Monday, 28 February 2011

Paradox of life in Kigali

So Friday night Serge and I FINALLY got out on a date night. Can't remember the last one. It was a long time coming and especially after a pretty tough week.

We try to have it in our calendar for every Friday night but as I said, I can't remember the last one. Anyway, we well remember the days in Kigali where there were only like 4 or 5 restaurants to chose from. Now, restaurants seem to be springing up everywhere. We've come back from Canada and have more than a few new ones to add to the list to try.

We decided to try 'The Manor' - advertised as Kigali's only Boutique Hotel - sporting three restaurants with more to come. 

As we pulled up... valet parking!
NEVER seen this in Kigali.  Fun. Serge was quick to point out that there are probably more than a few rich guys in Kigali who aren't going to be too quick to hand over the keys to their luxury cars to some parking guy.

Inside... gorgeous chandeliers, nice decor, Italian restaurant, Irish Pub and an Indian Restaurant with a Chinese to open soon.

As we sat in the Indian restaurant on the rooftop looking out over the 180 degree view of Kigali - stunningly GORGEOUS - we marveled that we were still in Kigali.

So what's the paradox you wonder...

Well, for electricity, you buy pre-paid cards to put into your meter at home. On Saturday, their entire system for distributing electricity was down. We ran out of electricity. Serge searched the city for ways to find some but to no avail. Bank had to close. Shops had to close. We lit candles.

Valet Parking one night, no electricity the next.

Gotta love Kigali!

(Electricity was back Sunday afternoon!)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Krispy Kreme / Tim Horton`s have come to town!

Well... sort of.

The kids, interns and I headed out this morning to check out the ABC (African Bagel Company). Heard they were doing fresh donuts and coffee each Saturday morning from 9 to noon.

WELL... for starters there were more muzungu's (white people) per square inch in Kigali than I have ever seen, I think. My friend Valerie, a fellow Canadian missionary, was there as well and asked me if I knew half the people. As I looked around... nope... counted about 10. (Happy to keep it that way!)

There were lots of kids running around so Isabella and Beni joined right in. Someone had brought baby bunnies for the kids to play with so that was grand as well.

As for the donuts... fresh, hot, melt in your mouth. Wonderful!
Isabella even got a `sprinkle`one! 

We'll be back some Saturday morning in the not too distant future for sure.

Was thinking as we drove away... that was a complete Krispy Kreme / Tim Horton`s experience - the donuts from Krispy Kreme and the meeting place of Tim Horton`s... all on a dirt road in Kigali.
Gotta love it!!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

It's Thursday noon and I've had ENOUGH of this week!

How does one just sort of curl up and forget about the rest of the week and hope to have a fresh start - like next week or something?

Let me know if you know something I don't!

Just home from going to Immigration for the FOURTH time in less than a week. Enough already! They do have one of the most efficient offices in the country - no kidding - BUT!!!

So last week I went specifically to ask what I SPECIFICALLY needed to extend our interns' visa. From past experience, I was SO going to be on top of this. I got the list and left feeling like I really understood the new process. (3 hour wait)

Tuesday, Karyn our intern and I went to the Immigration office to deposit. They would not take the photocopy of her college diploma. Must be the original. Who travels with thier originals!! ARG! (2.5 hour wait)

Wednesday morning we were back at Immigration having decided that we would just apply for the 90 day VISA extension and we'll worry about extending it at a later date. (2+ hour wait)

Where was her Volunteer Contact? First I had heard of this as the first guy never told me anything about a contract ... Fortunately they took the file as it was her last day to apply for the VISA.

Okay... back again this morning to hand in the contract. Got the first guy who had given me the list of requirements. When I handed him the contract, he looked at me like 'What is this for? You don't need this.' Whatever! Now we wait for the message saying that it's finished - hopefully! (didn't wait too long... just jumped in when there was a break in the people - SO not like me but Serge called to check up on me and prompted me to jump in. I can be a little Rwandese when I need to be!)

Then we went to the post office as Karyn wanted to mail a letter to her boyfriend. No post to Canada!


Guess in December sometime, some country in Europe who acts as a mail hub stopped all mail from Africa / Middle East / wherever to Canada and the United States. Who knew!
We can receive mail... just can't send any out. They say it is temporary... sigh

I was SO going to try to be on top of correspondence this year. So much for that!!

Well.. all that... we have another intern coming in tonight. With so much time at immigration this week, not feeling ready at all. My mind is more than exhausted too.

This is where I feel a bit overwhelmed and want to curl up somewhere.... as I laid down with Beni for a nap my mind drifted to dreaming of us under some palm trees by the ocean. Like that idea!

Sunday, 13 February 2011


This past Thursday, I went with Serge to Nyamirama so that I could check out the bore hole of the well we dug. Didn't want to miss seeing it. Might seem strange to you but it's so exciting for us.
A piece of history for International Teams Rwanda for sure!
As we walked and talked our way through the surrounding community, our hearts were more than moved by the water situation. Now we knew that we needed water on our land to supply the project and that we would use it to help supply the surrounding community as well but we got a much greater insight into their water plight.

Nyamirama is a poor community. It is normal to see many children, poorly dressed and with dust on their feet and clothes.
Thursday seemed to be much worse.
Rain has not come for many days / months and they are desparate.

In fact this growing season has been very poor due to the lack of rain.
(We were 'happy' to hear and see that our crops had done okay while those around had been nil. Sad for those around for sure but great to know that some of the training is making a difference!)

There are three options for water for this community.

They can walk 2 hours to collect water for free from a stream.
Who knows what is in that stream or has used that stream.

They can buy a 20 litre jerry can of water for 200 RWF (40 cents) from a passing guy on a bicycle selling water to whoever wants it.
Serge and I were outraged at this!!
The going rate in Kayonza, the town, 5 kms away is 30 francs (6 cents) per 20 litres.

They go without.

Now imagine this.
Families on this community are not one or two children. They usually have 5-8 children. 
A good wage per household is 700 RWF / day ($1.40)
If it costs 200 RWF for 20 litres of water, there is not much money for anything else - every drop of that water counts. You can know that bathing and washing clothes is the last thing that water would be used for.

What about the poorest of the poor? What about the ones that are too weak to work so they have no money to buy water from the passing bicycle guy or strength to walk and get the water themselves?

I looked up on the internet how much water the average North American uses in one day
300 litres / person!
A far cry from 20 litres / day for a family of 6 or more.

Oh God!

In the coming weeks we'll be getting the pump into the well, the line into the ground, a tap in the line so we can dispense water to the surrounding community.
Pray this happens fast and well.

As we were leaving, some of the community leaders had followed us to our car.
They want to believe we have water for them... they're trying hard to believe - but it's hard for them to believe their dream might just be coming true.

May there be an everlasting spring of water at the bottom of that well!

New Intern in Town!

We're very excited to have another intern in Kigali to volunteer with us.

Karyn will be using her skills in photography and video to capture our various ministries here for promotion. This is something that we have wanted to do for years and now God has provided a person gifted in theses areas to help us.

We're looking forward to what God has in store between now and the end of June when she heads back to Canada.

Check out her blog...

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Just got this in an email.. moved me to tears as it captured my heart's longing...

Thanks for sharing the exciting news Jennifer I have spent time with Jesus over the years I often have imaged myself sitting at at well with Jesus has been a good place to converse .... I guess we all have our own "digs" to engage in life in order to fully discover the streams of living water planted deep within each of us.... I know Jesus will gratefully receive many cups of water from your well, and I hope many will find the well a place to meet Jesus as the Samaritan woman did.

Thanks Geri!

We have WATER!!

5 cubic metres per hour... 130 metres down into the ground.

We are happy and blessed!