July 5, 2014
A bright and sunny start to this day. The team will arrive to join me this afternoon. At Solace, a typical breakfast includes fresh fruits, coffee, croissants, honey, cheese and hard-boiled eggs. Eating on the porch I enjoyed the views across the valley and got to know some fellow Americans working for Solace (from Wisconsin
). Since this is a relatively quiet day, I decided to go on a hike of this part of Kigali. Walked by the offices of International Justice Mission and through several neighborhoods. It is nice to get to know the city well enough not to get lost.
After lunch, our good friend and colleague Baraka Paulette came by to bring me to the airport to meet the incoming GTRI team. Everyone arrived on time and in good spirits, even if bleary eyed from the travel. After getting everyone into their rooms, quite a few were up for a short walk. On the way, we stopped at a nearby art center to
see the gallery and talk to artists busy at work. Soon we had dinner (usually 3 courses: soup, entrée, dessert).
At this point, I discover that we do not have reservations here at Solace for our last night. I ask the staff to help us find a comparable accommodations and they let me know that they will help us.
July 6, 2014
Sunday. We attend Baraka’s church on Ndera hill. We enjoy worship despite it not being in English. At least a couple of choirs sing. Diane preaches (translated) on Isaiah 45:2-3 which speaks of the mystery of treasures in dark places and makes application to those who are suffering much and yet
finding treasure in the Lord’s calling them by name. Several of the group held children’s church outside. After the service we were brought back into the church with the members to receive communion. Sitting on benches in a rectangle, we were given opportunity to wash our hands and then proceed with the service. (For those who want to know, we had the melt-in-your-mouth wafer and individual cups of juice).
After church we were taken to Baraka’s family home to enjoy a goat roast, a lovely way to pass the Sabbath! Mid-afternoon we departed on our bus for Enfant de Dieu, an organization that cares for former street children. They house almost 100 boys, providing them with training, education, and housing. We watched them drum and dance for us
(including street-style dancing) and then shared donuts and sodas as well as some games. I and one of the older boys played beach volleyball against another teammate and child on something that was akin to sand. My poor feet took a beating. During our time we also got to hear how the ministry works and about the counseling offered in groups and individuals. It was especially fun to show some of the video footage on my phone from last year. We could see who had grown the most and who had left to go back to family.
Finally, we ended our day back at Solace Ministry with an American missionary couple who have been in Kigali for almost 2 years. They were able to describe work with prostitutes and pastors. Also, they filled the team in on some of the cultural differences: A person is a girl or boy until she or he has a child. Many girls would choose to contract HIV rather than be childless. For a man to get married he has to build a family home. Because some of the materials are so expensive, many are putting off marriage and thus encouraging sex before marriage. Many expect that men and women who travel will have sex outside of marriage while on the trip. Some form of genital mutilation is present here (not so much cutting as stretching). Finally, we explored the survival mentality and how that can be a help and a hindrance.