Jun
27
2011
0

I’m still here!

Hello All,

This is Jen.  Sorry it has been awhile.  Just trying to get settled into a routine here.  Today I moved to the German Guesthouse in Remera.  ALARM was great – very quiet and everyone was very friendly and helpful.  However, it was kind of far away from everything.  I am now within just a few minute walk of the church and primary school in Remera!  And a little walk in the other direction leads me to a town center where I can find most things I might need…including the cyber cafe where I now sit!  :)

This first week by myself has taught be a lot about being alone and being quiet – probably both good lessons for me.  :)  I have been helping out in the primary school in the mornings (until noon).  At least I am trying to help – I realized I really don’t know what teachers in the U.S. teach 4 & 5 year olds!  So…I am observing a lot and (hopefully) helping a little.  :)  I am amazed at what they do accomplish with almost no supplies (they don’t even have a blackboard eraser for each classroom and have to share)!  The students are well-behaved and are learning English well.  They definitely know more English than I know Kinyarwanda!   But I am learning, too.  :)

On Wednesday I will meat with Jean, the director of Solace.  The guest house at Solace is the first place we stayed.  However, they are much more than a guest house.  It is a whole ministry focused on reconciliation.  Jean and I have been e-mailing, but we haven’t yet had a chance to meet.  He has some ideas of how I can help them while I am here as well.  I look forward to hopefully staying busy at the school in the morning and maybe at Solace in the afternoons…with some excursions to other places along the way.  I do hope to get back up to the secondary school in Butaka to do some teaching there as well.

OK – I think that is it for now.  Byron and the McBrides should all be back in the States now.  I pray they made it back safely, had a good trip, and are adjusting to the time change!  And I believe Rick, Shane, and Rick return from South Africa perhaps tomorrow!  Please pray for them as well!

Thanks for keeping us all in your prayers!

Blessings,

Jen


Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
21
2011
0

Saying “Good-bye” for now

Well, we have had an awesome week in Rwanda!  Sunday we went to the Ev Free Church in Remera.  Another great service in which we were warmly welcomed and there was great singing and dancing.  It was also wonderful to hear Esron preach.  After about a 3 hour service, Esron invited us to join him and the church leaders to his home for lunch

Monday we made the drive north to Butaka secondary school.  It was the same drive as we made on Saturday to the church in Kabali, BUT also some crazy rough, rocky roads.  Ask Shane and Rick about riding in the back of the 4Runner where the spare tire was supposed to sit!  You might still be able to see the lumps on their heads.

Even with one flat tire and all the bouncing around, it was worth it.  As we drove into the area, dozens and dozens of children yelled out “Muzungu” (white people) and ran after our cars.  We got to stop and meet the mayor.  And then we finally got to visit the school.

We went into a couple classrooms to greet some of the students.  The fist room we entered had over 90 students in it, sitting 4 to a seat!  They were so well behaved and excited to see us.  I was impressed to see hand drawn diagrams of internal human anatomy on the board in the second classroom – yeah, science!

Then we went out to the “multi-purpose room” – aka the yard – to greet and be welcomed by the whole school…all 430 some of them!  They sang, danced, and read poems for us.  We were able to give them some soccer balls,  many textbooks, etc.  The headmaster was very pleased.  They, too, blessed us with a meal before our trip back.

Today (Tues) we went to the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.  Incredible stories, pictures, artifacts…and even mass graves.  Horrific.  Lots of healing continues to take place to this day.  Byron flew home at 1:40.  Pray for his flight and transition back to work.  In the afternoon we went to a market so the McBrides could buy a few souvenirs before their flight out at 6:40.  They are headed to Kenya for a safari before returning home.

Rick H, Rick M, Shane, and I went back to Remera this afternoon to see the progress on the wall.  They started laying bricks today – looks great!  They have already had people stop and ask them about buying bricks…and the assistant mayor is coming to see the wall tomorrow!  Very cool!

Rick, Rick, and Shane take off tonight (actually 2 am) for South Africa.  So then I start the next phase of my time in Rwanda.  Please pray for safe travels for everyone and for clarity of details for me.

Thank you and blessings!

Jen

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
20
2011
0

Additional Rwanda Service Trip Pictures

Written by admin in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
19
2011
0

More Pictures from Rwanda!

Elizabeth and Student:

Walking

Children:

Child

Child

Green Shirt Child

Byron Berry and Hydraform Machine:

Byron

Rick and Hydraform Machine:

Hydraform Machine 750 Bricks a day!

Wall2

Meghan and Sweet Child:

Meghan and Child

Wall Construction

Working on Garden:

Garden 2

Elizabeth:

Sweet Children

Elizabeth and Children

School

Beautiful Children

Children

Wall

Bags of items given to EFC Rwana

McBride Girls and Children

Rick, Esron, Shane

Written by admin in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
19
2011
0

Elizabeth’s view of Rwanda

Amakuru?

Rwanda is incredibly beautiful, exciting, and positive. The hills are really pretty. They are covered with TONS of plants! Rwanda is exciting because there is always something going on. People are singing, dancing, driving, walking, gardening, working on Hydraform machines, talking, and most important; praising God. You can tell it is positive by just looking at their happy faces.

The week has been really fun! We have done so much! The guys worked on the Hydraform machine, the ladies helped Kezia and some of the other women from the community clean up trash, tarrace, and plant a garden.

Meghan and I have especially enjoyed playing with kids. They love balloons, soccer (football), hackey-sacks, beach balls, temporary tattoos, face paint, hugs, high-fives, chance (knuckles), shaking hands, and listejning to us try tospeak their language!

Kiwandan words we know;

Amacuru: how are you.

Ni Mesa: I’m fine

Murah kozee (roll the r): thank you

Chance: knuckles

Musasa: old man

How they say something’s in English;

goodbye: gootbyee

Elizabeth: Eelisabet

Jennifer: Jenneefah

Well anyway… Thank you for your prayers, they really help.

Murah kozee!

Elizabeth McBride

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
18
2011
0

A trip to the country

We took a road trip today to southern Rwanda to visit a rural church. The drive was long, but incredibly beautiful! The “land of a thousand hills” has been rightly named. We were amazed to see people ALL along our route…even when we were far from the city. The hills are terraced and planted with various plants and crops. Very little land was unused.

We were warmly welcomed when we arrived at the church and were quite humbled when we heard them sing praises to God with their whole hearts. Their joy was evident in their faces & voices, their drumming, their clapping and their dancing. I should mention that one-fourth of their roof was missing due to recent wind damage, the floor was cobblestone, and the walls cement. The hardship and circumstances did not rob them of their joy or their faith. They were very encouraged that people in America are praying for them. Please join us in doing so.

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
17
2011
0
Jun
17
2011
0

Rick’s thoughts…

Great to see the Hydraform machine working!  We made 800 bricks today. The Hydraform technician (Nathan) is a huge blessing for the church and us in learning to operate the machine.  Pastor Esron is doing well and excited about our visit & the machine. Visiting a church in Butare tomorrow- excited to see another Rwandan praise service!

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
16
2011
0

Day 2 in Africa

Thursday, June 16

We are ending our second full day in Rwanda.  The weather has been warm, but comfortable and today we all worked hard and will sleep well tonite!

All that you may imagine Africa Missions to be– natives living in huts, big bugs and strange food may be among them.  However, we are staying at Solace House, a comfortable and nice hotel in Kigali, hot water, decent beds have helped us recover from the long flights and 7-hour time change from our CDT time in MN.  Bugs aren’t really a factor–we certainly have more mosquitos in MN!  And the strange food…  We may GAIN weight if we keep eating so well!

One of the factors that motivated the McBride’s to go to Africa was the children.  We’ve seen many of them on their way to/from school and at the sight where we’re working.  They greet you with “good mornings” and “how are you?s” and love to be photographed and shake your hand.  They’re precious and beautiful and filled with joy.  We’re including some photos of them.

Exciting for our team is that the Hydraform machine is up and running and they’re cranking out more than 700 bricks per day, shooting for more than 1,000 per day very soon!  Also, the foundation for a major portion of the wall should be finished by Friday and ready to lay bricks on Monday!  For Rick & Shane, it’s a long range vision that is now a reality.  Further, Nathan from Hydraform is on hand and is able to clearly relay not only technical information, but an amazing potential for what the machine could mean to these people.  Watch for Rick & Shane’s comments on this, but we’re also including photos of the wall/foundation and the brick-making machine.

More later on our garden that we’re also helping to create, but we have some photos of our work on that project as well.

Please keep us in your prayers, as they have carried us well thus far.  We are trying to sleep during the CDT hours of 3 pm and midnight, and some are enjoying better sleep than others.  Please pray for sleep, despite the noisy dogs, cats, birds and roosters with no sense of dawn (they crow between 3-7 am)– that we may sleep through the wild symphony.

Thanks for your help sending us to help the people of Rwanda!

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |
Jun
15
2011
0

Greeting from Africa

Mwiriwe (good evening)
I am happy to say we made it safely with all 20+ pieces of luggage! It was a long plane ride I won’t lie but it was worth it and we have only been here one day. There are lots of kids and they are EXTREMELY cute! :-) Today we brought donations to the clinic. We saw the school, clinic, cyber cafe, church, & brick making machine in Remera. We found out these kids LOVE balloons!!! Tomorrow we are scheduled to make bricks, work in the garden, bring supplies to school & when the kids are done with school we will definitely play with the kids!! Thanks for the prayers and keep them coming please!! :-) Muramukeho (good night)
Meghan &Jen

Written by jenblevins in: Blog - 2011 Rwanda Service Trip |

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