Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kigali - Rwanda Day 2

Miraho (G'day)!

I arrived in Kigali on Friday night with John on a late flight from Entebbe. Gladys, John's wife, and daughter Brenda met us at the airport and transported us back to their home in the Mount Kigali community.

This community is one of the poorest in Kigali. After the genocide and civil war, refugees returning to Rwanda settled on the mountain for which the city is named, in what was originally prime agricultural land. The new settlement was outside the city power and water grid and to this day remains without either of these services.

A few years back, John, also a recently returned refugee, felt called by God to move his family from the relative comfort of suburban Kigali (with running water and electricity) to a life on the mountain, serving the poverty stricken community. I think it is hard for Westerners to grasp the enormity of this move.

I felt privileged to be able to spend the night in their home on the mountain and was treated to famous Rwandan hospitality - including a sleep in Saturday morning!

The team from Australia arrived at around 5.30 Saturday evening with stories of miraculous escapes from excessive excess baggage duties at Perth airport. We also were nearly slugged with customs duties at Kigali airport because I had neglected to draft a manifest for the goods we were importing, causing the customs officials some concern. However, out of the blue after telling John and I that they would be keeping our imports (a couple of generators destined for the Mt Kigali church and other bits and pieces), the official, without explanation, shooed us and our generators off with a wave of his hand. Imani ishimwe (Thank God!). Another prayer immediately answered.

This morning the team experienced their first Rwandan church service. I think everyone was moved by the welcome they received and the hospitality shown by the whole fellowship.

The welcome included a traditional Rwandese dance performed by several young ladies from the fellowship and the invitation for us all to dance for the congregation (another honour given to visitors). The first time I visited Rwanda I had this one sprung on me and I felt very self conscious, however I had warned the team that the dance would be expected and so no one was caught unprepared. Interestingly I found it much easier this time round and found I was actually enjoying the dancing.

We had lunch with and an official welcome from the CUF leadership after the service, followed by a business meeting in which John asked me to present the new business structure for the partnership that he and have been working on for the past few months.

Essentially it involves formalising the relationship a little more and instigating a project based system which clearly outlines the budget for each project and those who have an interest in it. It also enables regular progress reporting which can be disseminated among our partnership supporters.

Not exactly sure what is in store tomorrow - some of the team will be going to help install glass panels in the church building windows and doors - I think though I might be headed for the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (the local university) to talk to the students.

I am hoping to post a report by one of the team members on the partnership blog tomorrow for any who are interested in hearing a mazungo (western) perspective on the visit.

Until next time - Murabeho (bye)!

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