Student Leaders: SPRINT


Summer 2010 SPRINT Teams: Rwanda

Trip Dates: June 14 - July 3, 2010

Project Description:
Learn about and participate in post‐genocide reconciliation work though reconciliation workshops, home visits, prison ministry and economic development projects. Lead English classes, Vacation Bible School and peace‐building/conflict resolution training for orphans and widows.

Host:
Rwanda Partners

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Rwanda SPRINT Team

Team Updates


July 6

Hello, friends of the Rwanda SPRINT team!

After three weeks in Rwanda, the team is home now!  As you prepare to receive them, here are some things I hope you'll think about to help the team make the most of this trip.

As the group returns, they’ll continue to think through this experience and its implications for their lives. It’s likely that this mental processing will involve at least some of these elements:

Relief upon returning to familiar surroundings,

Frustration with aspects of home culture that appear less desirable than the cultural values experienced during the SPRINT experience,

Sadness and joy over relationships and memories developed during the trip,

And hopefully, Resolve to incorporate the learning from this trip into daily life as life moves on.

It’s our hope that SPRINT participants will return to “life as usual” with expanded worldviews and a clearer sense of God’s work in their lives. The learning process continues after the trip experience; students will participate in a debriefing retreat in October, and will be encouraged to continue meeting with their SPRINT team to share the story of their host’s work and encourage future generations of SPRINT participants to serve.

I encourage you to give your student time to catch up on sleep and collect his or her thoughts, then set aside an extended period of time to share pictures and stories. Don’t expect completely-formed opinions immediately; the reflection process takes time. We remind returning SPRINTers that not everyone will have time to hear the whole story, but that they should find a few people with whom to share the longer, more in-depth account.

I’ve e-mailed team members a list of debriefing questions designed to help students think through their experience and its meaning as they move forward in their lives. If you’ve got time, I’d encourage you to talk though some of these questions with your student.

Thanks for your support of students on this team!   Please let me know if you have questions.
 
Owen.



July 1

A report on the team's visit to Hope for Life Ministry is featured in Hope For Life's monthly newsletter.


June 29

Mwiriwe Inshuti
(Good afternoon friends)
 
We just got back from Gitarama helping to finish build the house that we helped bought for one of the weavers.  Houston, Noah and I all threw mud on the sides of the house as the workers came behind us to smooth it out.  We had great fun in the African sun :)  A new friend of ours, Mark Grayson from Bellevue joined us today in Gitarama.  We also visited a group of weavers whom Rwanda Partners works with to sell their baskets and generate income.  You all should be seeing these baskets in Costco soon as Costco is now Michel's biggest buyer! 

Yesterday we went to Speak I'm Listening and we learned traditional Rwandan dance from the women who are being trained in skills and provided for through food, counseling and care. You should have seen Houston dance!!!!  In return we taught them the electric slide and the macarena :)  In the afternoon we drove to Rilima Prison in the Bugesera district.  We had little time there but got to meet 3,800+ prisoners.  They have their own plantations, projects and livestock that prisoners take care of in order to support themselves, to learn skills and cover costs.

Last week we attended the reconciliation workshops.  We cannot do justice to what we learned and saw in this e-mail but we very much look forward to talking about that experience in person when we return.  As a team we were taught the foundation of reconciliation and what it takes to reach that point.  The first day was spent laying this foundation through discussion and scripture.  The second day was devoted to the healing process. Everyone who attended the workshop wrote 5 sorrows or pains they've experienced and we physically nailed these to a wooden cross.  Some of the women screamed for joy during this act...in celebration of their freedom.  We missed the third day because of some minor illnesses (everyone is now well, hitting the ground running...) but this day was devoted to the actual step of reconciling through forgiveness and repentance.  About half of the attendees (we were told) were able to take this final step of reconciliation.  Rwanda Partners will continue to follow up with these people in the village, both those who were reconciled and those who are still in process but could not that day.  We had a debrief time with Michel and Theo, discussing what we missed and also what each of us learned through the reconciliation process...it was deep, and we're continuing to process even now. 

Over the weekend we (with the exception of Stephanie and Houston who were resting) visited Pastor Joseph, the leader of Mercy Ministries (La Rucher).  He has done extensive reconciliation ministry in the great lakes region of Africa and was able to share his wisdom and insights with us.  

Sorry for the delay in updates.  We are all very much enjoying our stay here, having a blast with Michel and Theo, learning more than we ever thought imaginable and seeing the love of God in new ways each day.  We love you all and pray blessings upon you until our return. 

Umunsi Mwiza
(Have a good day!)

Team Rwanda

June 28

Here’s a brief update on the team – they’ve been quite busy recently with a reconciliation workshop and a visit to Rwanda Partners’ work in a local prison. 

You may have already received updates noting that some team members were ill.  Houston and Stephanie are well now; it appears they experienced food poisoning. I’ve received quite a few updates from Rwanda Partners; I’ve been impressed with RP’s attention devoted to our students and their health.  The team’s certainly in good hands!

It’s not uncommon for foreign visitors to become ill when visiting Rwanda.  One of our Seattle partners told me today that she’s been ill each of the 13 times she’s visited there. 

Thankfully, the team is healthy now, and can return their attention to the trip.  I’ll keep you updated as they send more reports.

Owen.

Dear Owen and Kathy –

We just spoke with Michel on the phone to get an update on the students.  The two that were sick were Houston and Stephanie with Stephanie faring the worse of the two (as we had heard). It appears that it was food poisoning from eating out at a restaurant.  They had a fever of 101 and diarrhea and found an amoeba in at least one of the students due to the food poisoning.  They are well now and back at ministry. 

They went to Rilima prison today and had a powerful visit there.

That’s all I know for now but just wanted you to know that it appears to be a food poisoning issue and not anything more serious.

Tracy Stone, Executive Director
Rwanda Partners


June 22

Bite? (What’s up?)

It’s after 7pm here in Kigali, and we’re about to sit down for dinner. The last several days have been packed but very fun. On Friday we went to the town of Ruhuha (in the far SE near Burundi) and visited a widow and two orphans, all of whom lost their families in the genocide. We were able to hear their stories and were blown away by their hospitality. After the visits we went to a pineapple plantation run by a group of 86 widows that Rwanda Partners established and ate the best fresh pineapple we’ve ever had.

Saturday morning Papa Théo and Mama Michel (Michael) took us to the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where 300,000+ people are buried, and we were able to learn about the background, execution, and consequences of the genocide. It was a humbling experience, and we will get to visit two more before we leave.

On Sunday we went to an English service at Michel’s church downtown and spent the evening exploring Kigali on foot with a couple guys from AEE (the place we’re staying). Yesterday we went to Hope for Life Orphanage, which was started by SPU alum Megan Swanson with her friend Hillary Anderson, with two Rwandans. We painted two rooms to make sure they wouldn’t be fined by their landlord before they move into their new place in December, and got to play soccer with several of the younger boys. Before starting our work we were blessed with the testimonies of two of the older boys, who had been living on the street before the orphanage was established. It was a joy to be able to serve them in such a tangible way and also to get to hear how God is working in their lives.

Today was the first day of a three-day reconciliation workshop, but we’ll wait to explain it until our next update.

Imana ihuhe umugisha (God bless you)!


June 17

Muraho Friends and family!

Our team made is safely to Rwanda!  Despite a three hour delay we successfully endured the 34 hours of travel.  We did however lose our bags, which we are hoping will be flying into Kigali tonight.  We have spent the first 2 days at the catch-up school run by Theoneste, a friend of Rwanda Partners. The school works with former street kids, helping them to get back on their feet and get them back up to speed in the educational system. There are three types of orphans there: those whose parents were killed in the genocide, those whose parents are in prison, and those whose parents are too poor to support them. Our time was spent teaching English via songs and games to the first two primary levels, and we got to teach them gospel songs before lunch. Today we also got to hear three testimonies from students ages 18+ who are in the lower levels of primary school. We've also been able to meet many wonderful people, including Loic and Jane, our translators, and Michel and Theo, who run Rwanda Partners in country.

We're absolutely loving our time here, and we look forward to sharing our stories and pictures when we return. Love to all our Fathers (since we'll miss Fathers' day), and we send you heartfelt greetings from the students at the catch-up school!

Murabeho,

Team Rwanda

June 15

After maintenance delayed their plane before leaving the US, the team arrived in Brussels, Belgium, with 30 minutes to change planes. They made it, but their luggage didn't run so fast. It'll arrive on Thursday. Thankfully, Kathy from Rwanda Partners encouraged them to pack extra clothes in their carry-on items, so they're well-prepared.

After they rest up from their travel, the team will begin their work with Rwanda Partners. They'll visit a school where they'll help with English lessons on the 16th and 17th. 

June 13
The team departed SeaTac Airport on Sunday, June 13. More updates soon.


Rwanda Depature
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