Today was our last day in Nasho and we almost didn’t even make it to the village! Less than 5 minutes from our hotel, one of the vans had to pull over on the side of a busy main road with fluid leaking from the bottom of the vehicle. Every day has had its challenges but our team is strong and our God is even stronger! We thanked God that we happened to break down literally right across the street from a mechanic shop where the van was fixed in less than 30 minutes. Then we were on our way to the village with yet another amazing story to share.
We had mixed emotions as we arrived at the village, knowing this would be the last time we would see these amazing people until next year. There was a smaller crowd than yesterday because some of the kids were back in school and families were back to work, but the people of this community were still full of joy and amazing energy.
We brought some playing balls and juice for the kids and spent the first part of the day watching the pastor and church leaders hand them all out to kids that were there, which brought the huge smiles to their faces. Even with the little that these kids have, you still see them sharing juice with each other and making sure everyone has enough and is included. There’s a lot to learn from these little ones.
Before we left Harvest Christian Church, the pastor and leadership team presented each member of our team with a personal gift and some special words of love and encouragement. You could sense a true relationship between two groups of people who are on opposite sides of the world but are connected through the bond of the Holy Spirit. After saying some tough goodbyes to our good friends it was time head to the place we were staying that night, which was around a 2 hour drive. No one was sure what we were getting into but the words we kept hearing were “we’re staying in tents, and there might be animals”. It turned out to be the most amazing place where we were greeted with glasses of passion fruit juice, 2 room tents with a fully plumbed bathroom (including warm showers) and the sound of hippos reflecting off the lake as we went to sleep. Some of us hung out after dinner and sang worship songs with a guitar beside the lake, listening to the hippos and wildlife. Not a bad way to end a long day!
I had never been on a Safari before and didn’t quite know what to expect. Would there be no animals at all? Just miles of empty grasslands and rolling hills? Or would our Jeep get chased by an angry gorilla as we huddled behind closed windows? The experience was somewhere in between. Rwanda is known as the “land of a thousand hills” and it lived up to its name as we took in the breathtaking views of grass covered hills looking over a soft pearly blue lake, with both zebras and topis dotted throughout.
When passing through marshlands we also saw a bunch of hippos and one even jumped out of the water, surprising and entertaining us. The wildlife did not disappoint as water buffalo, baboons, giraffes, crocodiles, a multitude of birds and warthogs with short term memories were also seen. Although all the animals were breathtaking, the biggest surprise was an elephant that walked right in back of our Jeep. Many pictures, and elephant selfies, were taken:). While safari was our rest day, it was so much more than a fun break. It was an excellent team building trip as we were chatting and making each other laugh the whole way. Also being that close to God’s beautiful creation was an amazing way to feel his presence and power.