Rwandan Camp: Day 3

Trip Start Jul 07, 2009
Trip End Aug 02, 2009

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

This morning again we met at 7:30 for breakfast: fruit, fried eggs, bread with peanut butter, jam or honey, and Rwandan coffee or tea which is quite good.

We were ready to roll a few minutes after 8:00 and stopped shortly after leaving to buy more bottled water. We then dropped Greg off at the Ministry of Health where he had a 9:00 meeting with an assistant to the Minister. This was to move forward the dossier of recognition for Smile Rwanda. The rest of us continued on, arriving at Runda a few minutes before 9:00. I had called ahead to ask to have the electricity turned on (that means starting the diesel generator) and to have a white cloth on the wall to act as a screen. I hadn't thought to say explicitly that we needed the windows covered. We would think of that in the west since we’re used to projections. But they’re not here, so they didn’t. We were able to get some curtains and blankets which had to be hung by driving nails into the mortar between the wall bricks and stringing a line between them. It took a few minutes but we got the room dark enough to start the PowerPoint projection. Since Doc wasn’t present, I took the whole hour and showed a projection about the structure of the Bible. This was I hope a good introduction to the campers some of whom had just received their first Bible ever.

Following that we went the field for a match of Ultimate Frisbee – sort of like soccer or lacrosse played with a Frisbee. The campers loved it a great deal. We played it straight through until lunch time.

We had lunch together in the classroom. It was very good for us to be able eat together; a plus for our camp atmosphere. Again we had chicken, but this time sweet potato, plantain, and French fried potatoes, sauce, cooked carrots and eggplant, and limes for dessert (and a Fanta!).

Following lunch Doctor Swartz unpacked a special wheelchair he had brought from Missouri, to be constructed by the campers (as much as possible), and given as a gift to a man named Gasana from the village of Giti who doesn’t have the use of his legs. His old wheelchair, which didn’t ever work too well, broke completely, and now he’s been reduced to dragging himself along by the strength of his arms. He does so to attend church which he does regularly. He has wooden blocks that he holds in his hands to protect them as he moves. It is a moving and pitiful sight. The congregation of Columbia Missouri contributed generously to buy and ship the wheelchair which is designed for "off-road" use. Once it is constructed, the hope is to present it to Gasana in Giti as soon as possible.

For the rest of the afternoon activities we had more team building exercises, volleyball and football. The campers were tired but very happy by the time we reached 5:00 which was time for our Q&A Bible Study. I asked Mr. Mundeli to take several questions. He covered the following:

-“Will those who died without knowing the truth be punished, or will they have 'another’ chance for salvation” He explained that if one doesn’t know the truth, one never really had a chance for salvation, so it is really a first opportunity to come and not “another.”

-“What advice would you give to resident students who are not able to come home during annual Holy Days?”

He also answered a question I found very interesting, about the limits of self-defense: “If someone steals something from you and you wound him after you catch him, is it a sin?” That sparked some follow-up questions about armed burglars breaking in and menacing the lives of one’s wife or children, what then? In a country with attempted genocide in fairly recent memory, this issue is not easily dismissed. I answered that based on what Jesus said, Christians are not to take human life, but that reasonable restraining force can be used to protect others, and that we have to trust that our lives are in God’s hands, and that we are under His protection for His will to be done.

Daniel covered a question about our relationship with God. Greg Swartz covered questions about what we have to do to receive salvation, and why Satan wants to deceive the world.

I had time only for one brief question about the first chapters of Genesis: since Satan spoke to Eve as a serpent, did snakes talk in the Garden of Eden? Good question!

We shook hands all around and waved goodbye to everyone as we headed to Samuel’s taxi and drove back to Kigali in the twilight. As usual we passed lines of people walking along the side of the road in the gathering gloom. As the light fades, one view is further affected, by the smoke of charcoal and wood cooking fires that add a pleasant smelling haze to the air. The darkness is lit by occasional electric lights glimmering dimly in shops and houses (the new energy efficient light bulbs are already popular here and they are much dimmer than what we’re used to in the West – prepare yourselves!), and by candles, by which we could see the slowing human activity. I find there is something warm and comforting about the African dusk. Night does not feel this way, as it includes an element of danger from violent men, but the dusk is safe as it closes in the distances like a blanket.

Back at the Bloom, we asked Samuel to wait for us for 20 minutes while we showered and changed, then we drove to Chez Lando for dinner. The outdoor barbecue pit was packed with people. Many were watching President Paul Kagame give speech on television. We had avocado with vinaigrette as a first course (the avocados here are huge delicious and inexpensive) and brochettes of goat and beef with fries as the main course. Chez Lando has been famous for its goat brochettes and ambiance for a long time, and we were not disappointed. We watched the people and rehearsed the day’s activities and talked about the next few days as we ate. It was still nearly 10:00 by the time we finished.

As we walked out to the taxi stand, a fellow was blocking the entry driveway with an old rolling- wreck that wasn’t starting as he turned the engine over again and again. Even so he called out to us hopefully: “taxi?” I replied with a smile “yes, but we want one that works!” the other taxi drivers and hangers-around (of which there are always many) thought my little joke was very funny and laughter overcame the traffic noise for a moment.

We agreed to meet for breakfast at 7:30 to start our last day of camp activities.
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Bloom Hotel
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