Angie Rettmann, Africa New Life’s Ministry Partnership Director was in Rwanda and sent this special update:
Each trip to Rwanda seems to unearth a “deeper still” experience in my
soul. This short 10 day jaunt proved no different.
Yesterday, the day I was to fly out of Kigali our team chose to visit 3
Dream Boys. Dream Boys are boys aged 5-14ish who have been living on the
streets of Kigali along with 7000 other children who have no place to
call home. Africa New Life has been working for a few years now to bring
education and stability to a number of these street boys. Currently,
there are 50 young boys receiving daily tutoring and education as well as
a meal and teaching on hygiene and the Gospel of Jesus.
Marie, a fellow classmate of Alex’s from Westside Christian High School,
is beginning her 2nd year of developing the program on our Dream Center
campus. We told her we would like to do a few home visits with her and
take some food to the families. These boys may have a place to call
“home” but it’s hardly a place we would recognize as home. I have done
dozens of home visits in Rwanda, most are difficult, some are unbearable.
When I got in the van I found a line of black little bald heads just
peaking over the back seat. Three visits, 4 boys, 2 were brothers. I
introduced myself and discovered Valence to be the younger brother of
Janvier as well as a young boy named Jack (pronounced Jock), and finally
Clement. I had spoken with Marie the day before giving her the team’s
approval to purchase $50 worth of food and supplies for each household.
She texted me later in the day, describing the look on the boy’s faces
when they learned we would be visiting their homes and bringing food.
We were a bit short on time, as I was flying out that evening and much
desired a shower before departure. We ventured down a steep, deeply
rutted road aware that we may only get to 2 of the boys’ homes and had
difficulty deciding which boy we may need to cut from the list of
visitations. The first 2 visits were difficult, beautiful, painful,
inspiring, as westerners we try desperately to make sense of things and
find something that will “fix” the lack of resources and severe
hunger…….in the end we pray, relying on One far more powerful than us
to rescue and save His own.
We stood outside the 2nd boy’s home contemplating the time, the hike out
of the bush, the drive home in rush hour and all the unexpected variables
that define travel in Rwanda, Africa. Jack our 3rd boy looked down at the
dirt, his face downcast, his smile masked by pain and disappointment and
I thought to myself….how important can a silly shower be?
We hit the trail, which ended up being my first ever deep bush hike.
Jack wound us around and down, the landscape lush and thick, taking in
the land of a thousand hills with each carefully placed step. A trail of
muzungus lining the countryside waving to neighbors as we passed their
bush hidden homes.
With joy we took a left turn and began an upward slope….behind a more
typical Rwandan meager dwelling sat a mud and stick structure that is
Jack’s home. Standing outside was his mother, face bright, welcoming,
handshake and hug. I peeked inside the brown dirt structure and eyed 2
benches draped in African fabric!!!! This woman was a woman after my own
heart, she had planned ahead and prepared an appealing place for us to
sit and visit. We ducked inside and squeezed our partial team of 6 along
with Jack, his mother, and 2 smaller children.
We had just begun our interpreted conversation when she pulled from a bag
a gift….a lovely pink and yellow tiny peace basket she had woven that
morning for her visitors. She looked at us with a tinge of disappointment
and exclaimed that if she had had a couple days warning she would have
had a gift for each one of us. She then pulled out a string of handwoven
brightly colored earrings and took a few minutes to decide which colors
fit the women on our team best before passing a set to each one. In this
moment I saw the raw materials that exist inside each and every human
being of gifting, talent, and passion. This woman, in the darkness of her
mud hut found ways to express the desires within her. Her goods were
bright and beautiful, certainly not the products of a red-dirt daily
As we hiked up, up, up and out of the bush we glistened with sweat and
breathed heavily, trying to keep up with our small Rwandan guide. I
looked back over the landscape and said out loud…..”next week a shower
before my flight will mean absolutely nothing to me…..this visit to
Jack’s home with his mother will remain deep inside for a
lifetime”……and I have some cute woven yellow earrings with which to