Kits, Kings, and Kids

By Mary Bradley

By Mary Bradley

Hello Family and Friends!

Today is the third full day of our stay here in beautiful Rwanda.  The weather has been lovely and is quite similar to the weather in Minnesota, minus the rain.  It is the dry season here, so water is highly valued and not to be squandered.  We have already had some riotous experiences listening to the younger girls conserving water by assisting each other in pairs with washing each other’s hair during shower time, as it was suggested we do.  It is a new experience for several, showering in very small spaces with sometimes no running water, but it can be done!  We should have audio taped it.

Yesterday, our team split up into two groups.  As you may have heard by now, or soon will, one group visited a farming cooperative to learn about how it works and to participate in it. They had a blast, but I will leave that explanation to people who were actually there.  On my last trip we all got to visit the farm and practice our best hoeing.  This trip I got to participate in a seminar for young girls and/or girls at risk about growing into womanhood, how their bodies work, personal hygiene, sex, as a gift from God, how to avoid dangerous situations and defend themselves in dangerous situations.  If you ever get a chance to view the video, you will marvel at some of the demonstrations.  They were very realistic.  I learned some sweet defensive moves.

We are using a curriculum with visuals, teaching aids, handouts and sweet kits that had been put together by volunteers back home.  Many girls in this country and throughout Africa have to drop out of school once they start menstruating.  Along with that, there is no real sex education offered in Rwanda, so girls often know very little about what is happening to their bodies during puberty or the facts about sex, in general.  Karen and Kim did an amazing job with their presentation.  The students were very appreciative of the knowledge they gained, as were the adults that were there as the girls’ teachers.  Each person in attendance received a pretty, handmade cloth drawstring bag filled with hygiene products and reusable supplies, allowing them the freedom to continue their schooling.  That is freedom, indeed!  Tomorrow, we’ll be traveling to a different town to teach the same class to another group of girls.  What a privilege to liberate young girls to pursue an education!

After our morning of ministry, we got to visit The King’s Palace nearby.  This is the palace and residence of the last King of Rwanda.  The King’s residence is a giant fabulous hut in which many people stayed at the pleasure of the King.  We also met the king’s special cows, who are of a certain species that sport spectacular horns which never stop growing.  Their shepherds sang and whistled to them and to us for entertainment, just as they would have for the King.  This king lived until 1959

So, we have quite a wide range of ages represented on this team of all women which is making it really fun.  We older ones are paired up in our rooms with two younger ones either still in high school or new graduates.  It has helped us all to mix it up and get to know one another.  The realities and adventures of our trip have brought us all closer together.  I cannot go into much detail here, but ALL things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.  Most all of our challenges and blessings have been met with great humor, laughter, and joy.  After one event today that complicated our lives a bit, a song was written about it to the tune of “Jolene” by the time we got back to our home.