September 2019 Newsletter

Time for Christmas giving

September has come and gone. The end of 2019 is in sight. The Urukundo Learning Center is preparing for graduation for kindergarten, Primary 6 and the Sewing Center as well as our Christmas party for the community kids. Exciting and busy time for us.

Are you putting Hope Made Real and Urukundo on your Christmas list? Hope so. Gifts sent in November help us to meet and greet community children on our special day for them. Last year, there were more than 500 children at the party. Help us make it a Hope Made Real.

Puzzle of the month

As many of you know, and especially those who have been at Urukundo know for sure, my passion and relaxation method is to work jigsaw puzzles. The harder and the larger, the better.

I found this one challenging and beautiful, so I thought I would share it with you.

2019-09-puzzle-1.jpg

Looks a lot like my life. It goes in a circle and has bright, beautiful colors to make my day. Hope your days are full of color and beauty also.

A lovely story to share

While sitting in a waiting room in a Kigali hospital with one of my children some years ago, a young woman sat down next to me. Of course, I spoke and she answered me in English. Wow, this was great. Her name was Christine and she was a fifth-year medical student. After visiting for some time, we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses, promising to keep in touch. This was the beginning of a long-time relationship.

She finished medical school, and I was invited to meet her family and to attend her beautiful wedding. Time passed, and we were a bit out of touch. She let me know when her daughter was born. Contact was lost, and I did not know about the second child.

This September, Dr. Christine brought her children to visit me after the long, quiet time. I was surprised and delighted to see her and her children.

2019-09-dr-christine-diescor-1.jpg

Wouldn’t you know this was the day I did not fix my hair or put on any makeup to enhance me a bit. Oh well, there is love and that is what counts.

When my young man Diescor was ready to go to medical school, we needed help. So I contacted Christine as she had walked this path before. Christine went to her father, and he was instrumental in getting Diescor admitted as a student at Gitwe Hospital. Again time passed.

Now Diescor is in his third year of medical school and is home for a short visit. Always happy to see him although his visits are short.

Dr. Christine and medical student Diescor

Dr. Christine and medical student Diescor

Dr. Christine and her two children made their surprise visit the same day Diescor came home. It was the first time Dr. Christine and Diescor had met. God incident to be sure. No other way to explain it. Diescor is seldom home. It was great listening to them compare notes and discuss experiences and in English.

Dr. Christine is now working at our local hospital. Hopefully we will see more of her and the children in the future.

Sight to see

An unbelievable vision! Visitors are in for a treat traveling through Kigali City. I was very surprised and impressed. It was not there the last time I was in the city.

2019-09-basket-building-1.jpg

A basket on top of this beautiful building! I am told at night the basket is illuminated and the flag of Rwanda is visible. I think I need to pay a night visit just to see this sight.

2019-09-basket-building-2.jpg

What do you think? Would it fit in your living room? Small ones are available. Lovely to see.

Reunion for best friends

The story:

Edison’s mother works at Urukundo, and Edison has grown up and gone to school with Urukundo kids. It was not a surprise that Edison missed Jacob, his best friend through daycare and preschool at Urukundo Learning Center.

Jacob was moved to a foster family over a year ago. One Sunday morning, Edison asked his mother, “Where is Jacob? I need to see Jacob.” His mom called Olive, our child advocate, telling her that Edison said, “‘If I can't see Jacob, then I will ask NCC to find me a foster family so I can live with Jacob.’” The NCC is the National Commission for Children.

This was a bit funny to adults as Edison has a mom, dad, brother and a great home. It was not funny to Edison. He was serious.

Tresor who just came home from Arizona State University and was very close to Jacob when they both lived at our home. He also wanted to see Jacob, so a surprise trip was arranged.

Benita, who also lived at Urukundo Home, had a history with Jacob. When Benita was 3 years old and had to go visit her grandmother far away, she was told she would come back but had to see her grandmother. She agreed to travel by bus to see her grandmother near the Burundi border. When she stepped out of the bus and saw her grandmother, she looked at her traveling companion and said, “OK, now let's go home. Jacob needs me.”

The impact Jacob had with so many has been felt. So Tresor, Edison and Benita went to spend the afternoon with Jacob. They had a wonderful time together.

Next visit, our maintenance worker Benjamin, who was Jacob's idol, will go to see Jacob. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, Jacob’s answer was always the same. “I want to be Benjamin.” No greater love.

Jacob in green and Edison in blue

Jacob in green and Edison in blue

Benita, Jacob and Edison, who were best friends at Urukundo Home, meet again after being separated for over a year.

Benita, Jacob and Edison, who were best friends at Urukundo Home, meet again after being separated for over a year.

Kids are kids. Photos are fun.

Kids are kids. Photos are fun.

Edison and Benita came home to tell me, “Jacob has a tooth problem and needs to come home to get it fixed.”

Tresor and Jacob

Tresor and Jacob

Joy at Rwanda wedding

I receive many wedding invitations, but because of distance, very rugged terrain and the time away from home, I attend very few. A monetary gift is always given after receiving the invitation.

Rwanda weddings have three ceremonies: the civil ceremony, the dowry giving and then the church wedding.

This dowry giving is the fun part. Oswald, who is my driver and board member, went with me as the interpreter. He is such a blessing to me.

The bride is the adopted daughter of my contractor Felix. She was orphaned as a child during the Genocide.

Felix in blue shirt

Felix in blue shirt

The dresses are eye-catching, The bride is lovely. She was presented by her brothers and papa Felix.

Bride and groom after both families have accepted this union.

Bride and groom after both families have accepted this union.

Bride’s attendants with gifts for the groom’s family.

Bride’s attendants with gifts for the groom’s family.

Groom’s female attendants with gifts for the bride's family.

Groom’s female attendants with gifts for the bride's family.

2019-09-bride-5.jpg

A band and singers were present. They played and sang African music. The gentleman, who is holding the guitar and lead singer, is blind. It is his band, and he has a great voice. I was impressed.

Best of all for me, storks kept watch over the ceremony.

I watched the storks.

I watched the storks.

They are beautiful birds in flight.

They are beautiful birds in flight.

Not so beautiful up close and personal.

2019-09-bride-8.jpg
2019-09-bride-9.jpg

I am assuming the tall guy is the male. Don’t know a lot about storks, but in the USA, tradition says these birds bring babies. Not in any stretch of the imagination.

It was awesome for me to meet again, at the wedding, after many years, Imbaraga, his wife and children. His wedding was one of the first I attended many years ago. Now his children are students at Urukundo Learning Center.

2019-09-bride-10.jpg
2019-09-bride-11.jpg