Thursday, 17 November 2011

The one where we were in Rwanda!

Dear all,

Such a quick blog after the last I hear you say - but thought that a few snappy snaps of Rwanda might be enjoyed!

The view from our room in Kigali
We've been here a week and of course, the most significant location in Kigali is the Genocide Memorial Centre.  So beautifully laid out with gardens representing themes that they've wanted to remember before, during and after the civil war and genocide.  The interior was very informative and done in a way that was hard hitting but sensitive, thought provoking and emotional.  Whilst in Rwanda, I've also been reading the account of the Canadian General who headed up the UN here during that time, called 'Shake Hands with the Devil'.  Its been an important part of history to learn about and something that is hard to read when you look out of the window seeing such peace.  Imagining such atrocities is heart wrenching. We also visited the hotel that Hotel Rwanda was based on - again, surreal seeing it in peace.

We've spent most of our time in Kigali - we have enjoyed seeing the city with all its rolling hills - its quite a large city which has meant that we've taken lots of taxi-motos - these are motorbikes that cheaply take you anywhere in the city! Slightly terrifying with many close shaves, high speed chases (when my bike was trying to catch up with Tim's) and interesting weaving tactics through traffic.  We've lived to tell the tale, so parentals, don't worry :)

Kigali version of The AA
We also got out of the city for the weekend to go 'upcountry'.  Here's the connection of how we got there...stick with Ben and Katy (who we were with in Tanzania) met a lady called Meg (who has lived in Rwanda most of her life and was born in Burundi) at a conference in Nairobi, where they told her we'd be coming through Rwanda. Meg also happens to be the aunt of Simon Guillebaud (who set up GLO where we were working in Burundi) and Simon's father David (Meg's brother) also happened to be there...phew!

Anyway, we went up an hour north of Kigali to Byuma and went to visit her dream of a project.  She's setting up an ecolodge on a wetlands near where she lives.  She wants to help the wetlands as a portion of the money would be going to the conservation of it, it will encourage employment for the local community and just to show visitors how beautiful the Rwandan country side is too! It was a real treat to see her vision.

Rugezi wetland
More of Rwandan beauty

Fascination from the kids. Just wait until there's an ecolodge there!
That'll be truly interesting!

More amazement as David shows them pictures of themselves on the iPad!

Showing us his 'skiiiillllls'

Meg is in the middle of the back row and David is on the left.
Our trip in a local canoe around the wetlands.
Young boys basket fishing for catfish to sell

One of the birds we saw - apologies to Meg who really tried hard at teaching us the names!

Pelican plus another bird...

Pelicans putting on a show!

Pelicans flying 

Tim wanted to know if you could stand on the voila, we were shown!

On our last day here we had the pleasure of having a very British cup of tea with cup and saucer and all with Mimi - Olivia's aunt who is setting up an opportunity to teach deaf people to sew (surprisingly not that dissimilar to what we were doing in Tanzania!). Even though she's from the US, she pulled out all the stops with Tetley teabags and banana bread.  We loved our morning with her learning about what her vision the sewing and just blessing us muchly with her words of wisdom of being brought up a missionary kid in the Congo!

And for lunch we met with a fellow student of Ben and Katy's from All Nations (a missions training college) called Manassah.  He shared with us his endeavours of trying to introduce the concept of youth-work into Rwandan churches.  He also shared with us his whole family's amazing story of survival during the genocide when prayer was what saved them every time the next threat was upon them. Such an amazing testimony of God's faithfulness in amongst atrocity. 

So from here we move to Uganda - again some projects, some learning and maybe some fun (but, shhhh, don't tell anyone we're actually chillaxing sometimes!)


Tic Toc xxx

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