Rwanda spilled its greeting on us when we arrived at dusk in Kigale. We watched the vibrant shades of green turn to undulating shadows. The sun bowed below one of the many hills with its checkerboard of houses, corn fields and thickets of papaya/avocado/banana groves. Kigali had a rapacious beauty, a touch of wildness on the roads.
I am traveling this year with Jonathan—my beloved helpmeet, my conspirator (laughing at our many mishaps), and my traveling in the ministry companion. Eden Grace, working from Richmond Indiana calls this ministry of ours, those who visit as ‘living letters’ (2 Cor. 3:2) bearing testimony of truth and divine news of G-d at work.
Rwanda, about the size of New Jersey, is developing fast. President Kagame just won a referendum to change the constitution so he can run for a third term. Few Rwandans dared to speak publicly against this. The economy is strong, yet the infrastructure hasn’t caught up. A leader of Rwanda Yearly Meeting guided us in the church vehicle down rutted roads, the mud streaked a vermillion orange. In one week we’ve had power outages 3 evenings. Rwanda has many NGOs and universities but the Internet connection is spotty. Six years ago the government changed from a francophone country to anglophone. The transition is still hard, many teachers and businesses making a major switch without much training.
Ministry here seems quite intriguing. Jonathan is offering website expertise and I have jumped into their numerous peace projects. We work side-by-side with Rwandans, making sure that they are driving and directing. Jonathan finished a two day training for 12 Friends teaching website design and development to Rwandan Friends. All the participants were under 35 years old. Jonathan comes home at 5:30pm from the Friends Peace Garden energized and exhausted—with a sense of ‘rightness’ about his work. This group begins and ends with prayer, knowing this technical work is for “God’s kingdom on earth.”
I am scratching the field of peace activities: the ground is fertile. This week I have worked with three projects: the Children’s Peace libraries, Help Increase the Peace HIPP Rwanda 2016 proposal, and Alternatives to Violence (AVP). The photos of children show the Kigali Peace library. To understand more about this 12 year old project see https://tlcrwanda.org/libraries/ Yesterday I brought a box of books from Cambridge to the library and read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss to about 8 kids. David Bucura joined me and asked the oldest kid to help enroll other neighborhood kids in a peer mediation training to be given next week. Cambridge Friends have given 3 boxes of books to accompany our trip this year.
HIPP Rwanda is launching a hefty campaign to train 14-24 year olds in peace building. AVP is ongoing here in churches and prisons. On January 20, 21, and 22 I will be part of a team offering AVP to 20 people in Bugesera District, between Kigale and the Burundi border. Please pray for us. I fear that others will misunderstand. let’s hope I can rustle up a good interpreter since the training will be conducted in Kinyarwanda, of which I speak about 20 words.—Murakoze (Thank you).