Rwanda Five

Published November 12, 2016 by webbie in Intimations

 

name-change

 

Rwanda 5 blog from July 2016

 

 

 Rwanda map

Goma
Goma

Apprehensive is an understatement when it comes to describing how I felt about travelling to the DRC from Rwanda. As our first week in Rwanda rolled in, little stories began to trickle through about how safe it was to travel there and I did have second thoughts about going.I just had to go with it.

I had to trust in God and God was faithful to us every day and delivered us through all the worries and fears that popped up as we went along.

Hospital
Hospital
Hope Village
Hope Village
congo
Children of Liberty

The group I was with and the people that were guiding us were amazing. The people that we met in the villages we travelled too had far bigger smiles than I ever thought I would see in such desperate conditions. We visited a newly built hospital and maternity ward in the middle of nowhere in the shadow of the still active volcano. We met a group of kids called The Children Of Liberty who had been rescued from the life of being a child soldier and sang praises to Jesus for their new lives. We listened to and prayed with woman who had survived the most harrowing ordeals of rape and violence and were left with the babies and the stigma of their terrible experiences.

I still haven’t really processed everything I saw and felt while I was away. It was an assault on the senses and on reflection I’m really glad that I went. Please pray for all these people, they really need it. To find out more about how you can help the people of Goma through sponsorship and donation, have a look at the Comfort Rwanda Congo website. Thank you as always for all your support.

16/7/2016 and finally

Last night in Kigali,been a busy and quick 2 weeks. Have met some lovely people and spent time with some great children, it's been an amazing experience with some sadness but mostly smiles, hugs and cuddles from the people we met.

At Airport now, flight due to take off 9:55 pm Rwanda time but 7hr stopover at Brussels. Not due in Edinburgh until about 3pm tomorrow. 

14/07/2016

Rwanda-map
Rwanda-map

up at 5:30am for a 6:30 start as we were spending the day at Akagera National Park. After about 2 and half hour drive we arrived at the park and spent the next 7 hours looking at birds Baboons, various breeds of Antelope etc, we eventually stopped at one of the lakes where we saw Hippo's in the water and could hear them calling it was a once in a life time experience.

It was a long and very dusty day as we did not arrive back at the Guest House until 8:45pm very dirty and very tired. 

15/7/2016

 

Bringing the cows in
Bringing the cows in
The first calf at the cattle project
The first calf at the cattle project

Went to the Good News cattle project this morning at Bugesera, this project has only been running for 3 years, but has had a few issues. The vision for this project is to breed their own cows and give them on to those in need in community under the Good News banner.

After leaving the project we visited the Memorial at Nyamata, this is a church building where 10,000 Tutsi's sought refuge and only 7 survived after an attack on the church by the Militia. The clothes of those who died remain in the church and the roof bears the evidence of the grenades, bullets and the blood of that terrible day. Outside in the grounds there is a mass grave to allow bodies found in the surrounding areas a final resting place.

Paul, Clement and Ben trying to see who can hold the heaviest bunch of bananas

 Paul, Clement and Ben trying to see who can hold the heaviest bunch of bananas 

Girls at Rwanda baby project
Girls at Rwanda baby project

In the afternoon we visited the Comfort Babies project, this is a fairly new project set up to support, through sponsorship, babies who have been born as a result of rape, abuse or unplanned pregnancies, mostly teenage girls. Was great to give encouragement and share Gods love with these girls and of course the babies were gorgeous.

 

13/07/2016
Travelled up to Muyumbu, bus late arriving so slow start to the day. Stopped off in a one horse town to buy great big cakes (not for us I hasten to add) and some Akabanga hot sauce. 20 minutes later we arrived at the Build a better Rwanda housing project sponsored by The Guild. A church service followed where again we heard testimony from a survivor of the genocide, along with a wee an in an oversized jacket and wearing wellies who spoke for 5 mins and even translated didn't know what he was saying, all joking aside the people of this community are truly grateful for all that they have and the love shown by the those behind the project.

Back to Guest house about 2:30 for a quick lunch and then back out to visit the Gisozi Memorial in the centre of Kigali. This is a beautiful place, a place of peace where those who have lost their whole family feel closest to them, harrowing but in no doubt necessary for understanding the horrors of genocide.

To finish the day off we made a quick visit back to Batsinda, to the street kids, where as always we were welcomed with plenty of hugs.

Please remember that Brian is still in Congo, returning tomorrow at some point so hopefully we will be able to give you some information on what is happening there

12/07/2016

goat herd
Goats awaiting to be collected
Paul & Helen hand over goat
Paul in his element with goats, along with one of the ladies who was receiving a goat
Goat distribution
The happy recipients of the goats

Early morning start to Ruhango where the widows group there were being given the goats which the young people of Sandyhills Church had bounced their little hearts out for 28 goats were herded to a patch of ground behind the Church, all the goats had numbers stuck on to them and it ended up a bit like goat bingo.

At the service held prior to the presentation we heard testimony from a lady named Matilde, or Aunty, as she loves everyone and they love her.  Matilde is a genocide survivor who has taken 22 years to tell her story, which she abbreviated but it was no less harrowing.  Matilde is an excellent example of those who have moved on and built a better life for herself.  The welcome we received and the hugs from the women were amazing, they clung to each of us and the love that flowed was something I have never experienced in my life before.

We left that community at around 3pm and as it was a journey of about 1hr 30mins back to Kigali we did not have time to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial as planned, so we headed back to the Guest house for some well earned R & R before dinner.

11/07/2016
Had a few visits to sponsors through Solace ministries,
First one was a fine young man named Ronald who has just graduated with a degree in Social Work. Ronald has a physical disability and wants to focus on charitable work helping others with a disability.Second one was Tharcille, an amazing lady with 3 children and no husband, felt in a hopeless situation but with constant prayer by her a generous sponsor is funding a new house build for her and her children living proof of the power of prayer, there is more to this story, but that's for another time.

The third visit was to Rosiness, a young lady who has completed her studies towards a nursing career but sadly the government changed the rules just as she graduated and is now not able to follow that career path, she was distressed and extremely disappointed. The resounding response to all of the visits was that each home was delighted that we had taken the time to come and spend time with them, each home was prayed for and were assured that they would continue to be in the prayers of all of the churches represented.After lunch we had a whistle stop tour of Kigali town centre to allow some of the ladies to purchase traditional Rwandan fabrics, the town centre was colourfully vibrant and a little bit scary, you could purchase anything you wanted while standing in the one spot.In the afternoon we visited the Craft Ladies in Kigali where we were given some training in bead making, this group is made up of genocide survivors who got together to create a fellowship which in turn became a co-operative helping the ladies to earn a small income.A slightly more relaxed program today as half the group (including Brian) have gone to Congo.

 10/07/2016 

Friday, Youth camp at Bisisero, we were told originally that there would be about 150 kids, it turned into a Cecil B Demile presentation with about 350 kids turning up. Chaos and mayhem ensued and suddenly hundreds of African children were running around with Burger King crowns on their heads, children of the King was the theme.

Youth Camp
Youth Camp
Helen story
Helen story time
sports day
sports day

 There was also games going on the session was rounded off with story time by Helen and her team  

We then took the longest journey in world to get back to Kigali, and would you believe it the bus broke down, here we are in the sticks having to pile off the bus until it was repaired. Very tired and dirty by the time we got back to the Guest House and guess what, no hot water, welcome to Rwanda.

Saturday we went to visit the VTC where we got a full guided tour by the manager there, the work they do with the boys and girls is amazing.

Helen and Paul got to meet their sponsored boy Jean Marie, tears flowed, it was very emotional.

The group made lunch for us, which comprised of Maze, potatoes, rice, kidney beans, carrots, plantain and some sort of pepper/aubergines & Cassava they like theirs carbs here.

In the afternoon we visited the crafts, when I say crafts, we all piled into a house where a Rwandan version of Izzy Malcolm was busily working away, poor woman was having a quiet afternoon and suddenly 20 people pile into her house.

We rounded off our afternoon with a trip to a Coffee shop before returning to Guest House for dinner and reflections, and another cold shower.

Sunday – attended the service at the Living church, very lively service where we even witnessed a marriage proposal which the whole congregation got involved in.

street kids living rough
Street kids living rough
Helen story
Helen story time
Widows survivors group
Widows survivors group

In the afternoon we went to a service at the Batsinda Street Kids which was held in what can only be described as a huge barn, but the worship was led by David Gasana, previously a street kid himself, he can only be described as a miracle, he has had no formal education yet he can speak English, play piano, sing beautifully and dance traditional African dances and still have a huge heart for the children now in his care.

David's story is too long to tell here.

We finished off the evening back at the guest house where one of the ladies from Chryston Church met with her sponsor, a very humbling day.

09/07/2016 

Thursday – travelled up to Bisesero where our houses have been built.

moving sand
Moving sand – should have gone to B & Q there must be a barrow somewhere

A couple who were due to get one of the houses very kindly gave up the opportunity in favour of a family who were in dire need as their house had no roof and one of the walls had fallen down.
It was agreed to help make this families home more comfortable (this couple have 9 children) and so we spent the next 2 hours moving 8 tonnes of sand to his property.

The opening ceremony took place followed by a ceremony on mountain top attended by the Mayor, Chief of Police and head of local Army along with president of the district. We then visited each of the houses giving them gifts for their new home and praying blessings on all of them, all recipients were so moved by our love for them and were overwhelmed that people thousands of miles away had them in their hearts.

09/07/2016 

Thursday – travelled up to Bisesero where our houses have been built.

moving sand
Moving sand – should have gone to B & Q there must be a barrow somewhere

A couple who were due to get one of the houses very kindly gave up the opportunity in favour of a family who were in dire need as their house had no roof and one of the walls had fallen down.
It was agreed to help make this families home more comfortable (this couple have 9 children) and so we spent the next 2 hours moving 8 tonnes of sand to his property.

The opening ceremony took place followed by a ceremony on mountain top attended by the Mayor, Chief of Police and head of local Army along with president of the district. We then visited each of the houses giving them gifts for their new home and praying blessings on all of them, all recipients were so moved by our love for them and were overwhelmed that people thousands of miles away had them in their hearts.

Monday 4th July was Liberation Day,(this marks the end of the genocide, the end of the 100 days of slaughter) no work could be done before 11am. We set off for street kids at Batsinda, on route bus had flat tyre so we continued on by foot.

On the way we saw where some street kids live rough.

The afternoon was then filled with us Painting the Batsinda kids house, playing games and singing with them, they were amazing.
In the evening some of team joined in a football match with the Gatenga street kids, Paul thought he was playing Pele himself.

The evening was rounded off with story time by Helen at the local church.Tuesday – we set off for Karongi en route to Bisesero. We stopped at Muhanga to visit the widows survivors group there, incredible, had time to share fellowship with them.Next stop, Golf Hotel at Lake Kivu, don't know that the star rating system in operation here, then a boat ride to Bat Island to see the Fruit bats. A bit more relaxing today.

Maureen& MayWednesday, the really hard work began, we went to Gishyta to help make bricks and clear a plot ready for them to start building on, really hot and dirty work.

Next stop was further up the hill to the Pineapple fields at Mubuga, what a beautiful place, it's on the side of the mountain and the scenery is stunning. What used to be a divided community is now very much United where Hutu Tutsi and Twa work side by side as Rwandese.

A genocideair was reading scripture to the community, a new creation indeed

04/07/2016

After speaking to you yesterday during the church service, we went on to visit one of the sponsored children and heard some encouraging and humbling stories.

This afternoon was back to Guest House for GNI (Good news international) service which focuses in on the widows and survivors group led by Pastor Ben. We heard from Flora who gave testimony to the faithfulness of God. 

Emotional +++++, really brought it home to us the ongoing need of the people of Rwanda, visited some of the kids who sleep rough before moving on to the Street Kids rescue to paint their house for them. Kids played games and crafts while we worked.

How good is our God, not only is he working through us but we feel so blessed to be a part of this project.

pineapple
Pineapple
Batsinda Steet kids rescue
Batsinda Street Kids rescue
 

 

Some kids at youth campsome kids at youth camp

House opening
Helen cutting tape to one of the houses