Saturday, July 14, 2007
Sorry I haven’t updated everyone on my trip to Africa. I find it really hard to talk about my trip at times because no matter what I say or how I word it, people will never truly grasp what I experienced or the feelings I dealt with while in Rwanda. I knew coming back home that this would happen, but for some reason it seems harder than other times. But, all in all, I think now that I have been able to process a lot of what I have been internalizing these past few weeks, I am ready to share my story with the blog world.
The country itself was absolutely beautiful. The definitely don’t call it the “country of a thousand hills” for nothing. Hills surrounded us and everything was green, which hit me how brown southern California is when flying back in.
The people were friendly and so welcoming. As we walked down the dirt road, on the first day, everyone was running out of their homes to greet us and shake our hands. I felt like a celebrity! I honestly don’t know how those people do it everyday. I have more of an appreciation for what celebrities go through everyday. I was sitting in a taxi on day and a group of business men were sitting around me and I could tell they were talking about me. Later I was talking with our translator and she was telling me that they found it such an honor to be sitting next to a white person. It’s so crazy that me, a simple person like me, is viewed so highly in Africa. Americans are so blessed and I don’t think we realize how much people envy us, all over the world, for the opportunities we possess.
Living conditions were rough for some of us. I love camping, so it was pretty easy for me to adjust to no running water, no hot showers, and little food/no food at times. For three weeks, I lived off bread rolls for breakfast, and rice/veggies for lunch and dinner. If there was one thing about this trip that I appreciated the most is that we took on every aspect of their culture. We could have easily living in a hotel down the road with hot water and great food, but we choose to live lives like Africans for three weeks.
Our time there was not wasted by any means. We were business most of the time varying from working with street kids to widows. We taught in the classrooms of a primary school and played games with them at recess. The street kids and orphans were heart breaking. We were able to tend to their spiritual and physical needs. One day we set up a medical clinic and cleaned wounds and picked fungus off the tops of heads. We spend several times with prostitutes, encouraging them to seek the love of God and not humans. These women were being taught how to make crafts and sell them so that they couldn’t sell themselves off the streets, which is so common in Africa. HIV and AID home visits were tough at times. We traveled all over Rwanda, literally, to encourage these people who have lost hope in living. One woman, Diane, had AIDS and had taken in five children, off the street, into an empty home the size of my room. One kid just got there a week before and has AIDS as well. After losing his parents at AIDS, we was rejected by his relatives and thrown on the streets to fin for himself till this woman took him in. It was heartbreaking as I sat there with tears streaming down my face as she shared her story. Lastly, the widows, my favorite! There were over 100 old women who traveled for miles to see us. You could see the hurt and pain in their eyes. I just hope that we were able to encourage them. I can’t imagine witnessing the death of my husband in the genocide and more most of them were raped right after.
Cleaning wounds for kids living on the streets
One of the prostitutes
The kids stole my heart!
It definitely has not been an easy road, adjusting to the land of opportunity. We have been so blessed to live in America where we have everything… and more. I pray that I will never take the small things for granite. I don’t know why God placed me over here and those children over there. I don’t know why God blessed me with great friends and family. I don’t know why God blessed me with a house over my head and food at every meal, but I do know that there is so much that I can be doing to help tend to the needs of those less fortunate. So, with all these things that God has blessed with me, I pray that I will turn these blessings back around and tend to the needs of those that are less fortunate. I thank God each and everyday for blessing me with all that he has, which is more then I even will need!
Posted by Ruth at 10:13 AM