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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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Tuesday
Apr052011

A Perfect Sunday Afternoon

Share my afternoon with me.  The little girls Annah, Aline, Aline Molly and Netete had scheduled a tea party with me as soon as worship was over. I agreed and set 4 o'clock for the tea party. Sounds very uncomplicated. Right?! Wrong!

At exactly four o'clock Emmy had a meeting in my front room with the surveyors who are helping estimate the costs of our water project - now this is a very important meeting. Then the little girls also arrived on time - they are learning American time. That means being on time with the clock. African time says if you are an hour late that is still on time. This doesn't work for me and the kids know I mean American time.
So the girls gathered on my back porch, marched into my bedroom where I sat on the bed listening to my audio book and announced "Tea Party"

"Ok" I said, "but we have to wait till Emmy finishes his meeting". They agreed and went out the back door  just as a severe rain storm hit. The rain was frightening. With squeals of fright they came tearing back into my bed room and up on the bed. I felt like Maria in The Sound Of Music as the kids bundled under my covers holding on to me and each other and such giggling and laughing and jostling for position you can only imagine. There was even some singing. This went on for about an hour and much to my surprise things slowly got very quiet. You guessed. Four little girl were fast asleep.

It's 5:30pm and the meeting is still going on. My girls are still sleeping and I am listening to the rain on the tin roof and enjoying my book while I watch my sleeping beauties, Life can't get much better.

Thursday
Feb242011

Vision of Daycare/Preschool

Life inside a walled compound with very little playing space was very difficult for the 7 little boys and 6 of John's children God had brought to Urukundo and placed in our care. Little boys are built close to the ground and are always scraping their knees and elbows. Boys like to play football (soccer) and basketball and run and hide and play marbles. These games put them even closer to the ground. This would be doable except that inside that same compound lived 40 chickens - two big, mean roosters and 38 hens. Chickens are good for eggs and meat but not for playing on the same grounds as little boys. Playing in chicken poop is smelly and falling in it is totally disgusting.

A decision had to be made. Do we keep the chickens or the boys? Now that really was not a hard decision to make as I would rather clean up after little boys than chickens I intend to eat some day.  No contest. The boys got the vote. Thinking it over we came to the conclusion that we also needed the chickens. There was a lot of talk and a lot of prayer. What to do? We tried putting up a fence. It kept the boys away from the chicken's side but did not stop the chickens from invading the boys' side of the fence. Well, that did not work.

Now the boys added a dog to the mix. They named him Box. Strange name for a dog if you are an American but if you do not have a translation for Box it does have a nice ring. The compound became more crowded every day.

Life moves on; Urukundo starts a search to get the pesky, mean roosters and hens away from our boys.

It had to be possible to buy a piece of land big enough to move the chickens away from the boys - I was sure of that. Along with that vision came the idea we could get land enough to have a play area for the kids getting them out of the tiny compound in the town. Overcoming one obstacle presents another. Money of course was the issue. We didnʼt have any extra having just taken on the boys and John's family. We did not have sponsors helping care for our kids yet. God in charge became even more important. Stepping out in faith and ignorance we looked for land near to Gitarama town but outside the village. It was brought to our attention that the Church owned land to build a church but had since acquired other land more suitable for their building plan. This piece of land was for sale and at a price we could afford; it sat in the middle of a beautiful mountain. Negotiations started, an agreement was reached and the community leaders and owners of the surrounding land came together. On that one day we bought 5 pieces of land. Praise an awesome God.

I was later to discover that it usually takes weeks to buy land and complete the transactions in Rwanda but in that one day a miracle happened. The land was available, all signers were present, the sector was open and copies were made and delivered to each place necessary, taxes paid and the money to pay for for the land appeared.

During the signing of the papers giving us ownership of our first five pieces of land in Cyeza Sector we mentioned that we hoped one day to build a Daycare and a Preschool for the community. We wanted to be part of the community not separate from it. Those words reached the ears of an interested mother. After the papers were signed that mother who happened to be the cell leader came to me asking, ”Can I bring my little girl to your daycare?” I couldnʼt help but smile. Still just part of the vision it would be some time in the future. I was impressed in her complete faith in my word. It was gratifying but also much to soon. Daycare was an important part of the vision. I explained this to her and hoped she understood.

How quickly reality set in. Just two weeks after this conversation Urukundo was called on by this same mother to take her little girl to the hospital. She had been physically abused and raped by her care giver. The little girl was 2 years old. How could this happen to such a beautiful child? Now there is the fear of HIV - no child, boy or girl, should be so used and abused. In my heart I knew the daycare had to become a reality. Babies need a safe place while their mother or father work to get bread.

How often does this happen and no one is aware? I wonder. The hope for a safe place for babies was born in my heart in 2007 and I still struggle with this part of the vision.

Making this Hope Real is now the project I am asking help for in this year 2011. Another piece of land has been found, paid for and is waiting for work to start. The day care must become a reality. Help is needed. Prayers are necessary.

Thursday
Feb242011

To Fax or Not To Fax

It is a simple thing to Fax.

Right?? Wrong! Not if you live in Urukundo Village, Rwanda, Africa.

This experience convinced me that when our Cyber Cafe is up and running it needs a Fax machine.
I had talked to Bethany from Janny, Montgomery Scott Financial advisors in America who needed my signature on a document for my little account back in the US.  I informed her by email that if she needed my signature she must to get the form to me because the next day being Saturday, the banks in Rwanda closed after half a day.  Everything is closed on Sunday then Monday would be a holiday of a sort because the election for Mayor would be taking place. Nothing would happen until Tuesday and that was too much of a delay. There would be no way to get the fax sent to meet the schedule I needed to honor.

To compound the problem, when she is working, I am asleep and our working days do not readily overlap. But bless her, she emailed the form out at once (in the middle of her day while Rwanda is settling for sleep). So the next morning while Bethany slept, I could get the fax sent and she would have it to fit her deadline.
I woke early called my driver for 9:30 and printed the form, signed it put the official stamp on it and was ready.

My bank had a Fax Machine and they had told me some time ago it would be free to me because I am a good customer.  There would be no problem.

Arriving at the bank Bernard greeted me at the door. I shared with him my reason for being there. "Yes there is a Fax Machine!" But the next words I did not like - "I do not know how to work the machine and Innocent is the only one who does and he is not here today."  

"Ok", I thought. I walked across the street to an Internet Cafe and no, they did not Fax. "Try the Poste" the owner suggested.   We went straight to the Poste to find their machine broken. Then we went to another bank and - yes - they did have a fax, but could not fax out of the country! We stopped at two more places with no success. The last hope was Kabgayi Hospital Communication Center. This time I sat in the car and sent Oswald to get the rejection. He came back with a thumbs up.  Great. The young man in charge took us to the machine and punched at the buttons. A message came up in French - Attendez - 'Wait'. Patience is not my strong suit. The machine could not connect to the network. It tried and we sat for over an hour watching a machine that had no intentions of doing what I needed done. Finally the machine ejected a message. In essence and in French, it said "Get lost, I am not available."

I am desperate. I had to get the form to Beth. "What can I do?!" - I must have looked how I felt. The boy said "I can scan it for you if you have a flash drive." I didn't have one and said so. "OK," he said, "I can scan it and send it from my email." "Would you really do that?" I asked. He took the paper, scanned it and sat down at his computer. Again no network.  We waited another half hour.  Finally the network accepted the scan and it was sent. I now am praying that it reached its destination.

To Fax or not to not to Fax : In Rwanda, that is definitely not a question. It is a dilemma!