Wow. Yesterday we learned about Rwandan history, specifically the Genocide of 1994 that was such a dark period for the Rwandese people. Today, we saw the future of Rwanda- kids. Spent time visiting with kids, staff and families at a Compassion project site in rural Kigali. We also visited the Compassion country office for Rwanda in Kigali, getting to sing, worship, fellowship and meet the 61 Compassion staff who work in Rwanda. It's hard to put into words the change of emotion from yesterday to today. Today was filled with hope, excitement for the future, lots of smiles, children dancing, lots of hugs and really getting to see how Compassion is making a difference in the lives of kids in Rwanda. There are currently over 48,000 kids who are being sponsored through Compassion in Rwanda. We met around 100 of them at a project site just outside of Kigali. The great strategic part about the project is that it is truly a partnership between Compassion and a local Anglican Church and school. This is the essential component to a Compassion project location- there has to be a local church in the area to partner with.
Working with a local church ensures community involvement, leadership, and a strong connection to spiritual development. And once you meet the kids who are part of the Compassion projects, you see the power of holistic development for these kids. Compassion is about releasing kids from poverty, but also very strategic in developing the child to be a confident and mature adult.
Muraho- this is Kinyarwanda for HELLO. Said this alot today to tons of kids. They say Muraho and then wave their hand side to side.
And even with a language barrier, a smile says so much. Meet a kid with a smile and they immediately engage you. Same with all the Rwandese people I am meeting. As Jeff Shinabarger posted today, Rwanda is the land of a thousand hills, but also the land of a thousand smiles. Smiles are everywhere. A sign of hope.
You can check out the full range of photos from the trip so far on my flicker site.