Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Dear Sweet William

Today was day two of our Summer Camp.

Late morning I was outside the main hall and came upon William.
William is about 10 years old. I have known him since he was a little boy.
He is very dear sweet boy being raised by his mother in one of the poorest communities in Kigali.

I tried to get him to go inside with the others but he seemed very reluctant.
In an almost inaudible voice he said something that I couldn't hear properly.
It wasn't until Serge came along that he convinced him to go inside. I followed him and get occupied with Beni.

As few minutes later, a short-term team member, Monica,  nudged me and said that William was crying.
Why was he crying?

He had come to camp that day looking for Shanda.
Shanda was a short-term team member that was here last year.
He had come looking for her and was not on this years team.

Monica and I did our best to console him and he stayed.
A few minutes later, I catch Joel's eye and he mouths to me that William left.
I beelined out the door after him. He was already almost off the property.

I caught up to him and as I turned him around, hot big tears were rolling down his cheeks.
'Shanda's not here. She didn't come back to see me.'

In the minutes that followed I tried to console him again - she sent her friends, she would love to be here but she couldn't be this year, etc. etc. but nothing seemed to work.

My dear sweet William just said to me, 'My heart is too sad to dance today. I am going home. I will come back tomorrow.'

I gave him a final hug and made him promise me that he would return tomorrow. I then turned back toward the camp, tears welling in my eyes. And then they overflowed... 

Short-term team members have no idea what impact they can have a life.
I know that Shanda loved on William last year. I know she was Jesus to him and now he's been waiting a full year to see her again.

What I wouldn't do to pay her ticket to come and surprise him but that's about impossible.

I'm praying my dear sweet William comes tomorrow and that somehow he can understand the gift that God has sent him in this years amazing team.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Stewing... just a bit ...

So I can't get this off my mind.
This morning I went by the office and saw four school reports. Of all the reports we will see, Jean Claude, Grace, Manude and Prince (not our son) were the first ones to arrive.

Grace, Manude and Prince did just fine in their classes - Primary 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

Jean Claude... what to say to Jean Claude?
What does one say when his class placing is 16th out of 44 students - so he's in the top half of his class - and yet his overall mark is 37.6%?

What does one say?

I have no idea ...

Sad thing, he's in Primary 6 / grade 6 and will write the national exams in November. Sigh... 

We're into the holiday program with our kids... week of sports camp, two week of dance camp with a team here and then two weeks being tutored.
The students go back to school September 3rd for the third term.

God helps us!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Start of the Library!

JCM, the youth ministry team in the Kiziba Refugee Camp, has wanted a library for about 2 years. Education is such a problem and they believe that a library will enable students to study better, more teenagers to be occupied and potentially enable more of them to further their education.

After a generous donation towards the building cost and ensuring that a library was indeed the next thing to do in the camp... it's time. We've got a team in that will spend the better part of this week putting up the walls and hopefully the roof.  What fun! We look forward as to how God will multiply this effort and use it to not only break some cycles of poverty but to further His Kingdom

Not sure there is a library in the world with a
better view!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Beni's 3!

Nothing like haveing a team on the ground, a schedule to keep, no house girl for the day, having the team for lunch, getting a cake made AND trying to make the day special somehow for the birthday boy. Bit crazy but we survived ... and it was good!

Can't believe Beni is three already.
He's such a fun kid. I have always said that he's 110% boy - always going, curious and if something involves sports or wheels it's grand for him. We continue to pray for him to be the man that God has created him to be. We love you Beni more than you'll ever know!

Thank you Pinterest for a great cake idea!

So Towmater said to McQueen ... 'It's Beni's birthday!'

Maybe, just maybe he won't always want to
ride Prince's scooter now!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


18 years of liberation 50 years after independence.

That is what we have been celebrating in Rwanda these last days... July 1st for independence and today for liberation.

As I drove around the city of Kigali today with our latest team in town, giving them a bit of a city tour, I again marveled at how far this country has come in such a short time. Not just out from under the rule of colonization but from a genocide that killed about 1,000,000 people in 100 days.

The country and the people of Rwanda are indeed resilient, courageous and dedicated to developing their country. Construction continues to happen on every other corner it seems and many changes happen in the name of development constantly.

I was sharing with the team that when I first came to Rwanda in 2003 and then 2004, we would have electricity for 1 - 2 hours per day and usually in the middle of the night. I would leave the light on in my room and hope to wake up so I could do some ironing - at 3am! I remember finding ONE chocolate bar in a shop in Kigali. My intern at the time and I bought and split it, thinking we had found a great gift from God himself to us. When walking, one would need to watch constantly where they were stepping, as to not disappear down a random hole in the sidewalk. Not to mention internet access. What internet access?

We now have electricity round the clock (except for a few glitches every once in a blue moon, I can buy Cadbury chocolate about anywhere and we have sidewalks, I have internet access in my home ... working digital traffic lights, etc. etc. etc.

Such simple things to mention in the 18 years after genocide... and yet each part of a people who have worked hard and will continue to work hard for their country Rwanda.

I see how far the country and the people of this country have come in the last 8 years... how much further will the country be in 5 or 10  years from now. I have no doubt they will be that much closer to Kigali being the Singapore of Africa.

Check out this video... New Kigali City Concept