House building and entertaining children

Yesterday and today, we are working on the house. On our way there, yesterday, we passed about 60 prisoners  doing serious community work helping to reconstruct a road. Typical of the government’s constructive and practical approach to things.

Work on the house had already begun, but we soon got involved moving large planks to the right locations and then nailing them to create the outer walls. Our skills were no match to the ‘locals’ but they appreciate and support our best efforts.

Children began to arrive and were entertained in various ways, including body painting, skipping, football and catch ball.

Here are some pictures.

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A wet Peace Guest House welcomed us.

We are safely arrived at Peace Guest House after a good journey even if a wet one as we went over the Nyungwe rain forest. Our intrepid canopy walkers had a challenging job dealing with wet surfaces and steep climbs at 8000ft., but they are still smiling.

Here they are before they set off. You will recognise three from the Gaven Valley, the rest of us had a rest!

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We’ve arrived

7b052fef-0031-42bb-9171-8380ad0356feHere we are safely arrived in Kigali, after an excellent journey.  We have joined up with 4 friends from southover Church, Lewes – the Church we originally came out here with in 2010. Here we are enjoying supper together.

We set off for Cyangugu tomorrow with some of us enjoying a forest canopy walk at 8000 ft. on the way down.

Sunday’s Cathedral opening promises to be ‘something else’. No fewer than 3 Archbishops will be there!

We’ll keep you posted.

 

Two weeks to go!

We are getting really excited about our trip to Rwanda – we leave early in the morning on Tuesday 15 January.  We are busy making final preparations. Ten boxes of water filters are here now. Some of them have additional space for small items e.g. reading glasses. Our next job is to use up every available space!

Fundraising has gone really well. People in our local community have ben very generous and we have reached the original target we set ourselves. We have received enough money to pay for the water filters, to have a house built and furnished, to provide African Bible Commentaries, and to pay for training of local teachers in the processes very similar to the ones we use here for ‘Open the Book’. The filters and Commentaries are mainly for pastors in the Congo, who come over to visit us and collect them. As you know, things are not at all good in Congo.

Once in Rwanda, I shall have to relearn how to operate this website from our iPad. Watch this space.

We would very much value your prayers.

We’re going back!

It was a great joy to welcome back Jonathan Lamb to Blakeney last weekend in preparation for our fourth trip with him to Rwanda in January 2019. He is now the UK director of Life in Abundance International and we are delighted to be going out under their auspices. You can find out more about them on their website.

As we always do, we are planning to take water filters out with us – 10 boxes this time! We are pleased to have raised just over half of the £3000 needed and we are continuing our fundraising efforts.

Watch this space for further updates.

House building completed with water harvesting system

When we left Denyse’s house on January 27th, there was still work to be done! We were able to leave enough money behind for a water harvesting system to be installed. This was done by our friends from Southover Church, Lewes led by Rob Hoy who has installed many of these. Here are some pictures of the work being done.

By now, Denyse will have been given one of the family filters we took over. So, she can collect rain water, store it safely, filter it and use it straightaway for cooking or drinking, without having to boil it. We are sure that many of her neighbours will benefit from this facility!

Thank you again to everyone whose generosity has made all this possible.

Hand over of the house

This blog is two days late and is being written from Blakeney! We’re safely back after an excellent journey. Thursday, our last ‘working day’ in Kamembe was so busy , I just didn’t have the time to write anything. Friday we were travelling up to Kihgali to catch an overnight flight to Amsterdam and onto Norwich.  And here we are!

On Thursday, as we approached Denise’s house, it started to rain. The red soil got muddy and then it poured  –  really poured. Our shoes got clogged with mud and our clothes got splattered with red splashes. We couldn’t perfotm the ceremony outside and so 50 people crammed themselves into the brand new house. The mud walls were very damp – it will take some time to dry out. The noise of the rain on the tin roof was deafening. But it eventually abated and we had various speeches – the Rwandans love their speeches! They began with a short homily from the local pastor followed by other contributions from representatives of the Mothers Union including the Bishop’s wife who is their President,  Avega, the Genocide Widows organisation, and myself.

We then went outside for the formal handing over of the keys from Zachary the foreman – fortunately, the rain had stopped by now! It is a simple but very moving little ceremony. Then the formal opening of the front door to present Denise with the keys to her own house (see photo). Denise then made her speech. In a very dignified way, she told us her story and said how much this house meant to her and her family. All 5 of them were there and the eldest made a speech in English which he had learned off by heart, to thank us. He presented us with a gift – see photo.

But we hadn’t finished. We had 60 pairs of shoes to present to the local children! This took some time to manage. Some put them on straightaway, but others clearly didn’t want to dirty them with the muddy soil! Here’s a photo of a little one just pondering over his gift!

That’s just the morning! In the afternoon, after a quick turn-around lunch, we went to St Matthews School and ‘performed’ our Easter Story drama. About 300 children were there. We repeated it with children taking our parts – they loved it! See photos.

In evening we had our farewell dinner, with Bishop Nathan and his wife Esther as our principal guests (but there were others, too). More speeches, of course! The bishop made an excellent speech putting into context the significance of our visit to them. Our physical presence there clearly means as much to them as the gifts and the other contributions we had made. He used the phrase ‘Sacramental Presence’ to sum itup. We think this ‘says it all’.

He also told us that the Diocese had 22 new catechists (trainee pastors) and, (looking at me) that they would need training……’you must come back next year, and the year after that….’

This has been a most memorable visit. Thank you all for your support, interest and prayers. We return humbled and uplifted.