Sunday, 26 June 2011

Shopping, An accident and Mr. Chips

So my friend Anita is having a baby mid July. However earlier this week, she went into heavy contractions is now on mandated bed rest. I told her that I would do whatever I could for her. I know what it's like to be here with no close family around.

Shopping... could I do the stockup for her house? No problem! One of my gifts is shopping!

I was to do it Friday but that didn't happen so Saturday afternoon it was. Off I went with great anticipation of getting everything in short order and delivering it to her.

Shopping went fine... but on the way, as I was rounding a taxi minibus, the person riding in the front passenger seat decided to open her door to get out. Not good! This all happened as I was beside the bus so what I saw was only in my rearview mirror - chunks of my car being driven over by cars behind me and a swinging minibus door.

I thank God that Serge came to my rescue. I had no idea what to do in the case of an accident. The police finally arrived four hours later to measure up the accident and write the report.

It was now after 8pm and the kids were home with nobody. It was a no brain decision to grab Mr. Chips for the second time in as many days. Mr. Chips is the Rwandan McDonald's as per Prince. (Got to love that the guy who opened it is from Dundas ON!) We came home to Prince feeding Beni and Isabella cereal with yogurt. Nice!

As Serge and I reflected on the day... the story of Job came to mind how God told Satan that he could only go so far... that is how life has been feeling these days.

Tomorrow morning, Serge will go to the insurance company to get the form to take to the police to fill out and then back the insurance company to see where our life goes from here. All this in a much too busy week! ARG!!

PS I'm writing this Sunday afternoon. Serge just came home from an end of mourning ceremony. I'm off to deliver the groceries!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Short-team team account

If you want to read an account of a short-term team in Rwanda, check out this link. They have given a pretty great description of their time here. 
Also their reflections... blesses me to read them.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sad Heart

Serge received a phone call from Maman Deborah yesterday about noon... Denise had died.

Denise was a widowed mother of five children between the ages of 11 and 21. She lost her husband in 1999 and moved back to Rwanda the following year to live with her mom in the family home. She was an entrepreneur, a business woman who travelled in East Africa to bring wares to sell. She supported her family.

She also knew some English and I enjoyed my little chats with her over the years. I would often sit beside her at Ubuzima. You see, Denise was HIV positive... her five kids are as well. 

Last Wednesday, we took the team to visit Denise as she had just come home from the hospital recovering from what I understood to be heart palpitations. I could see that her breathing was still laboured. Well, turns out she took a trip to Tanzania on the week-end for business, and she died on the way home. How sad. I can't imagine...

The Faith Lutheran Team with Denise (yellow circle) and her
mom and her youngest son (front row, standing) 
When we were with her, I wanted her to share how she lives with HIV/AIDS. She wouldn't share as her mother was sitting with us and she doesn't know. She didnt' want her mother to worry about her or cause her stress. I wonder if she knows now? I was just texting with Maman Deborah for a bit just now... she's wondering how she is going to go and tell the mother the truth. Someone needs to keep looking after the children who are HIV positive. Now I wonder... do the children know their status? I don't know...

What I do know is that Denise's faith in God was rock solid. She loved the Lord and gave him all the honor and glory in her life. I remember her saying last Wednesday that no matter what may come in life, God would lead her through. May her children remember this about their mother.

I will miss you Denise.

Monday, 20 June 2011

World Refugee Day

'One Refugee Without Hope is Too Many'

That is the slogan for today - World Refugee Day.
Every June 20th is the day to remember the 43+ million people who are alive in this world but displaced from their homes because of conflict, persecution and violence.

Seems fitting that Serge took our current team to Kibuye so they can go into the refugee camp tomorrow and Wednesday. Kiziba Refugee Camp is home to 20,000+ men, women and children of which most of them are from Congo.

The team will have a grand but overwhelming time. They'll bring hope and encouragement in all sorts of ways and learn lots about themselves, God and the world they live in. The church, this team is from, has a large refugee community from East Africa which attends regularly. One of the reasons they came to Rwanda is to see the other side of the refugee highway... the beginning of the road where refugees start their journey to stability and peace. 

They'll check out the various income generating projects which we are involved in, see how the students are doing, how the youth ministry in the camp is developing and play some volleyball. I have prepared them to have their butts kicked. :-) The refugee youth are serious volleyball players!

I look forward to hearing about their latest life experiences when they return on Wednesday night! We'll see what else they have to tell me about besides the volleyball game.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Milk Rant!

As I sat down to breakfast this morning, I couldn't help my mind from doing the 'milk rant'.

Being a dairy farmer's daughter, having milked many cows in my lifetime and having already drank more litres of milk than most do in their lifetime - I'd like to think that I know more than a little bit about milk.

Some months ago, the main milk packager in Rwanda switched to exclusively producing UHT milk - Ultra high temperature milk - the stuff that can sit on your shelf for months on end.

Now there is no one anywhere that can tell this girl that UHT milk is milk! Seriously people! I get it that it has a place in the world but when fresh milk used to be the norm and now UHT??

There is only one manufacturer of fresh milk in Rwanda and they cannot keep up with the demand. So about every other day I am driving around Kigali to all the stores that I know which sell it to see if they have any left - maybe, just maybe they will. If not, I resort to buying UHT milk - my kids need to drink something and I guess that UHT is better than nothing.

We have tried to get a local farmer to deliver to our house but we haven't found one that doesn't rinse his buckets with cow urine. When I asked Serge about this, he says it's tradition. SERIOUSLY!!?? 

So, in the meantime, I resort to going on the milk hunt every couple of days... and hoping that we find a farmer that has good tasting, urine free milk!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Blocks are going up!

We started to build our annex, as they call it here. This will be the outdoor kitchen, storage and workers quarters. One always needs storage space when you are building as you buy and stockpile for the construction ie. cement bags.
Serge will go to pick the roofing tomorrow for this building then it's windows and doors and then it's digging the foundation of the main house!
We're excited!

The kids checking it out!

Serge and our builder, Francois, making sure
they're on the same page.
The neighbourhood kids always come to check out
their future neighbours

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


If you know me, you know I have the biggest phobia ever for snakes!
I can't even look at them in a picture without getting all queshy and jumpy.

I have lived in Rwanda now full-time since January 2006 and have never had to deal with snakes.

WELL... that has changed. Even though I have not seen them, our workers have killed four in the last two weeks and they said that they killed two others in the past two years and haven't told us. ARG!!

They say the snakes are babies... but we all know what that means!!! Mom is around somewhere!

I try not to live in fear in letting my kids out to play. I have read what I can on snake bites and I trust that I never have to deal with it. God can protect us! Now to live in that knowledge... at peace.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Nightmare Come True

Last night Serge got a call from Mama Deborah.
She and her family took in a former street kid, Theophile, about 1.5 years ago.
If you have been reading our updates for a long time you may remember Isobel, Theophile and Celestin, the first kids we supported in a home.

Well... LONG story but the latest... Mama Deborah found out yesterday that Theophile has sexually abused a three year old neighbourhood girl.

My whole body went completely numb, too numb to even cry.

All of the kids we work with have had incredibly difficult lives and pasts. We know there are drugs, glue sniffing, and girls. We deal with stuff all the time. But abuse. ARG! ARG! ARG! Too much.

Mama Deborah took Theophile to the police last night. We'll wait to hear what comes of it all. 

In the meantime, I watch Isabella playing Princess. If anyone would ever harm her in any way... I can't bear to think of that. I wonder about the mom of the three year old girl. God help them!

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Our prayers were answered people!
We had a great day selling the products made by Ubuzima, an association for those with living with HIV/AIDS. $227 worth! Maybe that doesn't seem like much to you but trust me, it's great and will be an incredible help with their upcoming expenses not to mention a great confidence booster for their morale. 
People actually want to buy their things - there is a market! YEAH! 

Who knows when the next opportunity will be have such a display again but I'll be keeping my eyes open for those opportunities for them. In the meantime, it's time to learn some new products - decorative pillows and skirts! Got some fun things coming to improve the jewelry as well. Love eBay sellers who ship worldwide!! :-)

I really do believe that we can get this association to be self sustaining.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Why do I Doubt?

Every other Tuesday morning - or that is the plan anyway - I meet with three great friends here in Kigali to catch up with life, encourage each other and pray. Three of us are missionaries and one a physiotherapist and wife to the only neurosurgeon in Rwanda - 2 Canadians, a Brit and a South African - and three of us are married to Rwandans. Great mix!

Well, this morning was a time to be together again. It had been about a long time since I have been able to go with all that was happening in our lives. We had a great time of catching up... and then we prayed. We prayed for our husbands, for our kids, for Rwanda and for each other.

We  had finished praying and well, this is where my doubt comes in. You see when we were praying, God clearly gave me a picture of the umbilical cord wrapped around Anita's baby. I sat there after we had prayed and were saying our good-byes and I argued with God... was what I saw really true? I DID get up the nerve to say that I needed to pray for protection for the baby as I had this sense that all was not well somehow. Valerie and I pressed into some prayer for Anita and the baby.

Again, we chatted as we were about to leave. God would not let my heart rest but I continued to doubt. What if? What if the visual I had was not from God? More chatting...

I finally blurted out what I had seen. Val looked at me and said that she had seen a picture of the cord wrapped as well. Oh God, how could I doubt you?? We pressed into some serious prayer again and then we hugged good-byes and left each other until next time.

Anita called me tonight.
Her husband's uncle had come to see them tonight and before he left, he prayed for Anita and their family. In his prayer, he thanked God for the curse that had already been broken over the baby earlier in the day. That what Satan had meant for evil, that God had prevailed and the victory was already won for the baby's life. He had no idea of the prayer time earlier in the day.

Why do I doubt God?
Why do I doubt that God can and will reveal things to me if I seek him?
Why do I doubt him when he does reveal things to me?
Where is my confidence?

This is definitely not the first time I have been in this exact situation. God has used me like this before in my life but it has been sometime. God, I want to be open. I want to be used by you... give me the courage to have faith and trust in who you are.
Help me not to doubt!