Goodbye, team! Muraho my last 12 days in Rwanda!
Sorry for the lapse in posting! My days have been full and WordPress has not been letting me log in.
The last of the team left just after we returned to Rwanda. They Kelly, Lori and I remained and loose ends were tied up before Kelly left.The last of the clothes, toys, books and shoes were delivered. It was one of the most special days when we took the cleats out to Togetherness farm where the soccer field is located. When we hauled in two foot lockers and a large duffel bag, they knew something was happening and everyone came running. First we distributed the uniforms to the girls and the boys must have spread word there were shoes around because I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many young men at the farm!
After the girls ran off in school girl uniforms which were much much shorter than any shirts seen here (above the knee! Can you imagine the shock? Of course I did not get the impression the boys were complaining.)
When we finally brought out the shoes, all of the boys were so excited! You should see their normal shoes- worn down to the bone, any metal bits rusted, any cloth bits frayed, any plastic bits thin from use. They wear, repair and hand them down until they cannot be repaired again. “New” shoes bought on the street corners are never unworn and brand new shoes, unscuffed, unworn, with tags and tied together, are harder to find than good chocolate. This was better than any Christmas I’ve experienced! Or, perhaps, like watching Black Friday shopping? There was crowd control, yelling and shouting, not too much pushing and shoving, but so much excitement!
All told, there are 24 pairs of cleats, not to mention a dozen or so pairs of sneakers which were brought out to the farm. The others went to individual homes during the trip. There must have been fifty boys there, all wanting to try on the new shoes. It was great to see how excited they all were. So they tried them on, not caring that they didn’t fit all that well, just thrilled to have new cleats!
Then they all had to put them all back into the foot lockers. Since there are not enough for everyone, they will meet with the heads of households to decide which children most need new (brand spanking new!) shoes. Thank you again, to each of the kids who donated their old shoes. I wish each of you could have seen the effect your gift made. I hope the new shoes you have to replace the old ones you gave to these boys are half as exciting to you as your old shoes are to this team! I have so much admiration for your generosity and want you to know your shoes may help these great athletes move from 5th place to 4th or even 3rd! We are all grateful for what you have done!
The day Kelly left, with the power out and no water (not unusual. It is a developing nation) we had a grand, lazy day. But the next day, for the first time in Rwanda, the e.coli battle seems to have been waged. It was good to not have a million places we needed to be all at once. And to take a nap! But today held plenty of meetings to make up for the slow day. It seems each meeting takes eight hundred times longer than necessary. It seems to be the Rwandan way. Maybe it’s simply the fact that everything is discussed through our lovely multilingual Peninah that makes everything seem so circuitous. But I’ve got a morning meeting tomorrow, so it seems like time for bed.
Here’s some random flower photos from a recent walk around Kigali.
Now I am staying at a smaller guest house with one of the African Road board members and her daughter having just arrived tonight. The days are packed!