[June 24, 2103]: Kigali to Butare to Kigali
Day starts with a breakfast of croissant, hardboiled egg, dragon fruit, and coffee. Our team left Solace Ministries this morning to have devotions with World Vision Rwanda staff. Met with senior staff and Director George Gitau. He gave a history of WV in Rwanda since 1994. They work in 15 of the 30 sectors in the country. They are working to stop most handouts (e.g., school fees programs) and wean off dependency of international donor dollars as much as possible…and replace with economic development plans. They are helping Rwandans form saving and lending formations. Seemed to be saying that focus on genocide and trauma was passing to work on peace building and prevention curriculum with younger children. Using Christian musicians to bridge the cultural divide in the country. While prevention strategies are a great move, just because 19 years have passed doesn’t mean the trauma of the genocide and aftermath are finished. Transformation of traumatized populations are still needed.
From World Vision we left to visit the One Stop Center, a government institution for women experiencing domestic violence, a place to get medical help and seek justice. We were not allowed in for some reason. At this point, our teams split up. The larger group visited the genocide memorial, had lunch and did a bit of shopping. My group, Diane Langberg, Laura Captari (AACC) and Marianne Millen (student from Biblical) took a 2 hour trip to Butare (AKA Huye) to visit with Bishop Nathan Gasatura of the Anglican church. As board member of the Prostestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences (PIASS), he brought us to the school and led a meeting with the vice rector and key faculty/staff. PIASS started in 1973 as an institute in theology. They added 2 faculties (what we would call schools) in 2010 and expect to had another by 2017 when they reach university status. In 2 years the school has grown from 300 or so to over 1000. Most classes are held on evenings and most students commute. We discussed possible ways we could support counseling training for pastors and school counselors who want to tackle issues of domestic violence, abuse, addictions, and trauma recovery. Seemed the most logical and realistic way to help is to develop some 1-2 night public seminars and a few short courses (100 hours across 2 weeks) for credit. Those with good skills in training pastors, cross cultural competency, and the specific content specialists would be welcome here.
On a tight schedule we “flew” back to Kigali with our driver Jean Pierre. Anyone looking for a careful driver in Kigali should hire him! By a miracle we narrowly missed hitting a young man who was crossing the road without looking. None of us in the car understand how we did not hit him (traveling at 30 miles an hour). Later, we stopped for our driver to make a call and were mobbed by school children on the way home wanting to try out their English with us.
We arrived back at Solace to go immediately into an impromptu meeting with 20 Bible Society volunteers and workers. The other team members had been listening to how the BS was using Healing Wounds of Trauma material in Kigali and other sectors of the country. We listened to some of their trauma cases: cases of forced rape, genocide victims, and forced abortions after rape. Many reported that HWT is the best material they have had access to over the past 19 year. There was one who felt the same but wished to not start with the chapter about why we suffer as there is some in the country who are inclined to quiet people with such material. I did a short presentation about how to ground individuals who are actively distressed and dissociation. We concluded the evening with a late dinner with the BS volunteers. Another home run by Simeon at Solace!