Rwanda | Day 11

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Woah…I can’t believe it’s already Friday. Between Thanksgiving and feeling under the weather since Sunday, this week just left me behind! I don’t even have all my Christmas decorations up.

Say whaat??? Crazy, I know.

Maybe one day, I’ll have the time and energy to keep a regular post schedule but I just don’t see that happening any time soon.

Tuesday | September 22nd

So thanks to all of Jessica’s hard work the night before, Bible school went much better on Tuesday. We still had to keep waking kids up but most of that comes from a lack of energy due to malnutrition.

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If y’all only knew how long it took to get them in this line. Rwandan children are good at many things but staying in a straight line is not one of them. And then the game was a total bust, (game rules are hard to explain when nobody speaks the other person’s language!) so we gave up and sang songs instead.

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Wow, I promise we were having fun.

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After the older class finished their Bible lesson, we fed the kids granola bars at snack time.

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Once the kids left for the day, Amber and the guys started painting and Gaudence started cooking us lunch. I watched in amazement at the speed with which she peeled potatoes.

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We’ve seen the Stick of Punishment of Unruly Children used a couple of times and boy, does it work. Kids are terrified!

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The guys napped on those tiny little benches while waiting on lunch. Like, really napped.

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We had fried potatoes and cabbage for lunch and I would kill for some now. They fed us so well while we were there and of course, it’s all homemade and fresh and delicious and nutritious and wonderful.

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It was incredibly clear that day so the volcano was very visible. There are several volcanoes almost in a ring around this part of Rwanda and it’s cool when it’s clear enough to see them.

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This little boy is Ndungutse and he had spoken up during Bible school earlier that morning and said he didn’t feel well. If you’ve seen the video of our trip, he is the one praying over us in the beginning and is the most spiritual, faith-filled child I’ve ever met. He had an open wound on one of his feet and the infection had spread to both feet as well as his little fingers.

We wanted to get him to the hospital to get this taken care of so we headed to his house that afternoon to talk to his parents.

The heart-wrenching part?

His father told us that they knew he needed to see a doctor but just couldn’t afford to take him, that it was a matter of choosing between food for the family or the hospital bill. He just kept saying over and over, “I promise we’re not bad parents, we love him…we just can’t do it”. He even said he asked his friends if they could help but no one was able to afford it.

So, Ndungutse got cleaned up, changed into his nicest clothes {his school uniform} and we loaded him and his father into the truck to take him to the hospital.

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I’m sure we looked funny, all of us piling into this hospital, which is set up like an Urgent Care clinic in each village.

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While we waited on Nduguntse to get treated, we tried to figure out what they were doing to this poor little guy who obviously was NOT happy. Weighing him, it turns out.

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This pretty girl was waiting patiently on her turn to see the doctor. You can just see in her eyes that she doesn’t feel good.

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Kenny, being Kenny, declared to Cory that he was going to “bother” the lady that checked people in. And so he made himself right at home and started checking people in when she went into the office to check on something. And then SHE LET HIM. I guess FERPA laws don’t exist in Rwanda.

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I don’t think Papa approved. Ha!

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They had to cut Ndugunste and drain the infection in his hands and feet, and then gave him some anointment to apply along with an antibiotic. Other than our time, it cost us less than $4 to help him.

The lack of $4 nearly cost this incredible little boy his life.

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Cory hung tight with Ndungutse–he says Ndungutse was part of his “posse”: his little gang of boys that he hung out with the most.

When we dropped Ndungutse back at his house, Gaudence found out that he doesn’t have a bed and sleeps on the dirt floor with the goats. This precious child, who prayed for our safety and well being, doesn’t even have a bed to sleep in every night.

That makes my heart break.

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After taking Ndungutse home, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for pizza night at Volcano Lounge. It’s very common to lose power at any given time in Rwanda and that night was one of those times.

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This is by far my favorite place to eat in Rwanda! It’s the best pizza, even better than I’ve had here in the states.

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This little pup showed up while we were eating dinner and we figured it was the owners’ dog because they have another dog that hangs out in the restaurant. We asked our waitress if they had gotten new dog since last year, to which she responded that she had never seen her before and they thought she was our dog since she followed us into the restaurant.

Although it’s becoming more common each year, it’s not yet a culturally common thing to have a pet dog in Rwanda. In fact, there are no laws protecting animals from abuse and no organizations to shelter or house animals like dogs. We asked if anyone was taking care of her, but we weren’t sure the waitress understood what we were asking–she definitely looked at us like we were crazy for caring.  And then the poor little thing (which Cory named Matilda) followed us out to our truck and then proceeded to run after our truck down the busy street as we left. Someone just had to say, “you know y’all are probably the only people that have ever been nice to that dog”.

Cory. Ahem.

Cue the tears, y’all.

I had held back so many already the whole day with Nduguntse, I just couldn’t handle any more sadness that day. Especially a dog chasing after our vehicle, simply because we were nice to her. I am a S U C K E R when it comes to dogs!

So I cried all the way back to the hotel. I cried for Nduguntse and his family having to choose food over health care. I cried for his poor little feet and hands. I cried for him not having his own place to lay his head at night. And I cried for the stray dog that just wanted love.

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Like I said, I thought I couldn’t handle any more sadness but as we were doing our nightly devotional, Gaudence opened up to us about something that broke her heart that day. You see, she’s used to seeing and hearing the things that normally break our hearts. But that day, as Gaudence was cooking lunch, a little girl named Sandrine came up and asked if she could have some. Gaudence, seeing that she had been hungry for some time, asked when the last time she ate was and Sandrine couldn’t answer. Not wanting to upset her stomach too much, she told Sandrine to drink some hot milk first, after which she gave her some food.

Sandrine came outside and asked her mom {who cleans the school} if she could go to live with us, the muzungus. Mama Sandrine and Gaudence laughed and asked why, and Sandrine said “Because I get to eat when the muzungus come.”

We have a lot of fun and the photos of the smiling kids in their little uniforms can be deceiving, but there is real need and real hurt that these children live through every day. I am always thankful for what we get to be a part of, that we get to feed kids like Sandrine, even if it’s just one day. We get to show them that someone loves them from across the world, even if they only get to feel that love firsthand one day.

There are fun days, and there are sad days. This one was hard.

Wanna catch up on Rwanda 2015?

Getting There, Days 1 & 2
Days 3 & 4
Days 5 & 6
Days 7 & 8
Day 9
Day 10
A Glimpse Into Our Trip

You can see our Rwanda 2014 trip recaps here and Rwanda 2013 trip recap here.

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  • Oh gosh – I’m sad just reading it all – I cant imagine being there.
    I totally would have found a way to get that dog home. You know me – dogs are my soft spot in my heart. I would have just been heart broken leaving him behind.
    $4.00… that’s so crazy that a simple infection could turn into a life threatening thing. Those parents that tried to explain… oh gosh. Bless them for having to make these decisions & choices.
    The world is a messed up place sometimes.