The Kids on the Hill

January 25, 2014 | Janie

Ask any member of the teams that have travelled to Rwanda, “What was the trip highlight?” Many of them would say, “Meeting my sponsored child!”

When the 2013 team went to World Vision’s Area Development Project for Kivuruga (otherwise known as the ADP), they were met by their sponsored kids, clean as a whistle and dressed in brand new clothes paid for by sponsor dollars. All the children, the parents, and staff were singing loudly and clapping.

kids sponsored through World Vision

One by one the kids’ names were called and they stepped forward to meet their sponsors. It’s a bit scary for them! But after gift giving…



feasting at the ADP

…and, yes, lots and lots of fun with soccer balls…


Shaun Johnson plays soccer with the kids

sponsored child with soccer ball

…everyone was definitely feeling the joy.


But there were some on the hill just outside the walls of the ADP who were merely onlookers.

kids on the hill

The team that travelled to Kivuruga in 2011 saw a similar group of kids.

ADP onlookers in 2011

One can only imagine what was running through the minds of these children, youth who maybe live nearby or who came to observe out of curiosity.


But this time Steve was ready for them! Children like these were why the 2013 team brought over an additional 50 soccer balls!

Steve and Clint meet the kids on the hill

Steve and a number of the team members walked up the hill to make a trade: new soccer balls from the States for a couple of the kids’ homemade variety. Steve shared, “I’m not sure how many balls were given to those kids, but I think… [about 15]. We made an offer to trade a few soccer balls for their’s, which created mass chaos as they all went and got their balls (or quickly tried to make them) so they could trade. When we ran out of balls, they traded us for water bottles, jump ropes, or anything else we had. They would follow us in the van with their homemade balls asking us to trade.”

These children were also invited into the ADP to finish off the leftover food from lunch. Shannon  said, “… to help them not run each other over in a mad dash to dish up a plate, we asked them to line up so we could get them through the buffet line.”

Kids invited into the ADP from the hill


kids on the hill enter ADP to eat kids wait for food at the ADP kids from the hill chow down

But before Steve, Brad, Clint, and Shannon came back from the hill, they met a woman making a meal. According to Steve, “The woman showed us her cooking pot, which was near the pit latrine (basically a hole dug for waste)…

Woman at her outdoor fire

…and a fenced in cow.” 

fenced cow 


Look out, Brad!

Brad takes a photo

The woman at the fire was boiling sweet potatoes, a staple in Rwanda. Steve shared, “Clearly she was very poor, but yet very proud of what she had. It was one of those moments where we intentionally went off the beaten path to interact with people that were not part of the World Vision group.”

Boiling sweet potatoes

It was a very good day at the ADP.

Group shot of sponsors and kids

And it was a very good day on the hillside.

Brad with hillside kids

Clint and Shannon trade soccer balls with kids on the hill

And that’s the end of what I think is a very sweet story.


  • Tracy

    What a WONDERFUL mix of emotions reading this article. I’m looking forward to hearing more on the impact Our Response has had on this community!

  • Shannon

    Beautiful, Janie. Your combination of words and visuals bring the story to life!