A day of two halves

Our programme is taking us to every aspect of life down here, exploring how Life in Abundance (LiA) is involved in trying to fulfil its aims in empowering people to lead independent and fruitful lives.

This morning we visited a project on Nkombo island, one of the poorest parts of Rwanda. The pastor there, whilst visiting people’s homes, discovered many people with disabilities, who were totally marginalised. They told us that other villagers described them as ‘broken pots’ and of no use. He has taken the initiative to try and give them confidence to do something to improve their lot. They now meet together regularly, have begun some simple mini-enterprises, and are beginning to feel valued. One of them repaired shoes (see photo). We met about 50 of them, heard some of their stories and bought some of the goods they had made. We visited the homes of two disabled women. One of them had had 11 children but 7 of them had died. Her house had bare walls except the words ‘Praise the Lord’ on one wall (see picture). We had a delicious lunch at the pastor’s house and presented him and his wife with various gifts for the children of that community.

In the afternoon, we visited a Mother’s Union project in Kamembe. Young people are being trained to use sewing machines so that, after training, they can set up their own business. Our friends from Lewes brought them £2000, which they had raised through their local MU. This will enable them to purchase more sewing machines. The joy and surprise on the leaders’ faces is reflected in one of the pictures below.

Training grand finale

What a wonderful day we had yesterday! Each of the 3 groups entered wholeheartedly into the task of writing a Bible story and acting it out. They had all read the scripture passage overnight, ready for this. All but one that is. On the first day, we noticed that one of them did not own a Bible. You can’t imagine her joy and delight when she was presented with one, given to her by the Cathedral. She held it up high with delight, and every spare moment she had, she spent reading it!

The groups prepared and presented the 3 stories – Samuel’s call, Moses in the bulrushes and Solomon’s wisdom two wome’s dispute over a baby. A huge amount of imagination, enterprise and energy went into them, plus a lot of personal interpretation! But the stories came across powerfully well. We loved them!

Very exceptionally, all 20 participants came on both days. It is common for people to come one day and not the next, or leave early during the day. These were totally committed.

The day ended with prayer and the lively, but very moving song, beautifully harmonised. Each person was presented with a ‘starter pack’ in a shopping bag, containing materials they could use to make their garments.

It’s all about empowerment. Life in Abundance monitor all their projects, and they will follow up how these wonderful young people will use what they have learned.