Wednesday, 21 April 2010

How I Spent 2 Hours Tonight!

I was in the living room of the Canadian Residence here in Kigali with 10 Rwandan women who move and shake this country, 5 women delegates from Canada AND Her Excellency Governor General.

She wanted to know about the Role of Rwandan Women in Society. Was a lively and good discussion to be part of. The leading question was, `What is the most challenging thing to being a Rwandese Woman`? There was lots of chatter... but basically it came down to education. If she is educated, then she will have power, be more informed, know her rights and want to better herself and her family. As the discussion went on, I couldn't help but think of the Rwandan women in my life. There are those how have means ie. money, stability, job, etc. Then there are those who live on less than $1 / day. They are the poorest of the poor - living subsistantly, trying to cultivate a bit of land to feed their family for the day. There are also differences between the urban and rural women.

As the chatter went on, my mind kept going around - it is not just about the women themselves the but men and children in their lives as well. It is one thing to educate a woman but here in Rwanda she would need to ask for permission to do something and if the man saw that it would not be beneficial to him ie. make him look bad - then he would not allow her to do something. SO... the men need to be educated too. Then I realized that we HAVE been doing that.

Two stories - both from our pastoral training:

1. Serge and I went to visit Pastor Desontos over a year ago now. He lives with his wife and two small children in a very modest home in the village of Fumbwe, about an hour east of Kigali. When we went to visit, all of a sudden he disappeared and she came to sit and visit with us. After awhile we asked where he was. He was COOKING!! This is UNHEARD of here. Men do not go near the kitchen. She just smiled and thanked us - and still does to this day - for changing her husband. They are now role modeling this behaviour in their village and they have seen other couples start to change.

2. At the close of the pastoral training, a pastor stood up (I forget his name just now - it's late and I should be in bed!) and said that his wife had been asking him to join an association. He had repeatedly said no to her. He was then challenged by the teachings at the pastoral training on marriage and servant leadership. When she asked again, he decided to let her go. She now brings home the money and they bought land and have built their own house to live in. How life has changed for them because he honoured his wife.

We're starting in Kayonza - want to see a community transformed. We know that gender equality training is part of the journey and I know and remember more than ever that it is not just about educating the women, it's about educating men, women and children in the understanding that God has created us equal and desires all of us to participate to the fullest in the kingdom of God.

How I got to this round table tonight, I'm not sure as I was the only Muzungu / Rwandese there, but it sure inspired me again to stand for those how cannot stand for themselves.
Another tidbit I took home... she told us some of her story growing up in Haiti and being 'dragged' around by her parents in the rural Haiti as they taught literacy. She was saying that she was more than grateful that her parents allowed her to see what she did at such an early age, as it has made her who she is today.

Was great affirmation for me about continuing to integrate Prince, Isabella and Beni in our ministry activities.
May their involvement growth their love for God and people!

1 comment:

Beccya said...

thank you for posting this!
it's encouraging to hear stories of such dramatic positive change in the lives of spiritual leaders!
God bless you and your work!