Memorial Week

Mike and were in different places during the genocide memorial week. He really wanted to work with the Hagari ministries kids camp again,PicsArt_1397648216153 so he spent the afternoons all week planning, teaching, and playing games with aroud 100 kids. These are kids that are regularly involved with Hagari ministries, and many PicsArt_1397647990687of them are able to attend school because of sponsors through this ministry.

 

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I felt like it was important to be in our new home during this time, even if I don’t know very many people. I am really glad I did.

On the first morning I was back in Ryabega, I met Sam on my way to buy groceries at the larger centre. Sam is someone who has been helping the project from its beginning: he is a man who is resourceful, kind, well-connected, ready to help, and a leader in this community. He told me that he had just been to visit a genocide survivor who had moved to this community. She felt safe here because it is mostly a community of people who fled the country to Uganda at various times, and returned in the mid-90’s. These were not genocide perpetrators.  She had no money and no family to take care of her.  An older lady had taken her into her house to live with her, but now she was experiencing old wounds (from the genocide) flaring up, and had no health insurance or money to go to the hospital. Now, I haven’t entirely got the health system here figured out, but I do know this: you can get health insurance for $5/year, and that entitles you to at least basic services.

Sam flagged down a bus for me at this time, so I went to get what I needed, but it stuck with me. I called Sam when I got back and said I wanted to talk more (and of course, he came immediately from what he had been doing). I asked him for some advice, and he said, “she needs health insurance so she can go to the hospital, and we should go visit.” So we did. Through Sam, I gave them some money for health care and a little food. We also had a really awkward visit, as Sam explained things alternately in English and Kinyarwanda. I keep reminding myself that these visits are important in this culture, even though they feel very strange and uncomfortable to me.

Sam asked if I was attending the community meetings, as if the answer would be “of course.” (Throughout the week, everything shuts down in the afternoon and people meet in their communities to hear the history and testimonies of the genocide. It is a time to remember and grieve together; and to support those who need it.) I have been interested in going to these meetings, but always felt that I would be an intruder.  So I asked Amiss (our housemate) if I could/should go with him, and he seemed to think it was a good idea. I went to a couple with Amiss, and at the end of the week most of our team went to the muchlarger community gathering with Sam. He introduced us publicly, explained that we were not there as spectators, but to show our support, and spoke a little about what we are planning to do.

I was really thankful for this opportunity to be with the community; to show support, and to learn more about the people we are working with.

 

 

 

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Back to Kigali

The last couple weeks have been fairly eventful: Mike and I both travelled to Kigali to participate in ministry opportunities, and last week was the beginning of the memorial time marking 20 years since the genocide. I worked with the Discipleship Training School on their last week of lecture phase before they left for outreach in Uganda  This particular group was quite young in general, and contained 14 students from Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, & USA.  I taught on public speaking, sharing testimonies & the gospel, outreach expectations, and of course, teambuilding and all of the things that come up in the course of these challenges. I really enjoy teaching this kind of thing because it helps people see the transition phase between what we learn and what we do.  Are we kind when we are under stress?  Do we critisize and complain?  Do we rise to challenges or want to give up quickly?

the team's expectations for their outreach in Uganda

the team’s expectations for their outreach in Uganda

Working together to accomplish a challenge (getting the ball to a certain point without letting it fall)

Working together to accomplish a challenge (getting the ball to a certain point without letting it fall)

team blindfold challenge

team blindfold challenge

Explaining the challenge (I always look so angry in pictures where I'm talking... it makes me wonder if I look that way when its not stop-motion.)

Explaining the challenge (I always look so angry in pictures where I’m talking… it makes me wonder if I look that way when its not stop-motion.)

And of course, our time involved food!  We both got to help the Kigali base prepare and serve a big celebration meal: to send out the DTS team, welcome a South African outreach team, and say farewell to Emmanuel, the base cook of many years.  (He will be sorely missed.)

serving food (doesn't my wonderful husband take such flattering pictures of me!?)

serving food
(doesn’t my wonderful husband take such flattering pictures of me!?)

Mike was able to teach another cooking class with Hagari ministries.  This time it was bread.  (Bread had been their request, even though they don’t have an oven at home, so won’t be able to replicate it.) More about the memorial week coming soon…