Team Building

   And so continues the first Kigali, Rwanda DTS (Discipleship Training School) of 2013. We have 14 students, all told, with a good international blend. Including staff, this school represents the countries of Rwanda,  Canada, Germany, Holland, Burundi, and the United States. IMG_8555

One thing I (Michael) have really enjoyed about DTS is the IMG_8581opportunity for team building exercises that require teamwork, communication, and persistence. I never used to like these occasions and understood their usefulness even less; being put into potentially awkward circumstances with a contrived puzzle wasn’t my idea of a good time. However, after being able to learn from some great team building teachers, learning how to observe more capably, (and maybe even growing up a little bit), I’ve come to see these times as helpful for understanding how I relate to others and vice versa.

That said, we have had two separate opportunities for team building. We led one ourselves in the first week to kind of RWANDA 5 086break the ice among all the new arrivals.Our first game was about communication and trust. There was an obstacle course on the lawn and the teams had to each walk through it while blindfolded with only their teammates’ voices/noises to direct them.

Our second day of team building was held the second-last weracheal komantek of lectures and was led by Racheal Komant, who is an insightful teacher and leader! She gave us her afternoon and focused on teaching us about how to achieve real unity as a team. She led us through four games in which the goals and solutions were open ended enough to draw out many differing responses from the students. For example, while travelling from the classroom to the game site, all 20 of us had to keep a beachball in the IMG_8536air the entire time. Then, halfway to our destination, Racheal began keeping count of hits before the ball touched the ground. This created more of an air of competition and actually caused us to try harder with varying degrees of success. Upon reaching our destination Racheal led us in a dialogue about the definition of success. Some found ourselves successful in having fun, beating our previous beachball-in-the-air record, communicating while walking/beachball tossing… while others felt we hadn’t succeeded; failing to keep the ball in the air the whole time, not beating our record more thoroughly, and even some poor attitudes shown in body posture/comments mid-exercise. Even though we hadn’t expected to have even started the course yet, we had learned a lot about ourselves as a group.

A second exercise was having a group of four all grab, with both hands,  one rope tied into a circle. With eyes closed, they had to form this rope into a square and place it on IMG_8545the floor as a square. It required much communication and proved to reveal which of us were perfectionists, which were organizers/directors, and which were relaxed, having fun, and okay with an adequate square. The conflict, we found, was when those personalities were mixed up together in one group with the relaxed and the perfectionists having to come to some sort of resolution!

I appreciated the questions and conclusions the students arrived at during the discussions following these exercises. They seemed to appreciate many of the reasons for conflict that arise in any community and how they can respond in a healthy way. I certainly enjoyed our team building times and being able to play together while learning these lessons was a lot of fun!


 I (Michael) have been thinking a lot lately about providence and sustenance. The availability of solutions and resources that are right in front of me for a long time before I ever even notice them.

dale and linda bolton

We met a couple from Canada by the name of Dale and Linda Bolton. They began and work with Organics 4 Orphans which is focused on bringing community through organic gardening, education, and medicinal/nutritional training. They have been working in Kenya with a local, green thumb wielding, young man named Boaz. They train people up to train others in simple, small scale, high production gardening as well as head up community projects such as teaching the undernourished/impoverished how to grow  gardens with minimal input and maximum yield.

o4obrochureinside finalThey recently stayed at the YWAM base here in Kigali to spend some time with our directors, inquiring about bringing their ministry to Rwanda. Since they stayed just down the hall from us I had many opportunities to hear about their work, ask lots of questions, and even glean tons of information from them. Because sustainable agriculture has been something God has been stirring up in me (and because I really like food from beginning of production to end!!) they were an incredible encouragement to me and what I may be able to do here in Rwanda.

In part because of Dale and Boaz’s enthusiasm, I have set up a small kitchen scraps collection just outside of the kitchen where we prepare meals. I have collected enough organic matter at the end of each week that I have been able to play in the dirt and dig some compost trenches. It’s not something I’ve done before but it seems the results are, at the very least, not harmful. We’ll see in these next months how the garden does and if nothing else burying the scraps can cut our garbage pile (and therefore cost) by a third to half! And if all works well, we should have free fertilizer for the gardens to grow even more nutritious and abundant food!

PS – What got me thinking was a plant Dale pointed out called ‘Moringa’ which has so much nutrient, mineral, and vitamin value that health stores would charge big bucks for it in Canada. And it turns out that we have at least six of these trees growing right on the property!

Good News!!!

We were feeling a little more hopeful after I got a text last week saying they needed about $30 more to process our visas (to pay for the bridging visas we received last time, and they would transfer the $300 we payed last time for our actual work permit).  Its felt a little last minute considering I’m planning to leave the country in 2 days , but:


It has been a crazy rollercoaster waiting for these; we almost gave up, and it has been underlying stressor for over 3 months,  but today we celebrate this!