Wednesday, 11 September 2013

RWANDA!

  3 vans...
    8 staff...
      10 days...
        27 students...
          33 blisters...
            40 packed lunches...
               
  800,000+ people
 remembered, 

1 country, 1 people moving on...
            
      
  
August 30th
We departed from UCU at 5:00am and journeyed to Rwanda. We spent some time at the equator, crossed the border into Rwanda and ended our journey at the Kibungo Guest House.



August 31st
This morning we participated in a country-wide community service mandate called Umuganda.  We worked with the Anglican Church in Kibungo transporting cement, rocks, dirt and tools so that professional builders could establish the foundation of a new office building. 

                                                                                                            September 1stWe attended three different worship services in rural Rwanda. We had the opportunity to lead the congregation in singing, give testimonies and even preach a sermon.  After eating lunch with the leaders of the churches we traveled to the capital city Kigali and settled into the Christuse Center--a Catholic Guest House where we stayed the next four days.                

                                                     





September 2nd
We don't primarily travel to Rwanda to learn 
about the 1994 genocide, but we do see it as an 
important part of Rwanda's history and therefore 
devoted this day to visiting memorials and learning 
about this tragedy. We spent time in the Kigali
National Memorial and the Nyamatta Church.       





September 3rd
Today we visited CARSA--a Christian organization devoted to reconciling perpetrators and victims of the Rwandan genocide.  We split into groups and worked on community projects working alongside CARSA participants. 

   



September 4th
Since the horrors of the genocide, Rwanda has made swift progress in development as a country.  This morning we visited various micro-fincance organizations to learn about one form of development. In the afternoon we toured art galleries to experience a part of Rwandan culture.




















September 5-7: Debrief 
We traveled to Bushara Island surrounded by Lake Bunyonyi, just across the border into Uganda.  It was a weekend to relax, reflect on our experiences in Rwanda and enjoy time together.  







 




Thoughts from students:
- "Awesome! Great balance of fun, work, learning...definitely unforgettable." -Kirstin Woodman

- "I feel so blessed to have experienced the beauty of the Rwandan countryside and to have had a glance into the pain and reconciliation occurring in such a beautiful country." - Elyce Hornor

- "If you want to live healthily in this world, you have to come to terms with the fact that evil exists and bad things happen, but still continue trying to change the world." - Antoinne (a genocide survivor who spoke to students)

- "My week in Rwanda was like going through a roller coaster of various emotions--hurt, anger, doubt, disbelief, hope, forgiveness." - Becca Stripe

- "Rwanda captured my heart more than I ever expected.  It was incredible to see the Kingdom of God being incarnated in the hillside villages and backroad churches of this tragic and hopeful country." -Mariel Rieland

- "The contrast between the joy of learning and the devastation of loss and depravity was unique, unexpected and unforgettable.    - Tim Elliot

- "I am not an idealist.  I am a kingdom realist.  The hope I want to point out is not out of this world, because the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." - a quote from Mirror to the Church (the book students read during their time in Rwanda)



Throughout this experience we memorized the prayer of St. Francis.   
It has become our prayer as well. 

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; 
where there is sadness, joy;
where there is darkness, light.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
 seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 




* Pictures taken by: Rachel Robinson & Becca Stripe



   




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