Wednesday, 24 October 2012

First time in the leaves!

Fun with their cousins!

Reverse Culture Shock

I always know that something will get me.
Before I head back to the west, I always brace myself for all the choices of most everything - entire AISLES of cereal ... etc.! Plus half of it is half the price of what we pay in Rwanda. Always a challenge to get into the 'Canadian groove' again.
I have had times when all I could do was breathe through the Zehr's supermarket, I melted down in the IKEA candle section, I have walked out of more than one store with nothing because I couldn't make a choice. I didn't know what it was going to be this time.
Dental floss!
So we landed in Canada yesterday and today I headed to my local Shopper's Drugmart to stock up on stuff. I come with no toiletries as it's so much cheaper to buy in Canada. On my list... .dental floss. 
I found it all right.
When I did, I just stood there and stared... trying to take it all in.
I finally counted my choices... THIRTY SIX!!! (36!!!!) not counting the pick thingy's.
Who needs 36 choices of dental floss?? Seriously people!
I breathed deep and finally found the familiar small white box with green letters - your basic floss in mint flavour. 
I left Shoppers Drugmart just a little sad and overwhelmed.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


4:30 am tea party ... sigh

Canada Bound ...

I am on my way to Canada for home assignment. What does that mean?
See my family (YEAH!), see friends and connect with current and potential donors.
Serge and Prince will come in a couple of weeks once Prince is finished his exams.
We'll be back in Rwanda in early January.
It's been 2 years since we've been 'home'.
So much to do and so many people to see in such a short period of time.
Praying for health!

Kids... Kigali airport
Beni meltdown - 'Mommy, I forgot my sticks!'
'What sticks Beni?'
'My HOCKEY (mini) sticks!!!'

Made it through the night... morning in Amsterdam

Uncle Craig to pick us ... lunch at McDonald's

Sunday, 21 October 2012

6 Years old!

Party at Grandma's house!

Blowing her candles with Auntie Linda and Grandma

First piece of cake - mom, Auntie Solange, Beni and Prince

Mmmmm... not sure mom approves of this one!

Thrilled with her Barbie like doll

Friday, 19 October 2012

Isabella's First School Party

Today, Isabella hosted her first school party. It is her 6th birthday on Sunday and it's her last day of school.
At 12:15pm, Serge, Beni and I showed up at school with princess cupcakes and candy bags ready for the big event. It's big when it's kindergarten!

Isabella with her two best friends

Blowing out her candles

Serving her cupcakes

Dad and Beni getting in on the action

Isabella with her two fantastic teachers
Teacher Odeth and Teacher Fiona

Foundation Class Faith 2012 at Wellspring Academy

Leaving school on her last day of Foundation Class

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Going 'home'

I was out last night with my two best friends here, Chrissie and Anita. It as our last hurrah before I leave for Canada for a couple of months.
We got talking about what it's like for us to return to our 'home'. Chrissie is from the UK while Anita is from S. Africa. Chrissie and I get back about every 2 years while Anita has been here 3.5 years and has yet to return.
We talked about our aging parents. We talked about the relationship with our siblings. We talked about the challenges of going back 'home'. For the three of us, Rwanda is where God has called us , where we have been blessed to be at complete peace in knowing, this is where we are to be. Of course we all miss our families and a few close friends very much. No doubt about that. But then there is the much larger group of friends and acquaintances and we got talking about how hard it is to relate. Life has changed so much for the three of us over the years. What we encounter on a daily basis is a lot different than 'home' and what we grew up with. Some of it we get used to and it becomes normal and other bits of it are still constant challenges for us. Big challenge - what to talk about with people? How much energy to put into trying to get someone to 'get' my life?
As time passes, God continues to move in and through all of us. That is true.
As I look forward to being in Canada, I'm praying that I have the energy to share my life with people and that I can do it in a relevant way. I'm also praying that those I do come in contact with encourage me in my daily journey of life.
What I know is ... I'm going to do my best to make the most of my time in Canada and I'll return to Rwanda with stories to tell my friends over our next coffee together.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Memory Lane

Again today I was packing. I was packing up my office at home.
I came across my notebook from when we started working with children and youth at risk here in Kigali.
I was so amazed as I read through the notes from my first meetings with some of the kids. 
Daniel - lives under the bridge by the church, multiple health issues, just hoping that he is going to wake up alive each day
Today - Daniel is a house commissioner (real estate agent) and has lived on his own for the last years and is always dressed very well. He has helped us multiple times over the last years find houses for our interns, long term missionaries and other missionaries coming to Rwanda.
Sibomana - no place to live each day. maybe he could be a construction worker someday.
Today - Sibomana owns his own welding shop. He calls Serge on a regular basis to check in and wonder when we are going to send him some youth at risk to him so he can train them in welding.
Finiyas - doesn't even know why he is alive today. no idea that he can dream or hope for the future.
Today - Finiyas has a full time job. He rents his own home and goes to school in the evening.
I was most grateful that God allowed me to read through these notes again. How their lives have changed - from hard hearted street youth to godly men who are integrated well into all areas of society. We have been part of that.
As I read through my notes though, I was also very aware of  the youth who are still living on the streets. Not that they haven't had a chance to go to school, get off the street, gain life skills ... they have made a choice not to. We pray that the seeds we have planted will grow and they will desire change in the future.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

House Update ...

Went by the house today... LOTS going on. Only got a few pictures before my camera battery died...

Our new gate... we're still deciding what colour it will be
besides the red anti rust paint.

They have painted the first coat of primer inside, have all the
ceilings finished and are starting to paint the outside primer too!

About a third of the grass is planted ... each individual stalk!

My future kitchen!

Fuel Shortage

I noticed on FaceBook the other day on a post from a friend in Burundi that they had a fuel shortage. I knew it would only be a matter of a day or days before it would hit us.
Sure enough ...
Serge went to the pumps today and was told he could only have 20000 RWF of fuel - half of what he wanted. He begged and pleaded and the guy finally gave him the 40000 RWF. He then promptly drove on to a station further down the road and put more fuel in.
It's been some time since we have had a fuel shortage. It is usually not very fun. If it lasts for weeks upon weeks, the amounts one is allowed to buy gets less and one drives around looking for a station with cars as they actually still have fuel.
Who knows how long this one will last? What I know is that the price jumped today from 970 RWF to 1050 RWF. That's a 12.5 cent increase. Sigh...