Well, what a ridiculously great day. After breakfast we split up into three groups: Shannon and myself, Shane and Tracy, and Terri and Lorraine; pairing off made it easier to visit the families of our sponsored children in their homes. The only bummer is that I did not get to visit homes other than mine and Shannon’s, but what we did experience was amazing.
First off, I had a chance to reunite with Boscoe, one of our drivers from past trips. He has not changed and still has the same great smile.
We drove a while and then, to my surprise, discovered that we were picking up Gerome (one of my sponsored children) along the way. So we stopped and received him into the van before traveling on to the home of Jean de la Croix, my other sponsored boy. We were greeted with flowers, singing, and huge smiles. Many people were there including Jean’s family, Gerome’s family, some extended family, neighbors and friends. We fit a lot of people in that small mud hut, which they had decorated for us with great pride. We exchanged quite a bit of information with each other and asked many questions, including how World Vision has impacted their lives. Just astounding.
As we left, our team quickly made its way to a brand new cement court that was constructed for basketball, volleyball, and other games. While I went about one-for-five from the floor, I can at least say I made a basket in Rwanda.
We said goodbye and travelled on to the home of Sifa, who is sponsored by Shannon. After a long drive deep into the mountains, we had about a 20 minute hike to get to her home. We followed a beautiful, winding path to get there, and, of course, downhill was better than uphill! Her family was so excited to see Shannon; they had pictures that Shannon had sent them posted up on their walls. I will let Shannon share her experiences, but what I saw was completely beautiful.
After the home visits, we met with all the children and available parents at a nearby hotel for lunch, an exchange of gifts, and some play time. It was a wonderful experience for all of us. Things came to an end right before the rains began. After tearful goodbyes it was time to get back into our vehicles.
We then travelled to see first-hand the impact of the clean water efforts in Rwanda. We drove for a long time before turning off on a back road to get to one part of the project that benefits both local residents and a Kivurugan school. If you ever complain about a windy, bumpy or narrow road, you should stop. I don’t care where you have been, I would challenge you mightily to find a road like this one. It was such an adventure, but so cool to arrive and talk with the people about the project.
We stood along one of the outlets of a huge pipeline funded through sponsorship dollars. This project is radically changing the quality of life for thousands of people. Seeing and hearing the stories of transformation resulting from clean water was overwhelming—especially when we learned about the ongoing strategy for the community to own the pipeline and make everything self-sustainable.
We had hoped to go to a tailoring cooperative, but between the rain and how behind schedule we were, we decided to defer that trip to another day. We really are wanting to see the cooperative because such efforts are the heartbeat of current economic development.
Luckily Shane is sharing his Bluetooth keyboard with me or my thumbs would have fallen off. There are so many things I could continue to say, but I need to head to dinner and then to bed so that I can at least be somewhat rested for the amazing adventures that lie in store for us tomorrow.
The people of Rwanda greet you with incredible gratitude and joy.