An Educator’s Perspective

October 25, 2013 | Janie

Kids are everywhere

On the most recent trip to Kivuruga, nothing was more enjoyable for Brad than hanging out with the kids.

For more than 28 years Brad Wold has taught in the Biology Department at the Cambridge Campus of the Anoka Ramsey Community College. Brad was one of the educators who joined in the trip to Kivuruga, Rwanda, this past August. When I asked him to share his thoughts about the trip from the point of view of someone committed to education, here’s what he had to say:

I was immediately interested in Our Response when I heard of it several years ago. I have made two trips to Mexico that concerned humanitarian issues, so the work in Africa intrigued me. When my wife, Marie, had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia two years ago, my interest in the African people was piqued even more. I was and still am extremely impressed with the World Vision model of helping communities. Because our family sponsors a seven-year-old girl in Kivuruga, I was so pleased that educators were encouraged to join the trip team, thus allowing me to meet our sponsored child and her father.

I enjoyed the trip immensely in a variety of ways. Since I teach classes in human anatomy and physiology, microbiology and environmental science, there were many things I saw and heard that were of interest to me and related directly to what I teach. I was pleased to view the clean water project and hear how thankful the people were for having their time freed up. Now they walk one-half hour versus four hours a day to get clean water.

Visting the clean water project in Kivuruga

A visit to the clean water site.

Also, with my farm boy background, it was interesting to see how farming is being done in Rwanda. Kent and I were fortunate to able to spend a little time with the district agronomist, asking him questions about current practices and what he sees for the future in the area. When I asked about coffee—I do have a little coffee addiction that I am cultivating—he was very proud to point me to a local coffee that had recently won the Coffee Cup of Excellence Award. It lived up to its award. And, no, I don’t have any for sale.

Farming in Kivuruga, Rwanda

Land must be terraced in order to farm every square inch of the hills of Rwanda.

with Kent and the sector agronomist, Mr. Jean de la Paix Sengabo

Brad and Kent meet with the sector agronomist.

Brad with sugarcane

Brad learns how to cut sugarcane.

Kent and I were harassed, primarily by Shelby and Amy, the young ladies in our group, for being bird-watching geeks, (or nerds, whichever shoe fits). I admit I was more than a little excited to identify the African pied crow and marabou stork. We probably saw 25 new birds.

African pied croc

Pied crow.

As fun as all that was, my greatest memories are those involving the children. Meeting our sponsored child was wonderful, but my favorite times involved walking along with a group of ragamuffins, holding their hands and listening to them sing. Or, camera in hand, kicking the soccer ball around with them, and then showing them their pictures.

Trading soccer balls, new for homemade.

Soccer ball trade.

Meeting Immaculine

Brad shares gifts and conversation with his sponsored child, Immaculine, and her father.

I hope we all want to be “good Samaritans” to people in need, both close to home and far away. We can do much locally, but through organizations like World Vision, we can also help do much globally. People everywhere are our neighbors. It was so rewarding to be in Kivuruga in person to encourage the World Vision staff. They do incredible work with an amazing joyful, thankful attitude. I am so pleased to be able to financially support them as “the hands and feet of Jesus” in Rwanda.