Farewell Bibi

Sorry for the lack of news, we have been busy and hence exhausted!!

The rains didn’t really last long and we are told they will return in September. Despite this, things have greened up a bit and George, Oli and Jake have begun to prepare the shamba for planting in September.

We are all feeling a bit under the weather this week after a very busy weekend and I think we all have slight colds. To add to that, Oliver decided to take a face dive down a cliff yesterday and is now sporting some grazes on his face and a cut above his eye. He is all patched up now and we did try to convince him to take the rest of the afternoon a bit easy but that was no easy task. Thankfully Rob was actually with him when he fell, he is so often out exploring alone or with other boys. At least Rob was on hand to scoop him up and return him to me to patch up. He quite likes his new look with steri-strips above his left eye, he thinks it makes him look like a hunter!!! Despite the older boys taunts that he needed stiches, Rose was able to just stick him back together.

On Saturday mum and I went to market for mum’s last Saturday here. Then we had chai with our friend Vithalis who has returned from university in Uganda for holidays. Jake and Oli loved playing with Vithalis' two son’s despite the language barrier they all had a good time. On Sunday Rob and I went to Kabanga church with Vithalis. It was the usual 3 and abit hours of Swahili church. All very passionate worship, I only wish we could understand it. This was followed of course by lunch so home after 3pm for a quick nap before out again to farewell the youth team from the Ipswich Diocese in the UK who had been here for 2 weeks. With mum still here, the boys stayed home from church, much to their relief.....not sure how they will go next time we get a village church invite and mum is gone!!

Last week we farewelled our dear friend Winston who has gone to Karagwe to begin his carpentry studies. We had expected that he would be going next year but when he went to put in his application they interviewed him and decided since he had so much experience already he could start straight away and finish first year this year and start second year next year. So it was a quick pack up and farewell. We are sad to see him go so quickly but happy he will be able to complete his studies sooner.

Godriva's GiftToday mum is leaving after 3 months in Murgwanza with us. It has been lovely having her here to help out and just hang out with. It will be great when we return to be able to reminisce with her about people and places that she understands. There was a parade of students and other visitors last evening coming by to farewell her and pass on their greetings. This morning we went to snack rock for our morning coffee and just now mum has given Godriva a goat as thanks for all her cooking and washing. Goats as I have said before are like banks. When you have troubles you can sell your goat and you have money to pay for hospital or school fees etc. Bonus - this goat is pregnant so really it is a two in one gift! Soon we will head to the border with George (who has never been to Rusomo, despite it being only a 30 min drive) and pass mum over to Rafiki, a taxi driver Womancraft use often to take her to Kigali Airport. I phoned Rafiki to confirm at midday our time which is 11am Rwandan time. He was in Kigali (a 3 hour drive from the border) but assured me he would be there at 1:40pm.

I have begun preparing lectures for the first year nursing students (including George) who start mid -September. I have been tasked with the Anatomy and Physiology of the nervous system. I pulled out my trusty Tortora and Grabowski A & P textbook which I insisted we bring from Australia despite its 5kg weight (only to discover 2 copies of the same book in the nursing library. It will not be making the return journey!!!). Anyway I began reading about neurones and neuroglia and the CNS, PNS, ANS and axons and dendrites and all that technical stuff and quickly decided perhaps I will stick to the basics of brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The students struggle with English let alone all those technical terms. A glossary in my notes is certainly in order.

Rob spent the morning yesterday in the roof at Mchungaji Mwema installing network cable for their internet. Nat and Stu kindly brought over another router and network switch so once the school has power back, which for some reason was not working yesterday, Rob will return and set them up. There is much demand for these routers which allow wireless internet sharing within organisations, but we get the routers from Australia and can't trust the post that they will arrive here safely so unless we know someone is coming we can’t get anymore. We will donate ours at the end of the year to one more lucky organisation.

On Thursday, Jeremy who is a med student from Adelaide will leave after a one month placement here at the hospital and yesterday a new mzungu arrived from America to work at Womancraft, so the dynamics are always changing and we get unsettled whenever we farewell our friends and family. Pray that we will all settle again quickly and get back into good routines.

I think you are now up to date. Soccer, chai, visitors, teaching and computer stuff all continue same as usual.

......some hours later....

Rusumo FallsWe are back from Rusomo and heard from mum she is now safely in Kigali enjoying a coffee and free wifi…..a bit like her being here in our house really!!! George was very excited by his short trip to Rwanda. Mum almost got away with no visa fee as they thought her Dutch passport was British which incurs no fee. But on closer inspection he realised his mistake and the appropriate visa fee was paid, despite the fact that she will not even spend a night in the Rwanda but flies out tonight.....TIA!!!

On our return we gave a lift to a girl who crossed the punt with us. We took her about 7-8km uphill to the village she was going to - without our lift she would have walked as they all do here! We passed many many others walking and carrying water amongst other things on their heads. It just reminded me again how hard life is here, everyday the locals walk long distances on hot dusty roads and often carrying young children or items to and from market. Everyday they have to go and collect water and carry it back to their home’s. Everyday they need to collect firewood or charcoal so they can cook meals outside their homes. Everyday they need to work in their shambas so they will have food to eat when the crops are ready. Here there are no relaxing 2 day weekends...there are really no days off except maybe church on sunday. While we sometimes struggle with life here and miss things about home, still here we are so privileged to have running water and electricity and more food then we can eat everyday!!!

We have started buying t-shirts with the money that was raised by our Sunday school back home. Everyday I see kids in rags that I want to give shirts to but it is so hard to do. If I give to two or three in our yard today the next day there will be 20 or so who also want one and then.... I am still working on my distribution plan!!

The solar lights I have purchased for secondary students again with money that was raised by Roseville College students should arrive tomorrow. Again I will have distribution issues but not as bad. At the end of the day whoever gets them will benefit. (We are benefitting right now as our power has just gone off and Rob is using one of the IKEA solar lamps mum brought in the bathroom for his shower!!!)

We are sad to see mum go but we look forward to Gershom’s visit in September and will still have much work to do and many more friends to make before we are ready to come home.


Time Difference

No one person can change the world; but you can change the world for one person.~

George Hoffman, TEAR Fund
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