Monday, January 02, 2012

The Road to Kibeho + Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

The Road to Kibeho The road to Kibeho is a really special adventure I do every time I come to Rwanda. Kibeho is a very very special place. In the early 80’s Mary…as in…yes Mary the Mother of Jesus appeared here for many years.

It’s a long wonderful story and there is a great book Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee that gives it a much better texture than I can. The extra special part is that one of the Visionaries…who was just 17 when Mary appeared to her is still there. She greets visitors and shares the story over and over again.

The other special part is we get nearly 4 hours in the van with about 7 kids each time. They have a rotating schedule. It’s great quality family fun time. We play “I am thinking of something…you know…person, place, thing or animal”. Tell stories, ask questions, sleep and on every single trip but this one…the sweet kids vomit multiple times. They never cry, they just barf and get on with it. I have gotten smart by giving them each a Ziploc bag which beautifully seals in the contents and smell! But today….ZERO VOMITING.

Harv road shotgun on the way up and I did it on the way back.

We got some really special time with Anathalie – the Visionary as she shared her stories, let us ask her questions including how she survived the genocide. This is usually not a question you ask people but in this setting it was ok as our driver – John, lost both his parents and all his brothers and sisters in the genocide. He is 29 years old and doing great things to uplift his life including being a driver when needed for New Hope Homes.

After our visit the sent the kids to give Harv a tour while Anathalie and I spent a bit more time together and I bought some more rosaries. They are a special kind of rosary called the Seven Sorrows. Google it if you want to know more or shoot me a note on She asked why I was delayed as she expected to see me before Christmas and she ‘waited for me’. How sweet is that? We also tried to call my parents …yes at 4:45 in the AM so she could greet them for their anniversary, but alas, they never heard the phone ring. She doesn’t know how to speak English but she is learning from a book I gave her. In August I brought 100 postcards each of some photos that she wanted. Turns out their were a hit in her little gift shop, so she asked if I would make some more and put a little story on the back.

Time in the presence of this woman is something to savored. Something to really slow down and understand. Then some prayer time in the Chapel and Church while Harv and kids went to our favorite lunch spot with a stunning view of the hills.

We took some fun pics, Harv taught Marie Rose to salsa dance and we had a wonderful time just being there.

Last stop was about 10 mins up the road to see “big Jesus”. I know he has a more appropriate name, but that’s what I call him with the kids. It is HUGE…I mean towerling…metal statue of Jesus that overlooks the land. We had to go see this again. The kids were very respectful and said a prayer for Harv to find a perfect new job. Then a tour of the church and outdoor manger scene that wasn’t quite live size, but it is big. The kids got into the scence and we snapped some pics.

The road back was a repeat of the outbound. Love, goofiness, sleeping and NO vomit.

Returning home we were greeting with big hugs and no jealousy from the big kids who didn’t go on this trip as they know they will be there next time.

We capped off the evening with the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks which was a hit with the kids and aunties.

Time with these kids is so special. So many people ask what they can do when the come visit and I simply say…love our kids, play with our kids, let them read to you, wrap your arms around them and simple be present. Not all volunteers understand this, but Harv does in spades. I simply can not express what a blessing he is to all our kids…big, little, girls and boys. The connection was instantaneous and he really knows how to connect with them. Given that fact that he spontaneously decided to do this trip with less than a weeks notice, it is simply beautiful to see.

Tomorrow’s Agenda: teach school, go to the outdoor market and buy some fresh fruit, say goodbye to Erica Mbanda and spend some time with her brothers and the kids. Abby is in Uganda until Wednesday so we’ll rock and roll with some more things when she returns.

Thanks for sharing in our journey.

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