We spent the morning in Bugesera for church with partners of Under His Umbrella. This district is an hour outside of Kigali where there is more farm land and rural and undeveloped living.
The church was gracious to gift us a real live chicken as a token of gratitude - truly an honor and a first for me amongst my African experiences! Luckily we were able to pass the gift onto Jonathan and his family , our guide in Kigali and sponsorship coordinator at UHU.
Unfortunately only 4 out of the 7 of our team were able to partake in the day's events as the other 3 were very sick with food poisoning. (Misery!)
The following day we were back in Bugesera and able to spend the entire time at Under His Umbrella & Vineyard Christian School. There were nearly 400 kids which was daunting but a lot of fun to meet them and spend time getting to know some of the kids. We played a little pick up soccer, enjoyed hundreds of stickers, blew bubbles and sang songs. We also had the opportunity to serve their meal of rice and beans within the feeding program. Currently the school budget only allows for 3 meals a week, so many of them are not fed the other days or don't come to school at all.
In the afternoon we spent time with the UHU sewing ministry, meeting the mamas and learning their stories. They were so kind and open with us about how impactful the sewing program has been on their lives and families along with a brief testimony about life before working at UHU. Mind you three of these mamas also had tiny babies under 6 months affixed to their backs while they worked tirelessly making uniforms for next term. They also sew & sell bags and aprons to earn additional income in addition to weaving baskets.
At the end of the day we were able to facilitate three home visits in the village to bless families in need from Under His Umbrella and provide some necessities like maize flour, beans, rice and bars of soap. It was such an honor to be welcomed into each home and spend time learning their stories and to be a part of their community.
The landscape and people are beautiful and each day is continuing to be full of so much joy and hope!
Wishing you a Happy New Year from Rwanda!
Africa is...a place of such unimaginable beauty and dignity and expanse and possibility, and such unfathomable suffering and despair and disease and decay. It is at once so alive and so wracked by death, so powerful in its landscape and physicality, and so powerless under the weight of famine and political upheaval and disease... You will be haunted by what you find there, and you won't be able to wash away what you've seen and heard... You will be responsible for them, for telling the truth about you are and who you discover you are not, and for finding a way to make it right.
- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines
P.s I'm also having a difficult time uploading photos to this blog... But I have several on Instagram if you want to see some highlights!