Celebrations

June 2019 Newsletter

Return from USA

The 10 weeks in the USA sharing the love and the story of Urukundo Foundation -- its beginning, development and future goals -- was so exciting and so full of love. I thank all who shared their time with me.

Arriving at the Kigali International Airport on Saturday, June 1, I found Divine and Deborah, who are two of my university students, waiting to welcome me. They had been at the airport since 4:20 p.m., the original time of arrival. Along with hugs and kisses, they presented me with this beautiful bouquet.

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I arrived home at Urukundo Village at about 8:30 p.m. It was very late and dark after a long journey and a seven-hour layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My plan was to arrive home during the daylight hours, but that did not happen.

The children waited for me. The greeting was all hugs and kisses and flowers from Urukundo’s garden.

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Flowers are always a delight. I loved both arrangements.

Then it was off to bed for the children and a very tired mama.

The next day

The welcome home photos had to wait until Sunday morning.

The hugs were still special.

The hugs were still special.

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I was introduced to Auntie Betty’s new baby. His name is Alyn. Sorry my hair was still wet from morning shower.

We are a small group now at home but mighty. Missing our brothers and sisters.

We are a small group now at home but mighty. Missing our brothers and sisters.

Kids and home staff came a few minutes before worship to say good morning. It was indeed a joy to be home.

Kids and home staff came a few minutes before worship to say good morning. It was indeed a joy to be home.

On the way to worship, I passed this lovely message in the children’s rock garden.

On the way to worship, I passed this lovely message in the children’s rock garden.

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At worship, I saw the new paraments. The Sewing Center reconditioned them. They were a gift from Pastor Sunny Stock and her faith family at Christ Church McKeansburg in Pennsylvania, USA.

May 2019 Newsletter

Successful fundraiser

Here it is the end of May. What an exciting month it has been!

Now on my mind is going home to Urukundo.

Of course, the last week in April has to be in the May newsletter. That last week in April saw the “Bridging Pittsburgh to Rwanda” fund-raising event.

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Here are members of the bridge team plus two Urukundo siblings, Tresor and Solange, and myself. Awesome group. The three of us told the crowd about Urukundo.

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The celebration included a get-acquainted event.

Jewelry and crafts from Urukundo Village were for sale.

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The event was well organized and went very well. Everyone had a good time, and funds were raised for the Urukundo Foundation/Hope Made Real.

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Funds were raised, but it wasn’t enough to finish building much needed classrooms for the elementary school. However, it was more than enough to pay for a much needed, handheld portable X-ray machine for the Dental Clinic.

MaxRay handheld portable X-ray

Included with the machine are the charger, battery, strap/holster, premium sensor and software.

This is very good news.

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Urukundo Dental Clinic wishes to thank Vector R&D Inc., Dr. Richard Reckmeyer and the many others who made this acquisition possible.

Tresor’s graduation

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Arriving at the campus, my eyes could not believe this mountain making way for the Wells Fargo Arena where the graduation for Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, was to take place. We have mountains and hills in Rwanda, but this one in the middle of the campus took my breath away.

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Touring the campus with Tresor, this sign caught my attention. I am so proud of Tresor and his academic achievement at Arizona State University. This young man in our Urukundo family did not start his education until he was 12 years old. He is truly an example of what one can do with determination, dedication and a will to succeed.

Congratulations, brother!

Your brothers and sisters at Urukundo Home for Children.

Congratulations, my son.

Your Mom

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Tresor honors the flag of his country, Rwanda.

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Dr. Dick Rickmeyer and his wife Jan have been Tresor’s off-campus parents for the last four years. Urukundo/Hope Made Real is so appreciative of their love and family support. Knowing Tresor was in good hands while away from home made it easier for me to let go.

Balloons marked the end of the celebration.

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The grand hall where thousands came to witness the ceremony. It was indeed a celebration.

Yep, we were at the right graduation. T-shirts worn by the ushers and guards say so. With so many graduates, it was hard to get a photo of your special grad. It was just such an honor for me to see my son Tresor honored with his peers.

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The time comes for me to return to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Parting from Tresor is hard, but he has much to do -- three more graduation events and preparing to move to California to serve a three-month internship in software development with Esri in Redlands, California. Tresor’s degree is in software engineering

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Jan is chief cook and bottle washer. Jan is wearing her new apron made by the Urukundo Sewing Center.

Special event for Urukundo

Auntie Delphine’s wedding was indeed a special event. So sorry I missed it. Delphine was the first Urukundo employee in 2006.

A bridal shower was given by her coworkers at Urukundo Village.

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After a surprise, you shed tears. Tradition, I think.

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The wedding was followed by dancing and singing.

Then food.

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The food was served by the Urukundo kitchen staff. Looks good.

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The wedding attendants and Diescor. Not quite sure how he got in the bride’s photo. Delphine is rather special to our kids, and Diescor has been under her wing since 2007.

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Not the best photo, but our kids and staff presented the bride and groom with a gift. Jean Marie is handing the large pease basket filled with I-am-not-sure-what. It is never empty to Auntie Delphine in the photo.

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Beautiful bride and wedding attendants.

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Best wishes for a long and happy marriage.

Thanks to friends and family

I will miss so many when I return to Rwanda.

Rick and Jan Reckmeyer in Arizona

Rick and Jan Reckmeyer in Arizona

My daughter-in-law Janet, who took such good care of me and my erratic schedule.

My daughter-in-law Janet, who took such good care of me and my erratic schedule.

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My son Jerry’s family who traveled from Williamsport to Pittsburgh to be present at the special fund-raising event in April.

My dear friend, John Guiswite. John and his late wife Sally physically helped to build the boys’ home in the village. John taught me about plumb lines in construction.

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John and Sally’s son, Mike Guiswite, and Mike’s wife who arranged for me to visit John during my brief visit to Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

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There are so many others who made my stay in the USA wonderful. Too many to mention, but I love them all and will miss them. Many thanks to all.

See you all again in two years when I come home to celebrate my 90th year on planet Earth.

Rwanda, here I come!

Mama

April 2019 Newsletter

Visit to the USA

What a wonderful welcome I have received!

First off, I was treated to a pedicure, manicure and a new hairdo. A gift from my daughter, Patricia, and her husband, Dale Bauman.

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What do you think? A bit different. Should it stay?

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I saw many special people in my first month and a half in the USA. Here are some of them in some kind of order by location.

Early in my travels, I was hosted by the Waverly Presbyterian Church mission team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Early in my travels, I was hosted by the Waverly Presbyterian Church mission team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

What a wonderful evening I spent bringing them up to date on Urukundo and the Urukundo kids!

In State College, Pennsylvania, I saw Carol Falke, president of the Hope Made Real International Board.

Carol and Mama and the ice cream challenge. How awesome, and mine is vanilla, my favorite.

Carol and Mama and the ice cream challenge. How awesome, and mine is vanilla, my favorite.

The creamery at the Penn State University campus has the best ice cream ever. What a treat after Carol and her husband Steve gave me a personal tour of the campus! My first time ever.

More friends for Urukundo kids were at an open house at Carol’s home.

Joan Zimmer and Janet Madore in State College

Joan Zimmer and Janet Madore in State College

Jerry Brown of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Jerry Brown of South Williamsport, Pennsylvania

My son Jerry. He was such a reliable source of transport and lodging during my time in the Williamsport area. Jerry also serves Urukundo as the chair of Hope Made Real International Board.

Jeanne Willis of Hughesville, Pennsylvania

Jeanne Willis of Hughesville, Pennsylvania

My children in Rwanda remember Jeanne Willis. Jeanne has been a volunteer at Urukundo Village and is loved by the children.

Sherry Sechrist of Quiggleville, Pennsylvania

Sherry Sechrist of Quiggleville, Pennsylvania

My youngest sister. It was so good to touch base and spend a little time with her.

Darrel Bietz of West Chester, Pennsylvania

Darrel Bietz of West Chester, Pennsylvania

My nephew, Darrel Bietz. It was a pleasant surprise to see and spend a short time with him.

More of my family, this time in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Great-granddaughter Haleigh Moore, daughter Barbara Downs and great-grandson Nate Moore.

Great-granddaughter Haleigh Moore, daughter Barbara Downs and great-grandson Nate Moore.

I then traveled to the Philadelphia area where I was hosted and toasted by Diane Mastrull, reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a good friend to Urukundo.

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This is Pierce Keating. He has promised to visit Urukundo in the future. Holding you to that promise, my friend.

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Katie Keating, who is Pierce’s wife, is the mom in this great family. Really Katie is a powerhouse full of love and compassion. Katie and her daughter Katrina have been volunteers at Urukundo.

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What an awesome couple and lovely family!