By Abby Smith and Kady Mill
Muraho! Abby & Kady here – We made it to Rwanda!
After pretty painless travel, complete with swollen ankles, Celina’s 16 hour nap, and stroopwaffels we finally joined Maria, Karen, Jessi, and the FVA team in Kigali. Once at the guest house, we were completely blown away by (the guest house’s cook) Kytesi’s delicious cooking. She really goes all out. Our personal favorite dish, thus far, is her scrumptious rice.
First morning we went to the Genocide Memorial. This was a very heartbreaking experience as our eyes were opened to the deep sorrows and pain of Rwanda’s recent history. This especially touched the two of us as we realized that most people over the age of 25 who we saw on the streets bears the incomprehensible pain of this monstrosity. Visiting this memorial on the first day really put the weight of our potential impact into perspective. Rwanda is still a broken country, and only by the grace and love of God can it be made whole again.
Thereafter, we visited FVA for the first time. This was especially impactful for me, Abby, because my whole life I have heard so many stories of the land. Stories starting with breaking the first ground, to laying the final bricks. It was absolutely breathtaking to see the (nearly) finished product and to see that God truly does see his good work to completion. We were able to pray over the land, buildings, staff, and women FVA serves for prosperity, fruitfulness, and God’s favor.
We rounded out day 1 with another one of Kytesi’s yummy meals. With full tummies, we all slept peacefully to prepare for our next day.
Once the roosters (more commonly known as Abby & Kady) crowed “MWARAMUTSE” at 5 am we embarked upon our journey to Nyanza where we met a rural community south of Kigali. We split into two groups for this day; one group led a women’s health group and the other visited an agricultural cooperative. The two of us were part of the group who visited a cooperative farming group in the valley of the mountains. The drive to Nyanza was absolutely breathtaking. Looking out the window all you could see was rolling mountains and crops that looked like a quilt laid across the valley. On the way to the cooperative we saw many “Inka” (cows), “ihene” (goats), and “abana” (children). Clearly, during this 3 hour drive, we learned a lot! After a thrilling off-roading experience to the cooperative, we met with the most beautiful group of women who work in the fields. They greeted us with a lovely song and dance. We had the opportunity to share some encouragement with these women, hear some of their testimonies, and pray with and for them. This was an amazing experience for us all and we are so thankful that we got to meet and be in community with these women. As a parting gift they gave us “ishu” (cabbage), which we were all very fond of. We can’t wait to eat it tomorrow!
On our way home, we visited the King’s Palace Museum. We then started our 3 hour journey back to the guest house – but don’t ask either of us about the drive because we slept in the back of the truck the whole way home. We even slept through getting pulled over! But don’t worry, we all made it back safe & sound.
After just 2 days in Rwanda it is clear to see that God is working through us, as well as our entire team. This being both of our first times here, we are constantly learning new things about the culture, the people, and God’s faithfulness to FVA and this country. We cannot wait to see what the remaining days have in store for us and our team!
P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LURKY THE TURKEY!!!!
–Kady & Abby