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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 06 Jul 2006

Location: Rwanda

MapJambo everyone,

I typed this whole long message only to have the whole thing disappear on me two times last night. It is so frustrating...especially after a long day.
Anyway, I'll start again this morning only I'm sure it'll be shorter than my first message. I got up 1 hour early for you guys!!!!!!!

We went to 6 places yesturday but I won't cover all of them.

One of the places we went to was a school that is somewhere past Nyamata. It is one that World Vision built. It hasn't had any desks until recently but WV finally got enough money together to get some built. Everyone was pretty excited about that. When we drove up, the kids all came running out shouting and cheering. We visited a few of the 10 classrooms and they always had us stand up at the front and introduce ourselves. The kids showed off some of their "counting in English" skills and asked us lots of questions. It was so cute. They took us outside and had us sit on a row of chairs and then the whole school came out and performed songs and dances. The dancing is so beautiful and the kids all put so much of their souls into everything. The highlight of the visit for the kids was the soccer balls, pumps and uniforms. They could see the stuff and you could feel the tension mounting. When we finally handed out everything, everyone went crazy. Even the teachers were jumping up and down. The whole soccer team put on their new shirts and they posed for lots of pictures. Everyone kept thanking us over and over. The teachers said that there has never been money for anything like that. The kids all looked so proud strutting around in their uniforms.

We also went to a church where a group of people with Aids have formed a support group with the help of W.V. Actually the church fell down and all there is just some wood poles with tarps and sticks tied together. They had us sit up the front facing them and we all introduced ourselves. Then they sang and performed a play about Aids. They use it to help make their people more aware of the problem. Some of them came up and told their stories about having Aids, how it affects them and how the group has changed their lives. Some of them were considering suicide before this group started. The whole thing was very moving.

We travelled out to the middle of nowhere to visit the last people of the day. The road was so rutted that I took pictures. It was no wider than a path for some of the time. We actually got out and walked faster than the vehicle. Anyway, we visited a woman named Alice with 2 young children. She and her 6 year old both have Aids. She was so happy to see us that she kept grabbing and hugging us and kissing our hands. Most people with this disease are totally ostricized by the community, which makes it hard to survive, especially when their health fades. Her own brother lives not far but will have nothing to so with her. The W.V. Aids group comes out to see her and she says that's their only contact with anyone. We brought her, (as well as all of the families that we saw today), many gifts of food and lots of presents. They were so grateful. She kept asking us to please come back and visit and we were trying to make her understand that we couldn't. It was very sad to leave knowing that we were heading back to our hotel and to the rest of our lives and we had to leave her there, all alone with her little kids, in the middle of bloody nowhere.
| am so impressed with World Vision. The people here told us that following the genocide, some of the aid organizations were here, but then they all left, except for W.V. Some others are there now but it's W.V.'s work that you see everywhere. The people are so grateful and they treat us like royalty whereever we go.
I'd better sign off, everyone thinks I have a computer obsession because I've spent so much time on it and have not been socializing with them. I hope you are being a good boy Jackson. I miss you a lot. I hope you had a good time at Grandma and Grandpa's. Please get someone to help you write a letter to mom. I hope things are going OK with your new jobs and your move Beki and Chuck. I hope school is going well in Kelowna Jarrett and that you are enjoying having the house to yourself. Say "Hi" to Jason for me, I don't imagine that he is reading this.
(Make sure he is eating OK Beki!) I miss all you "vegepians".... you know who you are!!! I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and thanks so much for all the messages. I'm so lucky to have the life I have and so many good friends and family who care about me.
Kwa Heri.........Brenda