Thursday, 28 July 2011

Since my last post ...

Yesterday, Mama Deborah called to inform me that Alphonsine's landlord had come yesterday morning to kick her out of the house. I asked Mama Deborah if she had anywhere to go. Nowhere but the street. The team paid for six months rent - $16.67 / month - the five that she owes and one more. That brings her to September 5th.

On Tuesday at the weekly meeting of Ubuzima, I was reminded that Claudine was also owing 4 months rent and the landlord was calling. The team paid for that as well today. Five months at $33.33 / month. That takes her until August 20th.

I haven't heard any 'crisis' from Mama Patricia but thinking that the team should pay their rent too...

But then what??

These women are not lazy. They everything they can to try and support their family.
Happens they are poor in material wealth and have little finances.

I know that paying their rent is the right thing to do at this point in time ... but what about September??
We so desire sustainability .... the dream but in the meantime, we do the little bits that we can to keep them from being homeless.

Exciting thing happened today - Ubuzima had their first repeat customers! We're praying that this is part of the solution. Pray with us that it is!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Passion Stirred

We have a team on the ground right now. The other day, we spent the day learning about HIV/AIDS in Rwanda. After spending the morning with Mama Deborah, the leader of Ubuzima - an association for those with HIV / AIDS, we went visiting.

Mama Patricia - She is NOT positive for HIV but her husband is. They have three children and live in a small two room mud house. She has been sick for a number of days with a bad headache and dizziness. We went to pay her a visit to encourage her as much as we could. My heart was moved to tears. The only jobs they have a casual labour, meaning they go out - if they are strong enough - to find a construction site job or washing laundry. Their oldest daughter walks 2 hours one way to school each day so they can save 2000 RWF ($3.30) each semester. Their 11 year old son, Pierre is first in his class. But all three kids are about to be chased from school because they can`t pay their school fees. (total per semester $22) They are also three months behind on their rent which is 12,000 RWF ($20 per month)

Claudine, an HIV widow, has three kids of her own plus one that she has adopted into her family. Three years ago, a women from the Ubuzima association died and  left 5 children. Claudine took one in. It was incredibly moving to hear her answer my question as to why she did it. The moms were friends. They lived close and helped each other look after their children and each other. She knew that if they had a half kilo of rice for the family to eat, surely they could  share that with one more mouth.
`What I know is that Claudine is a vivid example of `doing unto others as you would have them do to you.
About 2.5 years ago, Claudine sent her daughter Nadine to fetch water. She was raped and became pregnant at 14 years of age. She also looks after this little boy as her own.
They are 4 months behind on their rent and the landlord is calling...

In Claudine`s house
Alphonsine is a single mother of two boys. She is sick much her life with little energy to work. She lives on the very edges of Kigali so the rent is not so much. The last months have not been easy for her. Her son, Magnificant, had a great fall and has swelling on his brain. Twice they have gone to have the fluid removed. You can see he is a fun, 11 year old kid who loves adventure as he smiles shyly to each of us. He`s holding onto the casing of a matchbox car - the wheels and insides are gone but he still has the body - and it`s his treasured possession. `
Besides the hospital and doctor bills, she too is behind in her rent and is not sure where they are doing to get food.
The team leader, Kendal, was our intern last year. As we sit in Alphonsine`s home, she shares about visiting Alphonsine last year. Alphonsine had cooked her the last food she had in the house. Kendal told her that she didn`t want to eat as she wanted to be sure the kids had food. Alphonsine`s response...`Doesn`t God look after the birds of the air? He will look after us too.`

Needless to say, the day left the team in deep thought and wrestling with themselves and God.

For me... the dream of having land, building houses - a community, to bring these and other women and families just like them together so they can support and encourage one another. That they can be in peace that if they died, their children would be looked after. They could grow food, learn skills easily, be literate, etc, etc, etc. God knows the dream and we wait. In the meantime, Serge and I will continue to do everything we can to bring sustainability to Ubuzima so they can earn money to support themselves. We have a long way to go but we know that God is faithful.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Until I came to Rwanda, I thought that umbrellas were invented and used for keeping one dry in the rain.

That is not the only use for them.
They are also used for giving one shade in the beating African Sun.

I was reminded of that again this afternoon as we went to the cemetery for the graveside service for a dear friend's mom/auntie. The sun can be very unforgiving during the dry season ... hence one must create their own shade.

Not sure to do with the old wives' tale that I grew up with ... 'That it's bad luck to open an umbrella unless it's raining!' Oh well... :-)

Monday, 11 July 2011

Incredible Women

My mind can't forget some incredible women that I met at the IT conference in Mombasa. Women who God is using to change the world. 

Lydia - white South African, working the northern bush of Kenya with her husband to educate the bush children. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to her testify of God transforming her heart. She used to use her voice in protest against black South Africans. Today, not only does she live and minister amongst black Africans, she and her husband have adopted four black African children themselves.

Ute - A German lady ministering in an orphanage in Tanzania. I so enjoyed getting to know here. I know we're hang out if we lived closer. I listened in amazement about how God told her at 50  years old to adopt quads... yes FOUR little Tanzanian children who had come to the orphanage at 3 days old. They were then two. She's in a battle to get VISAs to take them on a visit to her homeland. She has been denied - they say she's going to sell them!! ARG!! She's trusting God to move the powers that be so she can take them in September!

Liliane - a Kenyan lady who is working with Somali refugee women in Nairobi - not only to share the gospel with them but to give them skill so they can earn some money to be independent and support their children.

Mandy - A American lady on the team in Soroti. Serge and I had thought and prayed much for Mandy and her husband, Josh, last year. Their little guy Luka had been on deathbed for weeks, and God miraculously healed him. As was watched our kids energetically splash around in the pool, I listened to her share about their passion to church plant - having been in Nigeria for 4 years before coming to Uganda 4.5 years ago. The health challenges that come are part of being called and trusting.

I just have to smile as at the time I was reading a little book by Lynn Hybels entitled, 'Good Girls Don't Change the World.'
I agree...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Happy Birthday Beni!

Two years old!!

Loving all the attention!!
LOVES this trike...
What does one do with a little Picaso??
(Notice the hairband... What Isabella wears, Beni wants!)

Fun in Mombasa!

We had the priviledge of traveling to Mombasa for a week to attend the IT Africa conference. Was such a great time to spend with those whom we minister alongside on this continent. 

We pulled Prince from school, went three days early and made it a family vacation as well. (He failed a physics test the day after we were back ... ARG!! Oh well.. .exams start July 18!) We packed a lot into the days we had.

Wild Waters - our kids have never experienced anything like it so it was grand to take them to a water park. They ALL loved it. I also enjoyed the slides... it had been SO long! Kids thought it was hilarious that I flipped around and came down backwards on a big curvy slide. Mom was not thinking it was so hilarious... just a bit of screaming...

Keeping cool

Our dear friend Dora joined us for the week-end!

Prince wishing he could take it all back to Rwanda with him!

Relaxation... SO needed!!
Another day we toured Mombasa... saw all kinds of sights and animals

Isabella always a bit scared, we FINALLY got Prince to
feed them... and well Beni - he'd ride them if he was allowed!
Forget how hold this guy is...
Isabella sitting pretty in a window at Fort Jesus - an old
Portugese Fort - with the Indian Ocean in the background
Camel rides on the beach! Good time but as far as I'm
concerned - don't have to do that again!
Ride put Beni to sleep though... mmmm...
 Then it was time to spend four days with fellow IT folk. That was fun too...