Catch up on Part 1 of our Rwanda trip here.
Monday | September 14th
Before we left for Rwanda, we were told to prepare for two weeks’ worth of Bible schools. However, once we arrived we learned that Ben’s computer had crashed and he lost all his documents, including his information on the kids in the program. (Side note: when we told him about external hard drives, he was like “Oh yeah, I’ve got one of those”…no comment.) Since the purpose of Barnabas X is to help and serve Ben, he asked us to interview children and fill out registration forms instead so he could begin the process of compiling all of his data on the kids over again. He, unfortunately, is starting completely over and needed basic information for these kids. So, for our first week that’s what we did!
Our first day, we headed to G.S. Kicukiro, one of the schools that has the most RCRI kids in one place.
They set us up in an office, and we had two groups interviewing the children and then taking photos to go with their profiles.
Cory and I finally got to meet Patrick, the young man that Barnabas X sponsors.
Apparently we stepped outside into Cirque du Soleil.
We headed to J. Lynn’s (which is the place’s name, but everyone there calls it ABC because that’s what used to be there) for lunch and the girls hopped in the back of the truck for the first time. While it was a bumpy ride, it was nice to sit back there and chat. And wanna talk about crazy looks? Put a few muzungu (white) girls in the back of a truck in Africa and just ride around town.
We got back to Kicukiro that afternoon to interview more students…a lot more students.
You will see many pictures of Kenny (in the green shirt). He was our main translator this trip but became so much more during the month Cory spent with him. We love, love, love Kenny and his heart to serve! He was much more like another team member and a brother to Cory, and it hurt our hearts to leave him there! I’m sure over the course of these recaps there’ll be more stories of Kenny.
And this is Gaudence…our other friend and translator. Gaudence is like family! We’ve known her for three years now and love spending our days with her!
Precious faces waiting their turn.
Sometimes, we can’t understand the words that the children say they like doing in their free time. Sometimes we get super bored. Then we wake up when a kid tells us they have a cool hobby. So, we make them demonstrate! This was a traditional Rwandan dance.
Kids get a little crazy when they see a group of muzungu at their school. Someone’s got to keep them out. I would never make a good bouncer.
Because those grins, y’all.
I’ve seen many heartbreaking situations while in Rwanda but experienced a new kind of pain when I met Josiane. I noticed her at first when she was sitting quietly by herself, waiting to be interviewed. Most of the kids had a couple friends sitting with them but Josiane was alone. And you could see the loneliness in her eyes.
What sparked the questions was when this 18 year-old girl couldn’t even tell us her address because she had been bounced around so much, she didn’t even know where she was living. You see, Josiane’s mom is sick and sent her away to school. She’s lived with a few different teachers and is currently living with a student, whom she doesn’t know.
She started to cry because she literally has nothing in this world. No belongings, no family to love on her and reassure her, nothing. She said when her mother passes away, she would be all alone in this world.
But Josiane is so talented! She writes music and even wrote a song for the school. So, we cried with her, we prayed with her, and let her know that God loves her. That we love her and will be praying for her all the way from America.
Josiane laid heavy on our hearts the rest of the day. We immediately wondered what we could do for her to let her know that she is not alone. How could we encourage her not to give up on all her talents and dreams? We decided we would pick a few toiletry items up for her that evening and try to find a few items to give her that she can say are hers.
Cory wants me to point out that he’s not really that much shorter than me, in fact we are the same height, and this photo is very deceptive in that way. There, there, Cory. It’s okay.
After we got done that afternoon, we headed to Nakumatt (a grocery store) to get a few toiletries for Josiane as well as things to make lunch the next day but we had to stop at Bourbon Coffee for a treat. I can’t even remember what kind of smoothie I got but it was sooo good! We realized that Nakumatt was pretty expensive in comparison to Ndoli’s Joint, which is a grocery store that is closer to Ben and Jo’s house anyway, so we headed there to get the food items we needed.
That evening, when we got home, we decided to go through the remaining clothes we had brought with us. Cory and the guys had given some of them out already but we knew we’d be taking the majority of the smaller, warmer items with us to Nyabihu the next week. Josephine suggested that we pick a few things out for Josiane, so we found her a backpack, a shirt, a sweater and a pair of shoes.
Tuesday | September 15th
Our daily truck picture, from when we were headed to Gahanga to get footage of the sewing lessons that RCRI had sponsored.
Lost in a sea of precious, little faces.
This village has known no other profession, skill, or trade for generations other than clay stoneware and pottery. However in recent decades the demand for their craft has all but disappeared. The poverty in this village is staggering, the worst in Rwanda, but the people here have no other skill to turn to in a rapidly changing world. In an attempt to give this village hope, RCRI acquired sewing machines and some space and hired a teacher to give sewing lessons. They are hoping the women of Kane can learn this trade and then use it to support their families.
Over 20 women have been showing up for the lessons, so they had to break it up in to multiple sessions. They are eager to learn!
Pastor Mathias was blown away that Jessica was old enough to be married!
That’s how this kid crawled around everywhere! It had us cracking up and comparing him to Mowgli in the Jungle Book.
After we got our footage, we left Gahanga and headed back to Kicukiro to finish up the interviews from the day before.
Viannie, an RCRI volunteer specializing in construction and family relations in the Gahanga area, who also works with Compassion International, AND is a trained hairstylist who used to own a salon, just recently learned how to “twist” muzungu hair so all he wanted to do was braid our hair!
What a crazy sentence that is.
The time change was much harder to adjust to this year and at some points during the day, we all had to take a quick power nap.
We were able to find Josiane and give her the things we had brought for her. Y’all, she cried tears of thankfulness. She just clung to us in a group hug and wept.
A few days later, we got word that the school was writing a thank you note to the district (city) for RCRI because they had seen such a change in Josiane after our visit. They said they had never seen such a drastic improvement in someone. All because she knew she was loved.
To God be all the glory for bringing us to Rwanda, meeting Josiane, hearing her story and being able to be the encouragement and reassuring her that in God, she is not alone.
This little girl sat like this for her whole interview. Cory put the pen top on her head and she had no idea. I started to feel a little bad because I could not stop giggle at her.
We dropped Gaudence off at home and she bought us all something to drink! A little caffeine was sorely needed at that point in the day, and she could tell it.
We also used our selfie stick for the first time.
After we left Gaudence’s we headed downtown to do a little shopping. Cory was in search of a Kinyarwanda-to-English dictionary and was also hoping to find a guitar to donate to the church in Nyabihu.
This part of town is always so busy. We just stood there and people watched as Cory found a guitar.
Like a huge dummy, I forgot to turn my phone on almost every single video I took this year. Fail!
Sometimes you just have to nap however possible. Even with a guitar in your lap.
Pretty much as soon as we got home, we decided to head back to Bourbon Coffee to use the wifi. I had a few things I had to get scheduled with the blog and we hadn’t really checked in with anyone since we had gotten there. On our way home, we found the best radio station. Pretty much any popular 90s song came on one after another.
I’m sorry to all the people of Kigali for the obnoxious muzungu’s rocking out to Hit Me Baby One More Time. We didn’t mean to hold up all three lanes of traffic at the red light by looking so crazy!
If you made through this whole post, you deserve a medal! I know these are long (and I know I’m forgetting a lot of things) but these recaps are really for us. I just adore rereading these!
Wanna catch up on Rwanda 2015?