Tuesday, August 6, 2013

my last 2 days in rwanda (home of hope visit)e

My internet connection along with my slow laptop did not allow me to blog my last 2 days.

Friday morning at Lake Kivu was beautiful.  We took a boat ride out to Napoleons Island and several from the group took a quick swim.  It was a windy day and the boat ride was a little rough and wet.  The funny part was that our boat was leaking a bit and one of the two guys that was giving us the ride was soaking up water with a sponge and ringing it out into the lake.  I kept my mouth shut hoping no one else would see and be concerned.  Turns out several of us saw it and we all got a good laugh out of it when we got back!

The ride back to Kigali was great, even though our driver had a lead foot on curvy mountain roads.

We had dinner out Friday night to celebrate our time in Rwanda as a group.

Saturday morning we got up and took our luggage over to the Mille Collines Hotel to check it in early since we had about 50 bags.  The rest of the day we were free.  Some of us ate lunch there at the hotel and then we were going to go shopping.  Three of the girls asked me if I would be willing to skip the shopping and take them to Home of Hope, I jumped at the chance.  I looked for the phone number for a long time, knowing they like a heads up before a visit.  I had no success and even had help from some of the locals.  I decided we would walk over unannounced and hope for the best.  I had the grounds guy get a sister for me and she said if you know where you are going just head down there and help yourself, they were in prayer time.  I have to say I was shocked they gave us the freedom.
We arrived a little before 3 and after being given permission we walked ourselves down to the toddler/special needs room.  The kids were just waking from their naps so we helped get the kids up and took them to the bathroom.  All the caretakers could tell us was, PEE PEE!  I was shocked to see that they had 5 newer English toilets and a bathtub in the bathroom. They still had the concrete hole in the ground as well. The kids were wearing cloth diapers.  The urine smell was evident today (unlike last week) but all the kids seemed to wake up wet and they had no diaper covers on.  After pottying we put pants on the kids and started playing.  We took a couple of  kids outside for a bit and one girl took the special needs kids one by one in a wheel chair to the room next door.  We sat on a mat and rubbed these kids faces, arms and legs. We sang to them and helped feed them and put jackets and sweaters on them.  Many seemed to have Cerebral Palsy, some Downs Syndrome, some MR and others a larger combination of several things.  I have NO medical background, I am simply guessing from others I have seen with these conditions. This was a hard day for me.  The toddlers joined us in this room so they could eat dinner (it seemed to be fried bread, very greasy).  Some children played on the play ground and others just ran around outside.  I really couldn't determine why some of these kids seems to be on a schedule and others not so much.  There were younger and smaller children outside than those who we were interacting with inside.

There is a teacher, very sophisticated looking, living at the orphanage now.  She spoke English pretty well so I spent some time talking to her.  It was at the beginning of our time there so as I made more observations and had more questions I could not find her to ask her.  The 2 care takers in the room with us did not speak English.  I was able to talk to a sister who spent a lot of time with Benjamin at Home of Joy, 2 of them have moved to Home of Hope from Home of Joy.  They both wanted to know if Benjamin was in school and asked me to hug and kiss him for them.  It made me feel good in the middle of a situation where my mind is racing in so many directions.

I have to say that I felt positive on leaving my first visit and a little more depressed or saddened when I left my 2nd visit.  It is just a very emotional place and situation.  I know several families that were matched (there are about a dozen total) and I know that I most likely touched their children that now they will never be able to call their own.  I was not able to ask which were matched.  I just tried to physically hug or touch every child that I saw.  One little girl had the fattest thighs that you have ever seen.  Most kids allowed us to interact with them, one cried almost the entire time, I think there was more going on than just us being there. One of the special needs boys had an obvious fever, many kids had runny noses and were coughing today.  I talked to Ebralie about it and she said that it is very common to have these symptoms this time of year, many of us dealt with congestion and sore throats while we were there too.  It is very dry right now and dust is everywhere.

We left home of Hope and went back to our guest house.  We walked down to Dolce and had a little goat before we flew out.  At 6:30 we headed to the airport.  Proto and Olivier came with us to say good-bye, that was harder to do than I expected.

I leave this country knowing that I will be back.  Knowing that I will take my family at some point.

I am blessed to have this experience.

I am not sure if I have mentioned in any of these posts or not but while we were there there was a documentary being filmed about William, Randy/Andrea (one of our team members and his daughter) and Amahosa (the sponsored child of Randy).  So much of William and Ebralie's story of the genocide was revealed, even things their own children have not know.  To have been in this country and to sit with William and hear him tell me about washing the feet of the mother of the boy who brutally killed his mother in April of 1994 is unbelievable.  I don't think that this trip could ever be recreated in the way we walked through it. The maker of End of the Spear/Beyond the Gates of Splendor are who ís making this one about Rwanda. If you have not seen those you need to!  William found family that he tought was dead.  Without sharing their story all I can say is that I was greatly moved and touched by my time there.  It is forever a memory in my heart and soul and mind.

The plane ride home was long, I hate those flights when you sit by someone you don't know.  I am so aware of my space and theirs and it is just plain uncomfortable!  I am glad that we have planes that can get us to and from Africa so we can experience their culture and serve where we are called to serve.   Thankful for my time there.  Thankful my eyes have been opened wider.

My family greeted me with balloons and after dinner took me home to a clean house.  It was so good to hug and be with all of them.  Jetlag is not bad this time, so glad!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

once again, i soak up EVERY word of where my boys spent so much of their lives. thank you for writing it down for us to read!

i loved your time there. love your heart. and LOVE seeing that red dirt in your pictures!