Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rwanda, Part 2

On our second day in Rwanda I tried to explain to our driver, Saidi, that where we are from in the lowcountry it is nothing like the beautiful, mountainous landscape of Rwanda, i.e. "The Land of 1,000 Hills."  Saidi told me to pick any hill I wanted in his country and I could have it as my own.  I believe he meant it.

In my life and travels thus far, I've never met people who were more proud of their country or more eager to share.  The hospitality we experienced was overwhelming from the hard-boiled eggs offered to us in Pastor Ildephonse's home, the bottled Fanta's and Coke's given to us by coffee farmers on the top of the mountain in Mbilima to even the barbequed rabbit legs cooked especially for us by the headmistress of the school in Kiryamo Parish, Bukonya. (for the record, I didn't actually eat the rabbit legs).

We went to Rwanda with the expectation of giving so much, but as is usually the case, we received so much more.  We gave them soccer balls, they gave us handmade banana leaf balls.  We gave them shoes, they showed us what it means to literally walk by faith.  We gave a home for orphans to live in, they taught us what home really means as we met widows who take in and care for children who are not their own.  We taught them to sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," they sang us a song that said, "One night while I was sleeping somebody touched me, I know it was the Lord."  We paid rent for land to provide a sustenance farm and food for the orphans, they carried pineapples by the dozens on their heads up steep mountains for miles in order to offer us some sustenance for our travels.  We brought them hope, they brought us joy.
Some of the kids crowding in to say hi and welcome us to Kiryamo Parish School in Bukonya

Beans ready to harvest from the sustenance farm!
Saidi and John (my brother-in-law)

The team with our banana leaf balls.

This home will provide shelter for 12 orphans and two widows

No comments: