Wion Girls in Rwanda [7/16/18]
Over the summer of 2018 our pastor’s blog will feature various members of the Grace Sacramento community and ministries we partner with as guest bloggers. This week our guest blogger is our own Becca Wion, who is serving as a short-term missionary in Rwanda this summer.
I’m forming a southern accent with our Mississippi friends here (as well as a slight Rwandan accent…). Also a PSA: my phone has decided to stop working, so please e-mail me, Facebook me, or Instagram message me if you want to talk or get direct updates. Here is the website: letsdosomethingnow.com of the ministry if you want to know more about it. Now for the update...
Many things have happened since I last e-mailed you. Lily, my coworker, has come and gone (she left on Friday). The Messapian's came Tuesday bringing their accents and suitcases filled with gifts for the ministry. It has been amazing to see the ways God is moving here in Rwanda and so fun to bring/give the items from America! Here is a brief-ish summary from each day (look at Day 6 for backpack info and Day 7 for agricultural land info):
Day 1 Friday: We were greeted at the airport by Hope and Godfrey and their son Bennet. Also Sonia (my sponsor girl), Deborah (Mollie family’s sponsor girl), and little Elizabeth (one of our good friends from last year). We are staying at Hope’s house, which is 10 minutes from the airport. That night Lily asked Hope about the schooling system in Rwanda. In government schools, there are about 60 or more students to one teacher. CRAZY. The students in the sponsor program, Hagari Rwanda, go to a private school that is about 30 or less students in a classroom.
Day 2 Saturday: The next day we unpacked all 8 of our suitcases and filled the backpacks with the soap, toothbrush, toothpastes, and pens. We ended the day at the Genocide Memorial where we learned about the 1994 genocide that lasted 100 days. The museum had a room dedicated a room to genocides across the world. Lily commented on how most genocides occurred over several years, Rwanda was short and intense compared to genocide’s across the world. Hope stated that the families in the Hagari program were unaware of other country’s genocides so they thought their country was the MOST sinful and depraved of all people. When Hope taught the parents about the other genocides a few years back the parents realized they were not the only sinful and depraved nation, others had experienced the same tragedy.
Day 3 Sunday: We went to Hope’s church which is similar to a worship concert in America. Then we went to Musanze a village 2 hours from the main city, Kigali, where Hope lives. We went on a canoe adventure which made us all bust in laughter at our canoeing skills (or lack thereof).
Day 4 Monday: We spent the night at a hostel in Musanze and went to the Special Ed school that Aloys has started. See my blog for full details about Aloys and his school:
https://wiongirlsinrwanda.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/mind-blowing/ Lily, as a special ed teacher, was super encouraging to Aloys and the teachers, giving them strategies to improve their school and telling them they are doing an awesome job. A LOT of parents came as well, which was great because of the stigma that children with disabilities have in Rwanda. We were able to tell the parents that their children are made in the image of God and are therefore a blessing. We told the parents that they are brave, amazing people.
Day 5 Tuesday: Back in Kigali, Lily and I visited the special ed school Aloys started a year ago. It had a good schedule and was more organized than the Musanze school. Lily and I observed mostly. The teacher asked us if there were any special ed kids in America...she thought America had none. My sister, Elizabeth, and Mollie went on house visits with the Hagari nurse to check on the newborn babies (Rwanda doesn’t have a monthly check up for babies). Day 5 was also when the Mississippians came.
Day 6 Wednesday: We had brought volleyball’s and a net over from America for a volleyball camp. The librarian at my school in Sacramento also donated four-square balls. Wednesday was a holiday in Rwanda. So that morning the first through third graders learned how to play volleyball and the fourth through sixth graders learned kickball. In the afternoon the 4th-6th learned to play volleyball and the 1st-3rd received the backpacks!! It was SO fun giving all the students their backpacks. They were SO excited. Lily also spent time assessing ALL the students in Hagari Rwanda ministry to give the staff an overview on the student’s academic progress.
Day 7 Thursday: We visited the agriculture land!! So exciting to see the changes from last year’s weeds and overgrowth to a beautiful garden with so many plants, a watering system being set up, a small house, and rabbit hutches. We were able to help set up some of the soaker hoses and watch the water get transferred from a cistern to the tank that will gravity feed the water to each plant. So instead of JC (the guy who lives there) hand watering each plant, he can flip some switches! Afterwards we came back to the school and watched the 1st-3rd graders practice tennis. We also threw Trizah and her husband Fred (both staff in Hagari ministry) a baby shower for their son coming sometime in the next week!
Day 8 Friday: We went to the market (wall to wall souvenirs with small walkways). Then we took motos to see the sewing mommas and order some dresses, skirts, shorts, etc. in Busanza. The mommas have made some beautiful bags that I can’t wait to bring back! Then we took Lily to the airport and said goodbye. Such a short, sweet time with her! The mommas have a Bible Study every other Friday and we were able to attend today.
Day 9 Saturday: We went to the pool with our sponsor kids (Deborah, Sonia and her sister Aline, David and his sisters Esther and Josepha, little Elizabeth, Chanceline (my parent’s sponsor kid). Many of the kids had gone last year and were VERY excited to go again. We played for several hours, ate lunch together at the pool, and enjoyed being together. It is SUCH a blessing to be able to see Sonia and the others laugh, sing, argue, play together, and just be children in the midst of a difficult life. Afterwards, we walked them home. This is no small feat. The hill to Busanza feels like a mountain to us muzungus (white people in kinyarwanda). It goes down very steep and then up, up, up, up. And the families walk this at least twice a day!! The kids were so excited to show us their homes and were literally jumping for joy. My sister and I visited these family's homes last year as well, but it was no less impactful to see how small their houses, yet how big their smiles/hearts.
Day 10 Sunday: Finally, I have caught y’all up and made it to today, SUNDAY! What a week it has been. Filled with ups and downs for the staff here at Hagari. Please continue to pray for encouragement, wisdom, and God’s character for each staff member and their families. Pray for the culture and country, that God would fill it with his spirit and truth. Pray for the families and the cycles of poverty and sin, that they would be broken in Jesus' name. Finally, pray for us as we are at the middle of our time here. Pray we stay healthy, pray we can be an encouragement to the families and staff.
Until next time. May God bless and keep you,