We have come to our last day in Rwanda and I have found the time to write once more before we leave this evening for home. I do so with a grateful heart and much hope and excitement about our future together. God has revealed so much to us and has shown us many (though focused) ways we can partner with these good, godly, hard working, and motivated people. I am profoundly grateful.
Yesterday we travelled two hours to a place call Nyanza and visited Godfrey and his co-op. It was amazing. He started the co-op with two women with HIV as a means of trying to help them survive (this was 2005). Today there are 56 adults (40 women, many with HIV) and over 250 children in the co-op. They have a 10 hectare plot of reclaimed swamp land (nearly 30 acres!) which has become an oasis of production (bananas, cabbages, beans of many varieties, fruit trees etc; in addition, 10 fish ponds with 2500 tilapia each; rabbits that fertilize the fish ponds; goats for every family; cows for the entire community; and the beginnings of a chicken industry that could become a major economic engine for the co-op). In addition, they have built a ministry center that supplements the education of the children on Saturdays and ensures that they learn the Bible as well. It is run by a man who joined the co-op while a Muslim and who came to a living faith in Jesus. Remarkable stories abound in the place.
Our driver, Vincent – who knows every road in the Diocese of Kigali — got very excited and told me that the only place in Mbyo that this idea could be reproduced was down by the lake. His excitement came because he knows that the Archdeaconry already owns some land down there! We are working now with the Development office of the Diocese to begin a Master Plan that could use Mbyo as a pilot project in the Archdeancry that could become a model for the other 5 regions in the diocese. Again, very exciting opportuniites.
We then went to the Bishops’ guest house and had a celebratory farewell dinnner with many invited guests. Again, we have been warmly welcomed by all here in Rwanda.
This morning Claire, Maggie and Scotti are meeting with Peace, the head of the Mother’s Union in the diocese at one of their centers just outside of Kigali. The hope is to find one project that could use some micro-financing that could become a model for future projects. The idea is to bring to the US market some lovely head bandanas (they will have to tell you exactly what those are!) that the girls are convinced will be a winner in America. More on this later.
Debra, Jordan and I have been meeting at the same time with Robert, the head of Education for the diocese. Over the course of 2 hours we have crafted a practical vision of moving into a good future together. They will develop a master plan (complete with brochures and video) which we will then use to develop our own plan of resourcing and developing. Future visits will be more focused and helpful to all.
We will visit some schools later this morning, then after lunch take a tour of the city and visit the local market (the girls have ordered some skirts that they need to pick up and the others of us will be seeing the market for the first time). Then, this evening we leave for the airport and home (Lord willing without the delays that Rob and Kim experienced earlier this week).
I don’t know how professional our presentation will be on Sunday but I do know our excitement will be real. I look forward to seeing you all then and there.
Peace be with us all.