Friday, November 15, 2013

Land of a Thousand Hills

After a wonderfully long but relaxing day of flight Thursday, we landed in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday night.  We had been up since 2:00 in the morning, again, but the plane from Brussels to Kigali was huge, and the two of us got four seats to ourselves.  We got some good rest.
As we got off the plane in Rwanda, I kept thinking to myself, 'I am stepping on African soil!'.  The air was warm and humid, and there were just beautiful dark people everywhere.  When we reached our hotel room, we looked around and it was obvious we were 'not in Kansas anymore, Toto'.  A large mosquito net hung over our bed.  The dark bathroom lacked drinkable water. The curtains were red with tribal stripes.  And out the back window there opened up a big, beautiful part of the city of Kigali.  Children splashed in the swimming pool. Palm trees hung over the rolling hills.  Hills and hills and hills.  Kigali is actually called the land of a thousand hills, and now I see why.  

Friday morning, Compassion was celebrating their 2nd graduating class from the Leadership Development Program, which is for children who have graduated from regular sponsorship (because of age) and are moving on to college.  Kenny had been asked to speak, since he just happened to be in the neighborhood for the wedding of our own sponsored LDP student. We were told to meet our driver in the lobby at 8:45 in the morning.  At 7:15, we got a call from said driver, John, letting us know he was here and ready to go.  Um...We looked at each other and moved it into high gear to get ready as fast as we could.  We jumped into the truck, and drove through town, taking in all that we observed.
The graduation was absolutely amazing.  There is such a beautiful bond between believers in Christ, and we most certainly felt that today. These people are so friendly, so hospitable, so relaxed, so humble.  They love God and are so grateful for how He is raising Rwanda out of the ashes after the 1994 genocide.  And He truly is! There are still deep scars, but the president of the country has taken great strides in cleaning it up and pointing it toward God.  It really is a most beautiful redemption story!

John and Kenny

Look at the beautiful colors of the chairs!

Kenny and Eugene, a pastor and employee of Compassion Rwanda

Absolutely delicious!  Lots of meat and veggies.  

I cannot say enough of what I took in today.  Honestly, I am quite overwhelmed in every way.  The strangeness, the beauty, the smells, the sounds, the stress of our calendar while here, the longing to spend more time with the people we've met, the homesickness for my own children, and yes, even this mosquito net distracts me.  This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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