Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My First Days in Rwanda

Today marks my third full day in Rwanda and my first in the city where I will live, Butare or Huye.  The current Fidesco volunteers in the country have been taking good care of me.  Patrice and Benedicte from the center for street children picked me up from the airport in Kigali and hosted me for 2 nights, while Segolene and Ronan and their 4 children greeted me at the bus station with a sign that said, "Welcome Heather," and have hosted me for two nights also.  Some of the highlights are as follows:


  • Visiting the Cyprien and Daphrose Center, which is a Fidesco and Emmanuel Community project for the boys who live in the streets of Kigali.  They are brought to the center of their own free will and live there for 5-6 months on average as the staff works to reunite them with their family or find them a new home.  I loved the morning and early afternoon I had with the boys.  During the morning prayer, when the group offers each other a sign of peace, some of the boys gave me hugs.  They are so hungry for affection and I didn't mind it at all.  Then I sat with them during an English lesson and then let them teach me a line dance.  At one point I played cards with them, but it was a game I didn't know.  Since they speak very little English, it took awhile to grasp the rules, but once I did, the boys clapped and cheered for me whenever I made a good move.  If anyone feels depressed, I think one would only have to go there and spend time loving the boys and leave a happy, loved person.
  • Being with the French Fidesco family in Butare.  Their welcome was great, but after that, it has just been a joy being with them.  There are 4 kids, ages 2.5-9, and it reminds me of the French family I knew in Minnesota.  Both families have young parents and they took me in as a single person far from home and let me be with their families.  Tonight I played cards with Ronan and the two girls and this morning Segolene took me shopping at the market.  I let her take the lead because I still have to learn what is a good price to barter down to and where to go for the fairest vendors.
  • Visiting the school where I will work and the house where I will live.  Sr. Maria Goretti, the principal, gave me a tour today and I was very impressed.  There are 12 heads of cattle and 5 calves so the students can have milk and rabbits for meat (sorry for the downer news for the animal lovers).  Vegetables or plants to feed the cattle are planted all over the property.  The solid waste from the cattle and the students are fed into an underground storage area to produce biogas to power the milk pasteurizer.  I'll write more about my first day at the school next time, but it's time to socialize with my hosts.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like things are going well Heather; I'm glad to hear that. I pray that while you're doing our Lord's work He keeps you safe.