This morning we said our goodbyes to Kayonza and our Silent Hill Hotel accommodation to head to the village of Gasarabwyi, about an hour away. This village holds a special place in MCCs heart as the first of our villages our teams have served, and regularly go back to visit.
We were again welcomed by numerous children enthusiastically waving along the side of the road, happily shouting “muzoongu, muzoongu!!” We then received more warm hugs and welcoming from the village adults.
Donota, who is a wonderful 24 year old girl from this village who has become a special part of Patrick’s life, came along for the ride as we delivered her to her home village from her boarding school.
We were welcomed with singing and worship in the church. The singing and dancing continues to be contagious, and we are all always eager to get up and try to learn some new moves.
Elisa gave a sermon on the concept of darkness versus light in the world. Our world is not strictly one or the other, as there are moments that can be light and some that can dark. As Christians we choose to walk in the light, and invite others to walk along with us together in Christ. The world can be full of good and bad moments, but we must continue to be the light so we can light the way for others, to help them emerge from their darkness.
Another day, another lap full of friendly children. We very much enjoyed a new batch of children to love and cuddle with during church. We watch them eyeball us from across the room, and some are brave enough to walk over on their other, while others need a little gesture of invitation to come sit on our laps. A mom in the choir was struggling with her crying infant on her back, probably about 2-3 months old. She was walking out of the church to soothe him when our interpreter Angel offered to hold him so mom could sing. Little baby boy was then passed ALL around our group, and as we cooed at him and bounced him to make him smile.
Our team then toured the toilet/sanitation project spearheaded by Bruce in his many visits to this village. The men of the village appear to take much pride in continuing this project in Bruce’s absence. They were eager to demonstrate the bathroom set up for us, and explain the process of sanitation. The amount of times Bruce’s name came up today was too many to count, and the pastor even specially requested to send him greetings and love on our trip home.
We also visited the local Compassion office today, which functions as a major component of the program to pair children in villages in counties all over the world with sponsors around the world. We have several team members who have compassion children in Rwanda who they support throughout the year (and these team members are SO eager to meet those kiddos tomorrow morning, by the way!) For those of who don’t already have compassion, boy have we been won over by all these cuties. Who WOULDNT want to help support these adorable smiling faces in these tiny rural communities in Rwanda?! It’s like sending love and hugs in a envelope regularly throughout the year. And the children take the letters and photos back to their little crowded clay homes to keep for their very own. On the note of children, I think I can speak for everyone on the team when I say I LOVE when children come up and hug or hold hands or simply offer a smile. The language barrier is no longer an issue, since no language is necessary to give and receive this kind of love and happiness. These children make our hearts burst! Many of us had one child holding each of our hands, though some skilled team members were seen managing to hold 3 little hands at once! These babies followed us around, hand in hand, throughout the village tour, and even returned after lunch to again feel the love in the short time before we had to say goodbyes.
An easy 1.5 hour drive then took us back to the city of Kigali (thankfully free of traffic). We now have time for a couple of hours of R&R before dinner, which is so appreciated as some of our immune systems are starting to wear down a bit as our trip is coming to an end. We continue to value each and every day here. The villages have been an amazing experience, but we are ready to do a little shopping for our supporters tomorrow in Kigali (after we visit the Child Hope Center) with plans for lots of gifts to bring back to New Hampshire.