Tuesday, June 27, 2017

#rwanderful: Days 14, 15, & 16


We went to church at New Life in Kigali, where my heart absorbs the joy from people who worship in different ways than the people I go to church with. Lunch was at the Hotel des Mille Collines, where the movie Hotel Rwanda takes place. The chocolate mousse was amazing. FYI.

We had to say goodbye to Zach and drop him off at the airport. Always hard to say goodbye to great friends!

After our airport trip, Annette, Bunmi, JeJe and I went to the singles event at New Life. We were all encouraged by the message to remain a virgin until marriage and to be reminded of the truths in the Bible. It also really poured into my heart and helped heal the hurt from the last few months. The Lord has really intentionally placed people in my life and experiences like this to restore my spirit and fall in love with Jesus all over again.


We woke up early to head to Kayonza for the last week of the trip. On the way, we stopped at the mall to get internet, but they place was closed so we enjoyed some beverages at Bourbon Coffee while we waited for them to open. All the juices I ordered weren’t made yet, so I had to settle for orange juice. But it was still delicious. I am going to miss amazing fresh juices.

The view from Bourbon Coffee

We got to the New Life schools with no problems, but when we pulled onto the campus all the kids were outside playing and not in uniforms. No one remembered it was a public holiday, so we ended up having all afternoon to relax and get settled. We were bummed we lost a day in the classroom, but I think we all wanted the rest.

That evening, the staff played the students in a soccer match, which was fun to see. The staff really has great relationships with the students at New Life, and it encourages me to continue to build up my students at home.

Bunmi and I had a really great time attempting to put up the mosquito nets above our beds. Bunmi stood on the head boards, we tried using my selfie stick, and I tried picking her up to make her taller. We were eventually successful after A LOT of laughter.

Bunmi finally made me watch The Gods Must Be Crazy, but my old lady self started to fall asleep. We finished the rest of it tonight (Tuesday). It’s hilariously terrible.


Up early for school! School starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., so it is a pretty long day compared to our normal days at home. We met with Sam, the dean of students, and he placed us in classrooms. I was with Charles most of the morning in his senior 1 classes (7th grade). We learned about linear equations, solving equations, and inequalities. As we walked to his last class, he asked if I would teach. So in 2 minutes I got to make up a lesson about graphing inequalities. Good thing that’s how I run my life daily at work. I’ve been well prepped for flying by the seat of my pants.

Teachers wear lab coats! Now we're official!

Olivier is our fantastic chef while we’re at the guest house in Kayonza. We miss Emma, but Olivier is great too. After our amazing lunch, we went to the assembly where the prefects from last year handed off their roles to the newly elected student leaders. We were excited to participate in the fun! We also discovered teenagers laugh at a lot of the same things in assemblies. I’ve said it before, but teenagers are the same no matter where you are in the world.

Bunmi and I are helping lead the devotion time for the primary 5 and primary 6 students tomorrow, so we went to their choir practice this afternoon. Seriously. These kids' ages range from about 10 – 15 years old, and they praise Jesus with their whole being. I want to bottle their praise and dump it on US churches.
The sweetest kids!

We watched another staff vs. student soccer match. While we were sitting there, we talked to a few older students about college and what that could look like in the US or other African countries. God is continuing to prep my heart for my future in this country.

It’s been a long but good day. We’re exhausted and ready for bed, but pleased with all the things we were able to do today.

Pray for us to continue to be an encouragement to the teachers and staff and not be a burden on anyone. Pray for the devotion time tomorrow that everything goes smoothly. Pray for exhaustion to diminish so that we can be the most effective teachers we can be. Pray for God to be the center of our day and not the list of things we feel we need to be doing. Pray for our hearts to be soft and gentle to teachers who are trying to change aspects of their classrooms.

Love and miss you!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

#rwanderful: Days 12 & 13

Friday: It took us all day, but we made a cup of coffee.

Today, some of the team went on the safari and some of the team went to Azizi Life to experience a day with a Rwandan woman. Since I've been on the safari twice, I really wanted to participate in Azizi Life. We chose the coffee experience and had a blast.

We started off with the women in a coffee growing community. They dressed us in traditional clothing with a skirt and a headwrap. We learned how to peel potatoes with just a knife instead of fancy tools we have in the US, which was preparation for our lunch. They ladies took us to the coffee bean field up the hill, and we started harvesting coffee beans.

One of the views on the drive

Amanda, Amanda, and Anna

When we were finished, the ladies tied the bag closed and set it on my head to carry back to the house. I made it all the way down the hill without dropping it. I'm basically Rwandan now.

10 cow bride

the views in Rwandan. I can't get over them.

Amanda is Rwandan too.

Back at the house, they pulled out the stone pestle to help remove the outer skin. We each got to attempt that step, and we worked together to pick out the skins from the beans. The next step in the process is drying the beans. Since that takes longer than a day, the ladies brought us already dried beans for us to remove the next layer before roasting. As a team, we worked on that together, so it would go quickly.

The next step in this very long process is roasting the beans. So there was this fire that they made and they put a pot on top of it with just the beans inside. Once the beans are roasted, we put it in a mortar and pestle to be ground. We poured the ground coffee in a pitcher of hot water. While we waited for the coffee to brew, we ate lunch.

Anna and my sister would get along so well.

Lunch was an entire avocado, beans, and sweet potatoes. Bonus: we ate with our hands. I was a mess, but who's surprised.

Then, they brought the coffee in. It was really similar to french press. The ladies poured the coffee into the mugs through a strainer so we didn't have all of the grounds. Even though I don't like coffee, I felt like I needed to drink it since we had worked so hard on it all day. I definitely needed to add some sugar to it to make it tolerable. But I was pleasantly surprised by how satisfying it was to drink something we had all worked hard to create. It made me appreciate all the things we have in the US.

The last part of the day we had a dance sesh with the ladies. Thank you Alice for trying to teach Lauren, Kayla, Lizzie, Ranelle, and me how to traditional dance in Rwanda last year. I was slightly more prepared, but not really. I dance like a white girl. :)

Overall the day was really fun, and we all had a blast hanging out together. This team laughs together, cries together, and so much in between. Love these friends, new and old.

At 9:30 ish Alice, Bunmi, Annette and I went to Night Church. We prayed, sang, and listened to a sermon. As soon as we sat for the sermon, all four of us felt SO tired. It ended at midnight, but it was definitely hard to stay awake.

Saturday: The majority of the team left today. SO SAD!

We enjoyed today a ton. Umuganda is the last Saturday of the month, where the community shuts down in the morning to work in the neighborhood. Everyone works, and the police will stop you if you try to drive around during the morning. Since it was Umuganda, we got to sleep in. It was glorious. I love sleeping almost as much as food.

Jeje took us all to Java House for lunch at the fancy mall called Kigali Heights. I drank Mint Pinade. and ate a guacamole bacon cheeseburger. OMG. Amazing.

BEST PART OF THE DAY: Jeje and the team planned a surprise birthday celebration for me. They had everyone come to the balcony because we were going to talk to John Africa. All of a sudden, Jeje comes through the door with a cake and everyone starts singing. After a couple seconds, I realize it is for me and I just start laughing. People aren't generally able to surprise me, so this was exciting! I really had no idea what to say or do. I was shocked! I was really proud of everyone for keeping it quiet, even my roommate, Amanda.

After the surprise, we all piled in the bus and went to the airport. Sad goodbyes after such a joyful afternoon. Praying for safe travels for most of the team. Tomorrow, Zach will head home, and on Monday, Janet, Bunmi, and I will head to Kayonza for the week.

Here we go into the last week of the trip. Hugs from Rwanda.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#rwanderful: Day 11

Each day in Rwanda presents a new challenge or joy that I haven't experienced yet. I led the devotion this morning on the bus and we started off by singing "Lord, I Need You." Someone else suggested it and it was really cool how it went right along with what the Lord had laid on my heart to talk about. We read John 15:1-17 where Jesus is teaching his disciples about relying on the Lord. God has impressed upon my heart this week that each of us on the team are ordained to be here. We each have special gifts and talents that the Lord is going to use. In order to be effective, we need to remain in the Lord. Verse 5 states, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." We will not be effective without submitting to the Holy Spirit and the Lord's power first.

We drove to Kayonza today to work with the students who graduated last year and are working towards applying to university. If/When I come to stay in Rwanda all of next summer, these are a big portion of the students I will be working with. It was really neat to talk with them today and continue to see how God is planning to use me and the talents He's given me to work with teenagers planning their future. It has been really fun to continue to answer yes, when God lays the next step in front of me.

On our way back, we picked up our new clothes from Threads, the ANLM sewing shop. I had a skirt made for the first time on a trip, and it fits perfectly. I'm wearing it to church on Sunday. Pics to come... When I tried it on, I was told my dowery will be 10 cows. Pretty sure that is a good thing. Thanks JeJe.

Jeje + Bob = Brothers #africanmath
After dinner, we have been sharing life stories. When we've shared as a team, it has been real, challenging, humbling, and painful. Life can be ugly, and we really felt that tonight. We came around a team member in need and spent a beautiful time of prayer after the testimony. Be praying for this team member. Spiritual warfare is real and we are facing it head on. Satan wishes to destroy the work we are doing, and we have to pray against that.

I also got to FaceTime Lizzie and Kayla. Miss my sweet team members from last year, but it was good to talk to them and hear all the things I've missed while in Rwanda.

Love a good FaceTime screenshot. :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

#rwanderful: Day 10

Guys... I am so exhausted. This will be a day in the life through pictures.

This was the first thing we saw as we pulled up to the first school this morning...this is a primary school. HIV and AIDS are issues in this part of the world, so it makes sense.

We talked about HIV and malaria in the class I was in.

Kids take naps in all classrooms.

Gremain was telling me all about her class and I was able to help her with some math that she was confused on.

When we switched to a secondary school, I got to watch a geometry lesson. LOVE.

A girl walked into this class late, hits me on the arm and says HEY. She was super disruptive and just copied everything off the board. I loved her. My heart is for students who are ridiculous and goofy and need some love, boundaries, and guidance. She reminded me of my kids in the US and I am refreshed and remember why I love them so much. Even on the hard days.

Amanda and I were twinning today.

Clearly we were upset.

Then we went shopping and stopped at the art gallery. It's one of my favorite places in Kigali because it's so interesting and you get to meet all the artists. I enjoy seeing all the art and how interesting the process is for them as they create.

I spent the rest of my exchanged money here and needed to exchange some more. Oops.