Arlene in Rwanda June Newsletter

I would first like to share with you an article that was recently published in Rwanda’s first daily publication The New Times.


by Danila Sabuti, May 10, 2007
Muhanga-Orphans in Kavumu Cell, Muhanga District can see a brighter future after one year of living in care of 76-year old American citizen Arlene Brown.
The children have been living under the care of Urukundo Home For Children (UHFC), which was founded last year in Kavumu cell, by Ms Brown. The celebration of the one year was held 6 May at the Woman’s Centre for Development and attracted various local leaders, and residents. According to Arlene, the dream of helping Rwandan children started ten years ago when she came to the country in 1996. “After my experience in Rwanda ten years ago, it was my dream to come back here and help whatever children God put in my care and now finally my dream has come true.”

After one year, I feel so proud of Rwandan children, and this is not just for today. I look forward to celebrating many more years and helping many more children. My plan is to see that each child under my care, completes their education and goes on to make a living.” David Dushimimana the executive secretary of Nyamabuye, urged residents to be cooperative and contribute to this mission helping Rwandan children.
“It is very important,” he said, to appreciate the efforts of Arlene Brown and this challenges us to help our own children. Personally I find this a challenge to me and all Muhanga residents. We should learn from donor activities.

Celebration Marking One Year
(See Picture #1)Bilese, Divine and Yours Truly were honored when the Mayor and approximately 500 others came to share in Urukundo’s first birthday complete with cake and a candle.


The following will answer a few questions which arose after the publication of last months newsletter: The house that we live in (and one’s like ours) were all built for white people (Musungu’s). They were to be rented to white people who have the finances. Rent is usually pretty cheap with the exception of Kigali City, the business center of Rwanda.
These houses are all mud brick. Some have a cement top-covering. The brick and stone façade makes the front look appealing. The inside walls are a mix of sand and some cement, as are the floors. These are covered in red paint to slow the disintegration process. Most were built or reconstructed after the Genocide by Non- Government Organizations (NGO’s) that had the money. Most reliable structures were destroyed during the genocide. Rwanda is in the process of trying to recover, but it is a long road. Even houses rented to whites are now poorly constructed.
The three structures we rent are owned by the Rwandese Citizens and can be bought for about $30,000 U.S. Dollars. The girl’s home was built by our landlord, a builder before the genocide, and is fairly well constructed. The inside tells the story. Electricity consists of a bulb hanging from the ceiling. The wiring is on the outside portion of the walls, clearly visible, and there is no running water. There is no indoor plumbing and cooking (when there is food to cook) is usually done outside on a charcoal pot. The doors and window frames generally do not fit, and rarely keep out the dust and rain. You mop up water after every rainstorm and clean dust after a dust storm.
But, compare our home of “luxury” with those of the usual Rwandese house. They do not have windows, just openings to let in the light and wood on hinges to keep out some of the rain. The door is an opening with a piece of cloth hanging in it for privacy. Their homes are generally mud with no protection from the elements. Earlier this month Jean Paul's future mother-in-law died after her mud-brick house collapsed in on her. The wind and the rain battered it until it could not remain standing. This happens too often in Rwanda.

A small village viewed from the guesthouse
I sent the pictures so that the Christians in America will see that we are providing our children with better living conditions than the average citizen.