BC: I will never forget Africa. Thank You.
FC: May 5, 2011 to May 24 2011. | Heartlife Rwanda Trip
1: Hello! This is a book describing my trip to Rwanda, Africa. I had a eye-opening experience which couldn’t have happened without you. The money I had to raise was substantial and only with your help did I achieve it. During the course of my trip, we went to Nairobi, Kenya, Kigali, Rwanda, and Amsterdam. The majority of the trip was spent in Rwanda, but we spent 2 days in Nairobi on the way in and 3 days in Amsterdam on the way out. I will try to give you a glimpse of each part of my journey, and the life changing things I saw and did, people I met, and how it impacted me. Thank you so much for supporting me and making this possible. Savannah | Heartlife Roadtrip #4: Rwanda
2: Our trip began with a flight from Portland, OR to Amsterdam, Netherlands. From there we flew to Nairobi, Kenya and spent 2 days there. After that, we departed for Kigali, Rwanda. | This is a picture from the airplane of the sky.
3: On the first day in Nairobi, we took a walking safari on Crescent Island. There were no predators out in the day time on the island. We saw giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, hippos and antelopes. We also met one of Kelly’s friends, Jonah who taught us about Kenya.
4: Day 2 in Nairobi Today, we met another of Kelly’s friends, Njihia (Je-Hiah). He took us to his church and to his project in the Mathare Slum, one of the largest slums in Nairobi, with half a million people living there. His project is working with men who spend their money they’ve earned that day on alcohol, instead of feeding their families or sending their children to school. Njihia opened a bar in the slum and has hired a pastor who is there 5 days a week, talking to men and becoming their friend. On Sundays, he preaches a sermon in the bar, teaching them about forgiveness and making a better future for their families. | This is so special because the churches in Nairobi have shunned alcohol and associate it with the devil, because the men drink away the money they earn, instead of benefiting their families. Njihia and his pastor have accepted them, and want to help them change their lives.
5: It amazes me that somehow, people living in these places still want to be connected to God. When you are trying to survive day to day, having faith in God would be incredibly difficult.
6: Despite the children’s situation and living conditions, they were still smiling and playing. | And running after our car yelling one after the other, “Howareyou? Howareyou?”
7: That evening we flew to Rwanda and met Steven, Emma, & Alice for the first time. Emma (Emmanuel) is our driver for the trip, Alice is our translator and both are friends... It was very fun to meet them. | We stayed at the A.E.E guest house. It was a really amazing place to stay. The staff were helpful and kind. They helped me learn the very little KinyaRwanda I know.
8: We went to Rwanda to visit Pastor Steven. His story is amazing. When he came back to Rwanda after the genocide, he started taking orphans into his home and took care of them. When there became too many in his house, he rented them houses in a village called Gasogi, and appointed the oldest kids to become the heads of those houses, making them a family. As time passed, he married Providance, had kids of his own, and still provided for the orphans in Gasogi. He also took some of the younger kids into his house. When we were there, he had 16 kids living in his house, with only two of his own.
9: Rwanda, Days 1-3: Our first few days in Rwanda were spent buying fabric for clothes made by New Destiny Co-Op, visiting the Co-op, going to an orphanage, and visiting Gasogi. Taking photos in the city and orphanage is banned by the government, so I have none.
10: New Destiny Woman's Co-op is a group of women, many of them widows, who are working together to better the lives of their families. They farm together and have a sewing business. These are pictures of people from New Destiny and the surrounding area, including a market and some houses.
11: Rwanda, Days 4-6 This was a day to just chill at Gasogi. We played games, *herded goats, took random KinyaRwanda language tests, had lunch, and saw them make cards,. *They gave us sticks to herd the goats-Oh-no.....
12: The top right picture is of us eating with one of the houses. They prepared potatoes and beans. It was wonderful. The bottom picture is of us playing games together. The top left picture is one of the first houses you see as you drive to their part of Gasogi. The last picture is of the kids swarming around one of the girls from our trip, Avery.
13: The picture on the far left is of some of the kids at Gasogi, while we were herding goats. | The top picture is of a hobby and income source the kids have. They make cards out of dried banana leaves. They are detailed and beautiful. | The middle picture is of some of the tribal dancing they did for us. It was fun to watch. | The picture on the right is one of us and our friend Magnus and the little girl who would cling to Sam, the girl in the middle, as soon as we arrived.
14: One day, Sam and I went to go see the markets with our translator Alice. She is the nicest woman, and can be very upfront with people, which I love about her. In the first market, Alice knew most of the shop owners so she’d stop to say hi. Sam and I were waiting outside of one of them and a strange man came up to us. “Hello. How are you?” He started chatting away, speaking shockingly good English. Sam and I were uncomfortable and didn’t know how to excuse ourselves from him. So, Alice came out and started talking to him. Apparently he wanted one of us for a bride. Alice shook her head and said “No, no, no, they are only 12!!!” And so, Alice saved us that day, and we were so grateful. She became Mama Alice.
15: One day while we were waiting for dinner, we asked Emma if he wanted to learn how to play the card game, Speed. He was all for it. So we taught it to him and he picked it up quick. Before each game, we would ask who was going to win? He would say “I know. Me. I am expert.” Once when we took Emma and Pastor Steven out for dinner, they played each other. Steven didn’t quite grasp the game as fast as Emma had, and so he had been drawing from the wrong pile. Emma called him on it playfully- “Steven, you are cheating!” Steven didn’t like being called a cheater and he got playfully offended. They are so hilarious.
16: One day at Gasogi, they decided to throw a dance party for us. We arrived at one of the main house clusters, where people gather, and heard really loud American hiphop/rap music. I was like, “What on earth? How did they do that?” These kids have no money and we were hearing basses boom. We walked further in and discovered that they had borrowed speakers, a mixer, and a computer from Steven's church. I was shocked. I didn’t even know how they could have gotten them there. It was an awesome surprise.
17: After the party, all the kids wanted their pictures with us. They would say, “You, me, Picture. No, no! Just you, me.” Or some sort of variation of it. It was awesome.
18: Our driver Emmanuel (called Emma) is a very good friend of Kelly's. We got to know him over the course of the trip, which was awesome. We discovered that he can be sarcastic without meaning to be, enjoys teasing banter, and is very fun to be around. We also learned that he has a younger brother living with him and that Emma is paying for his schooling, so that he can go through university/college. Emma is very interested in getting himself some more schooling, but he is dedicated to helping his brother finish first. I had a lot of fun getting to know Emma, and look forward to seeing him again.
19: Rwanda Day 7: We went to meet another of Kelly’s friends, Dr. Bosco. He is the doctor who goes out to Gasogi and helps with medical care every 3rd Saturday. | We had lunch with him, his family and some friends. We also went to Steven’s church that morning.
20: It was fun hanging out with some other English speaking kids at Dr. Boscos'. It felt nice to be fairly normal for a day. They spoke fluent English and had lives pretty much like ours.
21: Rwanda Day 8: New Destiny Womens Cooperative, Rwanda Genocide Memorial (pt 1), and Indian food for dinner. | This was an amazing day. It was incredible seeing part of the Genocide memorial. I felt awful only looking at what some people had to go through. I can't imagine going through something like that.
22: Days 9 & 10: Dr. Boscos Hospital, Genocide Museum Pt 2. and visiting New Destiny and Gasogi. | At the Genocide Museum, families placed baskets of flowers on the mass graves, marking 17 years since the genocide. Astonishingly, newly found bodies are added to the graves every year. At Gasogi, Sam and Avery got their hair braided by some of the girls who had learned how.. It looked really awesome on both of them. | Earlier in the week, Provedence helped us buy fabric and the New Destiny women made some clothes for us. Today was " fitting "day.
23: Rwanda, Last Day: Genocide Church, New Destiny,Gasogi, & Goodbye Dinner with Providance. We left the next day and will miss everyone we met.
24: Our last 3 days were spent in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We went on a canal tour, rented bikes for a day and visited the Anne Frank House. What a wonderful trip!