Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rwanda will change you for the better...even if you're Canadian.

Somewhere over the Atlantic on some day, at some time.
I slept like a baby last night after a beer, a USA victory over Ghana, the loss of 8 timezones on a plane heading north, then east, then waaaayyyyy south (picture the number 7), and a rare dry-season downpour in Rwanda. I awoke to the oddly familiar sounds of Kigali and the faint smells of firewood hanging above the many kitchens in this sub-saharan city.  I'm in Africa, and it is awesome.
The view from John's driveway.

After the usual purchase of a cheap cell phone (which costs less than 10 minutes of usage in Rwanda on my U.S. Verizon smartphone plan (which will remain on airplane mode for the next 30 days)), some local eats, changing of currency, and a few visits to old friends, John and I decided to stop into a foundation from which we wanted some information.  We didn't have an appointment, but that is simply how you do it here.  People here are the real kind of people.  They actually want to see you--to invite you into their office and spend as long as you need for the reason you came.  After stumbling through an explanation of our reason for coming to two different gentlemen--both of which dropped everything and pulled up chairs to entertain our inquires--we got introduced to Richard and Jeff -- both Canadians.

John watching soccer at Hope Haven
Richard Taylor of Wellspring Foundation
These genuine Christian Canadian dudes, have been involved in Rwanda for over 10 years.  Fresh out of college and wanting to make a difference in a hurting country, they and their organization have come alongside the Rwandan dream for high-quality education and have built an amazing academy.  The Wellspring Foundation now heads up the Rwandan Education NGO Coordination Platform created to unify the voice of some 60 NGO's for the betterment of both public and private education here, and are heading to Burindi to improve education there as well.  Even 10 years later, and countless challenges overcome, these passionate individuals still had the palpable balance of humility and purpose that has no doubt led to their success.  These kinds of chance encounters and the building of relationships with people who seem so "in the moment" lead me to believe (once again) that Africa still has a lot to teach the rest of us stressed-out and insecure Westerners.

A courtyard at Wellspring Academy
Don't get me wrong, there are a whole lot of reasons that aid and assistance have been moving this direction for a long time, but all it takes is a day in a culture like this to see the riches of balance and contentment that many of us lack in the day to day.

I'm blessed by all of your support in sending me here well prepared and with lots of love. I look forward to sharing stories of progress--not only toward the goal of developing a secondary school in the Kivu Hills, but of also my own progress toward being a better human (like not being as judgmental of Canadians anymore).

I'll be giv'n her my best effort at least, eh?

5 comments:

  1. Great to hear from you on day 1. Just a small bit of advice, if you are hanging out with Canadians for a few days, Watch out for your "o" sounds or you'll return home with a Canadian accent.... Please give my regards to John G. Ooookay?"

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  2. You are such a great writer, my dear...it's like we're there with you! Read this tonight for our bedtime story. When Ali saw the picture of you she said "oh, I love HIM!"...praying for more days like this one!

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  3. Kevin, we're incredibly excited and thankful for all that you are doing for Arise Rwanda Ministries, John and the people of Rwanda. We hold you and John in our prayers for a safe, successful and rewarding trip.

    Steve Roberts

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  4. Hi Kevin,

    Just read your blog "what in the world am I doing here?". Even in three short paragraphs, you know exactly why you are there!

    Steve

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