Rwanda: World Relief Recap #2

February 23, 2009 at 3:51 pm (Rwanda)

Myself and Natalie Burns, another member of our team, started monday morning very early because we decided that we wanted to run while we were in Africa.  We’re both training for the Marine Coprs Historic Half marathon in May so we knew we had to keep training while we were away.  I have to say, that my early morning runs became one of my most favorite parts of the trip.  Kigali sits well above 5000 ft so you feel it in the lungs, but running through the city as it wakes up with a beautiful sunrise in the background was such a breath-taking experience (no pun intended).  I also felt like i was in “Cool Runnings” part 2 :).

Monday’s task was to spend the day at World Relief where they taught us about the organization, our partnership, the logistics of church mobilization, culture demographics, the micro-finance programs, and many other things.  They branded it as “World Relief University” and taught it like a college class which was actually kind of fun.  It might have been even more fun for them to pretend that they were professors and deans, which didn’t bother me at all cause i could see in their faces how different and fun it was for them to conduct.  Throughout the day of “classes” i could feel my perspectives on missions and understanding culture turning completely around.  We asked some tough questions in regards to Transformational development and the challenges within, what cross-cultural Christianity looks like, how to balance descriptions versus interpretations of cultures, how to work with volunteers in community ministry, and many more!  I’m really thankful for that day and the things that I learned.  It was also the first day i got to hang out with my World Relief “buddy” which i will write a whole post on him soon.

Tuesday was a day for us to spend out in the field with some of the field projects WR was overseeing.  My group traveled about 45 min outside of town to a small rural village called Masaka where WR was building large bio-level water filters for families that needed clean water.  We spent the morning separating fine-grain sand and small rocks, and cleaning them.  Once we had separated all the materials and bagged them up, we would load up into the land cruisers and install a filter in someone’s home.  I got to help install one filter in a home and it was so filling to see the family light up with joy at the thought of clean water finally being part of daily life.  Below is a picture of Jillian, our MBC liason to World Relief, helping to install the filter in the home.


Once we were finished with filters, we had a little down time until the land cruisers were to pick us up so we walked around and took some pictures AND encountered one of the craziest things i’ve ever been a part of.  Here’s a good story. On our walk, we crossed a large open field and noticed 4 little kids playing soccer with a beat up old ball.  There were three of us at the time and we thought the kids would think it was super cool if the strange white people stopped and played soccer with them.  So we did and had fun for about 3 minutes or so.  I forgot to mention that this field was right next to a large rural school building.  At that three minute mark, i looked over at the school, just in time to see the huge entry gates swing open and see about 300+ kids sprinting out to play with us.  Talk about a rush.  It instantly became a game keep away from the Muzungu’s (Rwandan term for white people) and it was a blast.  Allan even kicked the ball right into one kids face, which knocked him off his feet and the kid got right back up like nothing happened so he could keep playing!  I wish we would’ve gotten a picture of it all, but it happened so fast, what could we do.  Anyway, you’ll just have to take our word for it. Soon the Land Cruisers showed up and rescued us form the mass of kids (which was super hard to navigate as you can imagine).  We drove back to town for our evening debrief and prayer time and rested up from a day of manual labor.  Thus ends day 4.


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