June 2015 Newsletter: Reflections of trip to USA and back Home to Rwanda

June has been a mixed bag for me. Coming home to the children, staff and friends in Rwanda was wonderful but leaving family and friends in the US made me very sad.

After hulling suitcases all over from Pittsburgh to State College to Williamsport to Skylkill Haven and then to Reston, VA the amount of suitcases had reached 9 and all very big. Finally a pick-up truck was needed to get myself, Ana, and the luggage to the airport. Fortunately, Mary Jackson and Kathy Kelly knew someone who had such a truck.

News Worth Reading

If you have not taken the time to read the wonderful and enlightening article in the Philadelphia Inquires about Urukundo, its kids and me please take some time and read it.

It is in the business section of Philly.com in the May 10, 2015 issue. Diane Mastrull wrote the article.

Diane is the one a bit, shorter and a lot younger than me.

Arrival Home

Arriving at home in Rwanda I was so happy to see the kids that I forgot to use the camera.  So I will give you the picture in words.  The welcome home was spectacular.  The happy smiling faces warmed my heart.  Jacob our 2 year old was the official greeter. He had the biggest smile as he handed me a beautiful RUBY RED FLOWER tied with a ribbon.  Stretched across my door entrance was a ribbon. It was my duty to cut the ribbon so I could officially enter and be home at last. Aline handed me a plate with a decorated pair of scissors on it. When I cut the ribbon every one cheered.  On my bedroom door there was a sign.

The children and staff gave me a bit of time to get my feet firmly planted in Urukundo.  After school dismissed at 4:30, all Urukundo kids, staff, and teachers gathered at Hope House where we shared Fanta (coke, sprite, orange and lemon soda) and cookies.  The teachers and staff blew up the balloons that the kids had been wishing for.   The kids excitement grew as balloons were popping everywhere.

Every time a balloon exploded there was a great cheer and much laughter. It was fun and a good time was had by all, especially me. By the time the celebration was over I was dragging a bit, but I was home safe and a little bit sound.

Bear with Me

I want to share with you some of the most important events of my trip to the USA.

  1. Great Grand blessings

    The most important for me was meeting the new great grandbabies born after my return to Urukundo 2 yrs. ago.  This first meeting was a real joy.

    This little bundle of happiness is Lucy. She is only 3 weeks old. What a pleasure it was to see and cuddle her.

    Such Joy!

    This happy smiling little girl is Hanna Arlene my namesake.  She is so beautiful.

    Mason is all boy and as handsome as can be. Look out world he is going to make a difference.

  2. Memory Lane

    It has long been my wish to visit Commodore the coal-mining town where I grew up. I did not think it was possible. I sometimes forget with God all things are possible. Thanks to Mark Phoebus and an invitation to speak at Calvery Presbyterian Church in Indiana, PA. Another HOPE WAS MADE REAL. Thank you Mark. Ok, I could not possible be that big. It had to be the dress.

    This is all that is left of the school I loved so much.

    The front steps, the wall and a field. This was a bit sad. Those steps were much higher when I was little.

    The house I grew up in has changed. The porch has been added. Wish my mom could see this. The town has changed with the years. It has gotten older as have I. Time does make a difference.

    The street I lived on. The hill was much higher then. Or so it seemed to me.

  3. USA Family and Urukundo Family in America


  4. Friends a Few

The sad part of my newsletter

It is with a heavy heart that I share this sad news. I was blessed to have spent a day in April with Sally and John Guiswite and planned to spend 3 days with Sally before coming home in June. Sally has been to Urukundo two times and John once. She was my very dear friend. Sally talked to me about coming to Urukundo in 2016 and bringing her granddaughter with her. She like me and so many expect time to continue. It would have been a very welcome visit. We do make plans that do not always work out. Sally’s soul was required of her suddenly and she left this earth on another journey. Sally was a leader in her church and loved by everyone who knew her. I will miss my friend Sally as will so many others.

News from the Farm

The Farm Manager needed an office and a place where he would have better control of produce from the farm. Instead of building we renovated an existing building. Making better use of what we have has long been the policy of Urukundo.  We are pleased with the results.

Closing open spaces, putting in windows, replacing the roof has made a difference.

Ready for occupancy. 

Vistors For June

Diane Titmus from Canada spent a few days at Urukundo. Ana Loera who traveled with me from the USA hails from Texas. Ana spent a month working with the Primary teachers.  Sorry for the grumpy look. The sun was in my eyes.

It's Dave Howell at Urukundo for his 3rd time with his granddaughter- in-law Danielle.


In closing, I leave you with this thought:

The vulnerable children of Rwanda and the world.


Opportunity is what they need. Your love. Their lives, Our world, You can make a difference.

Your most appreciated gift can be sent to the address below or use the Donate button at the upper right-hand corner of the screen:

Hope Made Real
PO Box 3222
Williamsport,PA. 17701


Mama Arlene
Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real

Help make their world a better place.