ taking us on the journey of Simeon fortelling of his birth, his role in history and the death he would endure…all the way thru his burial. She told Anathelia that life can come times be hard. That we have burdens to bear – but in those sufferings we should connect to Christ’s suffering for our sins.

We asked her to describe what Mary looked like. She paused and said…there are no words to describe her beauty. That she was like a young girl, but full of such wisdom and maturity. Her skin was neither black nor white. She wore a white long dress with a blue head scarf that came to the ground. She was very tall. There was a light around her yet not too bright as to block her eyes from seeing her.

If you read the book you will learn lots more about her many appearances and how the church came to sanction them etc etc. You will also learn how she foretold of the genocide that was to become.

We asked about how she survived the genocide as over 20,000 people were killed in the hills near here and 200,000 in that region of the country. She said the military came an encircled their small area to protect it. She would have to sneak out late at night if she wanted to help someone. She said death was all around her. Then the military men switched sides and became quite violent. In that window of time she was able to sneak out and get to safety with some other nuns.

The shine area was then closed for quite some time after the genocide.

Anathalie returned and intend to be here until the day she dies to speak with visitors who come. Imagine taking the that commitment as a 17 year old. Today we believe she is about 45.

Continuing on, we asked her about the songs she used to sing to Mary. She talked about some of the songs Mary liked to hear. I asked her if she would sing one of the songs that Mary taught her and she agreed. She paused and found her sweet voice and sang. I practically melted in the moment trying to imagine her learning this song from Mary and now sharing it with us. In the moment, I forgot to ask the meaning. In the book there quite of few songs listed that will have to do.

She told us that Mary would talk about ‘watering the flowers’. It was a way she bestowed blessings on people as the Visionaries would sprinkle people with water. Mary said we call needed water ask some people a fragile, others are strong but we all need water to thrive.

She also talked about how important it is to convert our hearts and have faith.

Anathalie spent about 40 mins with us just patiently answering our question and being present. In the end, I told her that I had timed the trip to celebrate my Dad’s near death experience 3 years ago next week and how he was a believer and prayed the rosary every day. I also shared how Mary came to my Aunt to tell him that Mary had told her that he would survive and shared what she had told us about those messages. She listened attentively.

When we finished, I bought some rosaries and other memorabilia and then asked we could take a photo. She agreed.

In her presence, there was an aura much like I felt when I was with a neighbors Dad when he was dying. A fullness of heart and bit of light headedness. I asked the group if they felt the same. They did too and we assumed it was because we were hungry and thirsty

I was able to quickly phone Mom and Dad and simply allow Dad to say hello to her. She simply said Hello Matt – and I’m sorry – as she didn’t speak any English. YEAH Dad…a least he was able to have 1 personal moment with her.

After our goodbye hugs I the rest of our group went in search of lunch and I just wanted to be present and soak it in. I sat in the outside courtyard at the top of the hill where there are benches in a circle surrounding a statue of Mary. There are flower beds under the statue with 7 petals. Anathalie has explained earlier that those are for the 7 sorrows and the star in the middle was to reflect Mary’s visit to this remote part of Africa. Then I went to the chapel and back outside to pray the rosary. I had sent all the rosaries back with the rest of our group so I did as my Father has told me many times…You have 10 fingers…the work perfectly to pray the rosary.

As I was sitting there, Anathalie came over and just held my hand for a bit and then gave me a hug. I kept trying to say “God Bless You” in Kinyarwanda but kept messing up. She giggled and kept trying to help me through the tough part. As she hugged me again I felt that same overwhelming feeling – very powerful.

About 30 mins later we met for the 3rd time and she pointed out where the Nuns live and tried to tell me something…but alas, without a translator it was lost. I tried my “God bless you” again and she giggled again and held my hands looking into my eyes to try to help me through it. Again the overwhelming feeling.

As she left me I stood there knowing that I will again return. She gave me her mailing address and mobile so I can coordinate next time.

I walked the grounds and tried to imagine what it was like when Mary was here and what the sights and sounds were during the genocide. With the exception of being in the city center, Rwanda is very quiet. At night you can a voice travel for a long long way. A barking down way down the street sounds like it’s right next door. So I tried to imagine that horrific sounds of the night that filled this landscape for 100 days 16 years ago. I would imagine it’s a sound you will never get out of your head.

I returned to the group for lunch – more about that tomorrow…some funny stuff.

And then we went to the school where the girls studied and saw that was left of it form the genocide. Next to it a church where 5000 people were killed. All of this just a few football fields away from where Nathalie had been for most of that time.

Next we went a few Kilometers down the road to the Cana Center. A priest made a journey to this area 20 years ago and felt he was called to stay. The grounds are stunning. It featured an 18 ft tall statue of Jesus with “I trust you Jesus” inscribed at his feet. The statue was made in Chicago. There is also a church built by a man in the states who had an incurable blood disease and after these people prayed he has a full recovery. We rang the bell to meet the priest and he toured Abby and I all over the grounds as he shared his vision for the location. After 20 years they just got electricity 10 days ago and that is sure to make a huge difference.

Abby was trying to learn if the Visitation Nuns that live in her Neighborhood in North Mpls happened to be the nuns here tending to our Lade of Kibeho as those nuns asked her to bring greetings to there sisters in Rwanda. Alas it is not that group but told us where their two cloistered communities are. Next time Abby ☺

For me this was a very personal journey. I have shared it with you as best I am able. I know much of what I have shared is hard to comprehend, but I do believe it. Fully. I took on this journey as another step in faith to thank God for giving us a second chance to get our lives right as a family when he brought my Dad back from near dear 3 years ago July 26th. I thank Mary in her role of providing proper notice so we could get Dad back from Arkansas and to the Mayo for treatment.

It’s all a bit to much to soak in at the moment. I don’t know if you will have taken the time to reach the end of this entry. If you have, then I hope somehow it has strengthened your faith or perhaps made you a bit more curious.

And bit about the rosary. Know that Mary wanted everyone to learn to pray it. She did not see if as a “Catholic thing” . Abby , Sarah and Erica asked that I teach them. I am delighted to as I just learned it 3 years ago during Dad’s recovery and treasure it.

Ps Imaculee is leading a retreat to Kibeho on the 30th of this month. You can learn more on her facebook page or her blog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The most exciting moment of Donna's trip. This is Desami. He is a twin that has serious challenges. One of them is a foot that is curled up and prevents him from standing. We started PT in January and he now wears a boot. This is the FIRST time I have ever seen him stand up. While he certainly can not yet bear his own weight his foot has never touched the ground before and he would wail in pain if you ever tried to get him to do it. Look at this sweet boy. Every dollar of PT shows on his amazing smile. Patty and Chris Janssen family - I did NOT put this Tshirt on him...was so so thrilled to see him wearing it today. WHOO HOO. Donna and Laurent Mbanda. The founder of CALM and the new Bishop of a big part of Rwanda Sarah cooking on the charcoal stove.
Abby and Sarah cooked for "Miss Donna" tonight. Yum Abby giving the kids a ride on a bike tonight The little kids decide to give Abby a new 'do' Anna leading the group in a tough game of hangman (what a terrible name for a great game) Abby is a blessing to our kids. She is SUCH a GREAT teacher. Abby doing a wonderful job teaching school Sarah home from the produce market. It's a long walk with very heavy bag. Elections for the President are next week. Here is a booth for the current President Paul Kagame.