Out to Lake Muhazi

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Jun 22, 2009

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Flag of Rwanda  , Kigali,
Saturday, June 20, 2009

We left the hotel this morning promptly at 8:30, but had to go back once when we realized we'd forgotten a tripod. James a young adult who teaches geography in a Kigali school and speaks English pretty well in addition to French rode with us out to Lake Muhazi. The drive takes about an hour, the last quarter of which is on a dirt road covered in very fine dust. We arrived at about 9:45 for the 10:00 service and hurried to finish the final preparations. Peter and Clay were very impressed with the beauty of the lake and the particular site we use there. We were all set on time, but as is often the case the vans from Giti were late. They have a much shorter distance to go that the van from Remera, and the members from Remera were already there when we arrived. On the other hand I know how hard it is to get my family of four to leave at a particular time. They have two vehicles of 20+ people each and must wait until everyone arrives before being able to leave. All that to say that they didn’t arrive until about 10:40…. We got everything ready and were able to start about 10:50.

We sang hymns in Kinyarwanda and French, had some introductory welcome comments and announcements as per Rwandan traditions, during which I was asked to introduced Peter and Clay. Then Mr. Mundeli gave a sermonette on the importance of knowing the Bible well. After another hymn and special music from the chorale, I gave a sermon on the topic of dealing with trials. Unusually, I spoke in English, and Patrick Mundeli translated into Kinyarwanda as I went. I spoke in English at the request of the camera crew so that portions would be available if needed for the video.

Clay was set up on a stationary camera on the speakers, and Peter roamed with a smaller hand-held camera to get other footage that can be intercut to make the video more interesting. Our service lasted about 90 minutes.

Right after the service we held a blessing of the little children for 5 children ranging in ages from a few months to 6 years: Marthe, Job, Jeanne, Laetitia, and Rebecca. The oldest child was about at the age limit since we want to follow Jesus’ example, and he "took them up in his arms" (Mark 10:16). She was a small girl though and I was able to pick her up while Mr. Mundli and I prayed. Two of the babies were wet, I could feel quite clearly (they don’t have access to proper diapers here so they just seem to layer on more cloth until they can change the baby, which only works so long.) Hand sanitizer is a wonderful invention.

We fellowshipped for half an hour or more and got caught up on the news of a number of people. Then we had a light lunch: chicken (that we had seen being cooked yesterday at the Mundelis’ home), fried potatoes and sweet potatoes, bread, margarine, cheese, a boiled egg, peanuts and bananas for dessert, and a soft drink. Everything must be brought from the homes of people: plates, flatware, pots, pans, and food, everything to feed 60 or so people. It’s quite a job and Mrs. Mundeli and her daughters do almost all of it.

Over dinner we had an interesting discussion of courtship and marriage customs, which has a great deal of family involvement on both sides, and a lot of negotiations too. We asked about common serious diseases in Rwanda and learned that intestinal worms, malaria, and typhoid fever seem to be the most common (in descending order) – and almost everyone has worms at one time or another we were told. (Pass the hand sanitizer again, please.) It was quite instructive and fascinating and we often saw the humor in certain human conditions and though we didn't all speak a common language, we laughed all together.

Around 3:30 we started packing everything and loading back into our vehicles. We agreed to meet Mr. Mundeli, and James at the hotel at 8:00 tomorrow morning so we can continue video taping places of interest. We plan to visit a genocide memorial in Kigali before I have to leave for the airport. Then Peter and Clay and James will visit Ntarama and Nyamata to shoot more video. I won’t be able to go with them or post photos of their visit, but I did take my family there in 2006. You can read about there and see photos here: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/joelmeeker/worldtour-2006/1151290800/tpod.html.

We shook hands and said our goodbyes, then Jean-Marie drove us back to Kigali. Peter, Clay and I decided to go to the Mille Collines Hotel for dinner. That’s the hotel where the events featured in the movie Hotel Rwanda took place, although as usual it was not the hotel used in the movie. It’s being remodeled now and the lovely Panorama restaurant on the top floor is closed, so we ate at the garden café. Peter and Clay were both interesting in eating there since one does have the impression of bumping up against a piece of important human history when present.  We had a pleasant dinner of avocado with vinaigrette and either fish or pasta and talked about many things, past present and future.

Our taxi driver on the way back took a longer route when he noticed police at an intersection. I told him we needed to turn there and he mumbled “police”. At least in Rwanda, people generally fear the police if they have something to hide rather that fearing they’ll be unfairly targeted. I don’t know what he feared, but in any event to compensate us he put in a CD of country music. So while taking the long way home we listened to Kenny Rogers singing The Gambler, among other Rwandan classics. It was a fittingly-eclectic last evening in the land of a thousand hills.
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Chez Lando
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