Monday, January 06, 2014

December/January Summary filled with love.

Hi have never been such a slacker with posts, but as you can imagine when doing this solo the days are packed so I will try for a witten recap here and then post pics when I have better internet.

Here are some highlights from the last few days.

Quality time
Given the rain, this trip has provide me with more quality time with the kids.  They are getting the feel for their new home and now will go take a nap in the afternoon if they need it so just go hang there to read something etc.  I have been able to just wander in and get some chat time.  The subject vary, but I feel more connected to each child than I have had the opportunity on most trips. This home has created a real sense of security and peace for these kids. You can feel it.  It’s such a good good thing.

 The Janssen family sent along Monopoly on  my last trip.  I wasn’t get to get to it and feared it would be too advanced for even the big kids, but oh was I wrong. They love love love love love the game. I forgot how many lessons it teaches.  First, these kids don’t have access to any money so having even play money in their hands is strangely empowering. Making change is important. I am the bank to sometimes I give them the wrong change intentionally to see if they notice. It’s become a game unto itself.  Buying property is a thrill for them. Adding homes is a huge deal and of course getting rent from people land on their property sends them over the moon.  They can’t get enough of it – I think it even comes close to computer time!

If you are friends with me on facebook, you see that we celebrated Christmas on January 1.  Talk about a 2for1kinda day.  We started the day at church – piling 28 kids and 3 adults into a van that is supposed to max out at 18.  The kids sang Happy Birthday to Kristen Cavallo enroute to church. 

After church we had a special, quality meal.  I tossed some funds into the pot and we enjoyed rice, beef, chicken, ubugali and more.  The anticipation was building.  Next we gathered at the cute little Christmas tree and began with some commentary.  I reminded the kids about the true meaning of Christmas – which certainly is not these presents but the birth of a king. I also reninded them that these presents were NOT from me. They were from some very special people in America that sent their love.  That God had touched their hearts to serve has His hands and bless their Christmas.  Next Chantal spoke and praised God for the birth of His Son.  Next Mama and the 2 Aunties spoke giving Praise and Thanksgiving and asked that all the sponsors be blessed for helping these kids.  And finally Daddy Bishop gave some lessons and encouragement.  Fabiola served as the translator throughout and did a fine job.

Fabiola did a bible reading in English and Isaac did one in Kinyawranda.

Then came the time.
Peace called 2 kids at a time. They came up to take a pic by the tree and then each sat on a chair while I took pic with my phone and Sande took with one of the cameras.

You can only begin to imagine the production/chaos that comes from this type of event.  The energy, the glee, the joy, the pure chaos.

And if that is wasn’t enough to top their day, I brought out a big bag filled with wonderful sports things from a former neighbor of mine growing up. Steve Addyman.  He had rallied his friends to bring donations of footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets etc etc.  The big kids thought it was the coolest and immediately began to try to play tennis on the driveway and Frisbees at 3 difference places in the yard.  It was really a special donation as Steve and I haven’t heard from each other in years and became connected through facebook last year where he gave me endless grief that the kids needed a basketball court.  And so it began.  Thanks Steve and friends.

I am so grateful to my colleagues who donated 5 more used laptops to the kids.  Of all the presents I bring to the kids, the laptops are the most important as they teach the kids skills that they will need for the future.  They learn about keyboard hand placement etc etc.  I am trying to look for more educational games that we can download if you have any used ones around your home that your kids have outgrown.

And of course, they were really excited about these computers as the DVD players in them could also be used to watch some of the DVDs I brought while the others did not.

From the bottom of my heart I am so grateful to my colleagues to this precious gift.
Kibeho for me is a very special part of my trips to Rwanda.  For those of you are  new to this story.  Kibeho is a place where Mary (ya,, that  Mary) appeared to some high school students between 1981 and 1989.  Many people have heard about places like Fatima, Lourdes, Majegoria etc, but few know of her appearances here.  If you are curious about the subject, buy Immaculee Illibegiza’s book about it. 

That’s the background.  I was traveling to Rwanda for a few years before I heard of this place and it’s story.  I know go each time I am here. It is a 6 hour drive and I trade off taking the big kids on each trip.  We rotate about 7 at a time. The older they get the easier the trip becomes. I woke them at 4:45 AM and we were on the road by 5:30AM.  It rare that we get a start time within the hour of plan so getting off within 10 mins of our goal was amazing.  They kids are full of AM energy, then the Bonine kicks in and they sleep of the rest of the way, expect for the occasional potty stop and “I’m hungry Miss Donna”.

The last 18k is a rough road – not nearly as rough as it used to be, but it still take a long time. About 1.5 hours. It’s rainy season so the bumps, slippery mud holes ensure we are all awake!

Our primary reason for the visit is to visit with one of the original visionaries – Anathalie.  She saw Mary around age 15 and is turning 50 this year.  She stays in a small home and people come from around the world to experience the power that is Kibeho, visit the church and chapel, but also with a hope to perhaps see Anathalie or if extra lucky to talk to her and hear her story. She has become my friend and the kids and I come to teach her English now. Our time together is anywhere from 30 mins if she is really busy with other visitors or 3 hours if we find a time at the end of they day where she can close her place and just be with us.  She loves seeing the kids each time and they ask her all sorts of kid like questions which she answers with great care. Then we have our English lesson.  I wish I could spend a few days with her, but alas time does not permit as we leave at 5 AM the next day. 

But we love our time with her.
We pray for each other and send our love and goodbyes.

I occasionally text her from America .  It’s brings me great joy when I get the random one from her.

We stay at the Cana house near by and the kids just love the adventure of it.

We also take the long walk down a muddy path to a beautiful setting  any healing water. 

We met a missionary from New Mexico that has been working in Nairobi for the last 2 years. She joined us on our adventure.

She also took us to a new bakery down the road from where we stay. It was simply beautiful. Spotless in cleanliness and brilliant in it’s efficiency. Men come and cut huge piles of wood, it is then loaded into a big fire place where the bread is cooked. They make a fried bread in back in a huge pot atop another kindling fire.

It will be a new favorite stop for us to have some bread for our return each trip.

We returned to Kibeho vis Kigali and stopped by my friend Abraham’s store to buy some jewelry that he had been working on for me.  I am trying to help his small business with council from Amercia. He is a serious entrepreneur and  dreams big, just like it should.

Returning home the kids run to greet us and all is again right in the world.

The Desami Twins

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