Laundry

Hello!  This is a bit of a different kind of post, not so much a story or news, but more about some of the daily, small issues that we as mzungus need to navigate our way through if we want to live here and have a good effect.

There are many things that both of us grew up taking for granted: water comes from the tap (and I can adjust it to whatever temperature I prefer from that tap, ranging from scalding hot to almost freezing), toilets flush when you push the handle, you can count on the electricity working, every house has a regular size fridge (“regular” here is our hotel size or smaller), and dirty clothes go in the washing machine.

However, here, laundry is done entirely by hand.  Like most things, handwashing your clothes is a skill that you have to practice.  We have no natural talent at it.  (Especially me [Amanda].  And I hate doing things I am bad at.)  In addition, not being very good at it means that it is terribly time consuming – it takes about 3 hours once a week to wash our clothes.  This needs to be done in the morning.  (Otherwise, they don’t dry before they start to stink.)

All of this not to complain, but to give you an idea of what is at stake in this decision.

Its common practice here to hire someone to do your household chores for very little money.  There are two sides to this:  the person who does the work is certainly paid much less than a living wage and the worker is often looked down on.  The other side is that at least they have some kind of job and are making some money.  We are doing our own household chores, since our food and such is done for the whole community, and our cleaning is not that much.  We certainly didn’t come here to pay someone a tiny amount of money so that we can do the other, “more important work.”  But when it comes to laundry…

We could hire someone for $2-$3/week, and have our laundry done for us.  We wouldn’t have to worry about finding the time, in the morning, on a sunny day, to spend three hours slopping around in the water.  It looks attractive to me!  For now, Mike has said he feels really strongly about it, and doesn’t mind the work, so he is doing all the laundry.  (Sorry I don’t have a picture of him at the big cement sink – I was sick the day he did laundry -I’ll try to post one soon!)

Its a small thing, but it seems significant to us. We continue to ask what people here think, and to pray, and to consider what is the wisest course of action.

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Meet Moise!

This is Moise (MO-ease, also known as Moses.)

He is from Burundi.  (Burundi is a small country bordering Rwanda on the south.  The countries share similar culture, language, and history.)

As the time came closer for us to come to Rwanda, we understood that we would be asked to staff the Discipleship Training School (DTS) that starts here in January.  We had some hesitations about this, mostly because we did not want to be thrust into a teaching role in a culture we are just beginning to understand.  I believe that the kingdom of God transcends culture in so many ways, but God has also given us much freedom and creativity not only as indivuduals, but in how we create cultures.  We don’t want to disciple people to be Canadian followers of Christ, but to be followers of Christ who live expressing the unique way God has created them.

SO… we prayed that there would be someone to work with us.  Someone who could lead the school, who would be capable, confident, and humble.  Someone who could help translate culture for us, whom we could learn from and who could learn from us. Someone sensitive, compassionate, and considerate who is also a good communicator.

Someone with a good sense of humour.  Someone who is willing to take on challenges (even if he is a little fearful). Someone who could become a good friend – that we would be a good team in part because we genuinely enjoy serving together.

As we have begun to work with Moise for the DTS he has already been (diligently) preparing for, it has become quickly apparent that our prayers have indeed been answered.  We are confident that there are times ahead where we will disagree and probably frustrate each other.  However, Moise is all that we have asked for, and I am sure we will discover that he is far more than we have hoped or imagined.

our little suite (with pictures!)

 Well, we have been here about a week.  It has been a great time, renewing old friendships, and beginning new ones.  Our main focus so far has been on getting settled.  We are living in a little one-bedroom suite on the YWAM base – it hasn’t been lived in for quite awhile, so it needed a lot of cleaning.  We have also been working on unpacking our stuff and getting it put away (you’ll see remnants of that in the pictures.)  We also spent some time in the markets getting some things we need want.  The staff have been really helpful, and also fun – we have laughed a lot this week!
Here are some pictures of our suite, starting with a rough idea of the layout, for those of you that are helped by things like that.

(not to scale)

This is the view from the door.

View into the living room.

living room… if your picture isn’t on our wall, you could send us one!

from living room towards kitchen

little kitchenette from stairs up to loft

bedroom – looking for a bigger bed, but this one works for now. the mosquito net goes around it like a canopy.

if you turn the knob and let the toilet tank fill, it even FLUSHES!!

SHOWER HEAD WITH RUNNING WATER!!!!! We are living in luxury, my friends.

Starting on Monday, we will be working on preparing for the Discipleship Training School (DTS) that begins in January.  More about that as we begin.

Arrived.

Well – we started out our journey on Wednesday morning from the Crowsnest Pass. School was cancelled that day because there was freezing rain, and our car was coated in ice.  After a stressful drive, and through the gracious help of my aunt and uncle, we and all our luggage got to the airport.  Our flight was amazing, and we were able to visit 2 friends in London besides Kay, whom we stayed with.  We woke at 4 am to the smoke alarm going off because a hot water pipe had burst!  It was all very disorienting at first, but our unfortunate hosts had to deal with a plumbing emergency in the wee hours.  We spent the next night in a coffee shop at Heathrow airport due to early flights and luggage, but were able to shower in the lounge before takeoff.  We had geat flights, which we mostly slept through, before arriving in Kigali in the evening.  One of the staff got married yesterday, so we attended part of his wedding and were able to greet many people because of that.  After a whole night of sleeping we feel much more human again.

And now, the real journey begins.