(Regularly updated – please visit often!)
The idea for this ‘PROGRESS’ page is to act as a ‘News Blog’, and give an update to the Africa Glaven Mission preparations for our 2015 visit. These ‘News Posts’ will briefly explain the purpose of this mission, following on from all that we learnt in previous trips, and tell you how far we’ve got to date. It will also give a ‘flavour’ of what’s in store this time, with photos, maps – and general references to what you’ll find in the further pages of this website, which will be updated as we go on…
WHAT WE ARE PLANNING
That’s the target date for this trip. The fortnight of 24 January to 7 February. We already have some money donated by local people to set aside for water filters and commentaries and we shall be canvassing for more. Community filters, each of which will serve as many as 500 people (possibly more) cost £200 each. Family filters, costing £20 each, will serve at least 5 families. The needs out there are so great.
We already have a group of people from the Glaven Valley who are keen to go to Rwanda in 2015 and we are beginning to get some plans laid for this visit. It will be based on previous experiences (see What we do) and include 3 days in Kigali including a visit to the Genocide memorial, a day at Gikingoro on our way south-west to Cyangugu where we shall spend 10 days or so. We shall stop for a while at the Murambi Genocide Memorial – a ‘must’ for anyone who wants to get to the heart of what the genocide meant for Rwandans.
In Kigali we expect to spend time visiting projects run by Solace Ministries, see the Cards from Africa workshop and a Farm Training Centre run by the government to train rural farmers.
In Gikongoro, we shall visit some of the 150 Basket Fund projects, run by the Anglican Diocese there.
In Kamembe, in the province of Cyangugu, we shall use the Peace Guest House as our base. We plan to work in two church schools using the skill set of our group to best advantage. There are many other projects and possibilities to work on depending on the make up of the group eg training for local pastors using the African Bible Commentary. We’ll meet lots of local people and hear their stories.
Our friends in Bukavu (Congo) – a couple of miles across Lake Kivu – are keen for us to go over there and do some work with them – but that depends on a lot of things, not least that we can get visas.
We expect to take water filters out with us – some for Rwanda and some for Congo. We’ll be doing some fund-raising for these. You can read about the kind of thing involved in the ‘What we do’ section.
There are other possibilities, too. One of our group is a trainer in the Girl Guide movement and she would like to do some work training the Guide leaders out there. This is an exciting new window of opportunity for her and for us.
Fundraising events were activated to help us raise money for water filters and other materials to take out with us.
We have had two meetings with people interested in the 2015 trip and showed them the DVD of the 2013 visit. Some have already indicated a firm intention to come and a number are seriously considering the idea. Anyone else interested should make contact with us – see Contact section.
On April 6 1994, a plane carrying the President of Rwanda was shot down over Kigali. This event unleashed the terrible events of the genocide in which nearly one million people, mostly Tutsis, were massacred by fellow Rwandans in an orgy of brutality lasting just 100 days. Killings crossed all normal social barriers – friends killed friends, relatives killed relatives. People were seduced into buildings such as schools, taking them to be places of refuge, only to find that they had been thus congregated to make their massacre that much easier.
On Sunday 6th this year, the 20th anniversary of the start of the genocide, we remembered Rwanda in our prayers in the Glaven Valley Churches. In Blakeney Church, we saw a demonstration of how a water filter could produce drinkable water from bucket of filthy water. This is the kind of filter we take out to Rwanda and Congo.
There has been some excellent coverage of the Rwandan situation in the media, showing how much progress has been made since the genocide and balancing this with the concern about the leadership of their president.
Jonathan Lamb is joining us on the evening to explain more about possible plans for the trip. Jonathan is currently working with Bishop Nathan in the Cyangugu region of Rwanda where we shall spend 10 days or so. Here is a picture of Jonathan with friends on Christmas Day 2013.
We had a really good meeting last night. There were 14 of us, some who had gone out in 2013 and others who were looking to come out in January 2015. Jonathan gave us a brief summary of what he is doing in Rwanda where he has been working for 11 months now. It was interesting to learn how he had had to adapt to the African culture and the way Rwandans think. He told us how it all began some years ago when the first group went out from Southover Church and how it subsequently developed. Having lived there on a permanent basis, he was now in a much better position to advise us on how we could best use our time and resources. Then he gave a brief outline of what we ourselves might be doing. One of he projects was to build a house for a genocide widow. This was something Claude and Ethne had experience in 2010 on their first visit. We would need to find £2500 to pay for the house. Local people would provide the labour and we would join them towards the end of the project helping them to finish the job. These houses are made of wood and mud so once the frame is up, it doesn’t require sophisticated skills to be able to help. Once complete, the house would then be presented to the widow in a small formal ceremony. The pictures are of a house we worked on in 2010.
I have just discovered a Rwandan website – Kwibuka – which was set up for the 20th anniversary of the genocide. It is full of interesting information which covers the whole period since 1994. The English equivalent name is ‘Remember’. Well worth a visit.
For further Posts, if not listed in order, please click ‘(Month/2014’) small arrow, right at the bottom of the page…
Watch this space for further Blog updates…