Greg’s Update from Africa #4

The past two days have been a blur. We woke up at 5am and headed to the NBO airport to take a plane to Rwanda. On the way, we stopped in the middle of no where in a country called “Burundi.” I didn’t even know it was on a map. We proceeded to Rwanda, met our drivers and our guide Charles (who is an exceptionally brilliant young man with a wealth of knowledge and perspectives).

Thoughts on Rwanda.
Rwanda is a beautiful country with lush greenery. It is called “the country of a thousand hills.” In contrast to Kenya, even though the poor are poorer, the roads are clean and kept. Everything seemed in order. It was hard to imagine the genocide of one million people took place nearly 20 years ago.

We drove to the World Vision Headquarter and met with its leaders. They filled us in with some background information on Rwanda. From there, we had a delicious lunch across the street from the De Mille Collines (Hotel Rwanda).

Afterwards, we drove several hours to our hotel, ever climbing the roads. We went through fields, huts, large beautiful buildings. We just kept passing people after people. Children were running on the side of the road. All the while, I waved and they waved back…and often with a big smile.

As we stopped for a bathroom break, Charles mentioned that he met a woman who was situated in another ADP (Area Development Project). She angrily shouted to him, “Why don’t these people ever come to my house and visit me? When will it be my turn?” When Charles told us the story, my heart broke. I could see the impact World Vision was doing in the communities.

We finished off the day by visiting the Rwanda National Museum and ended the night at the hotel. It was an intense day and we were all preparing ourselves to see the children. For me, I had been waiting almost a year for this day.

What resonated most this whole day was the spirit of cooperation. Here, we were spending our time watching and observing the hard work of those around us and they were thanking us for our help. What had we done? Earlier during the week, it was reinforced to us that the problems of this world were not stated as “Us” and “them.” It would be a a collective “we” thing. These issues of HIV, AIDS, and poverty would not and should not be handled by one people group. It should be handled by all of us.
It would not be a simple process.

Nehemiah says it perfectly in Nehemiah 4:6:
“So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
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