Rwanda Update #1

Update 1 from Rwanda, February 4 2015

Hello Friends of TATENDA Travelers!

We have made it safely to Kigali, Rwanda after long days of travel. Our only complication was finding each other in Amsterdam. Mobs of people and no information about the gates of each other, planes arriving in different terminals. Sarah spotted Nicki first. Thank heavens.

We were picked up in Kigali by two Jesuits and brought to the Foyer de Charite, which is just beautiful.  Lots of green and simple buildings. 

At breakfast the next morning coffee and tea were served….with fresh milk… directly from the cow. Not pasteurized. Fortunately, it was scalded… so we could use it. The cows are right on the property which is situated on a hill, overlooking a broad green valley inhabited by many peasant farmers, who make up 97% of Rwandan population.        

While we walked yesterday we met many of their children but did not have our cameras. We tried French on them…. Blank faces. No KiRwandan in our lexicon yet. So we wait on communicating with them as we play Pied Paper.

Retreat One started almost immediately. Some of those attending are poor students, priests, and unemployed youth. We speak v-e-r-y   s-l-o-w-l-y and simply in English and Nicki tries a little French, but there is still confusion. Some who speak better English help the others. We are starting to laugh more! The number in attendance changes daily; another challenge.

It has been 20 years since the genocide, which they refer to as “The War.“ The wounds are deep and all of them lost family members, even if many of these were but youngsters.  That impacts their trust of people and God. But we see hope, yearning, and in the retreat we see movement. Like our friend, Grace, who speaks very little English. Still she wanted time for individual spiritual direction.

The only internet we have is on the commuter of Fr. Nkusi to which we have limited access nor will it download photos from Nickis camera. We just realized this so you will be seeing her in the next update. Our updates will be less frequent than usual.

Bye for now, Nicki and Sarah