Another week passed. Another pile of stories...
There have been numerous requests for me to explain why, in fact, i am in Rwanda. And, while I would like to forgo the question for as long as possible, I supposed if I expect anyone to keep reading my blog, I owe them an explanation, however vague.
(by the way, does anyone know if laptops have the potential to give you cancer? The way it heats my legs seems particularly suspicious to me... I know female mosquito's have the potential to give me malaria. And, at this very moment, there is one buzzing around my head. Hmmm... which heath concern is more pertinent?)
So here goes: (if you feel like you already know this, skip to the **)
I am in Rwanda with an organization called "Friends of Rwanda". Look up www.friendsofrwanda.com for more info. My main job will be help out with the Saddleback PEACE teams that are coming over to Rwanda (PEACE is Rick Warren's plan to save the world through the work of the church... look that up as well). Rick and his ginormous church have a rare and extremely invested interest in this small country. They are sending over 1,000 volenteers in 2008 alone. So, as you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done. I am working for a Rwandan named Eric Mynumana, who is pretty much a dream boss. I am his funtioning assistant, which really means everything and nothing. I have no idea how my work will play out in a practical, day-to-day manner, but I am certain it will be challenging and exciting. After the end of the year, the hope is that I will have gathered enough information to help Saddleback re-format their "mission to Rwanda". There seems to be a shifting paradigm for missions work in our constantly shrinking world, and I'm functioning, as an observer, to help discover what that might look like. My plan is to be here, with a couple interruptions for weddings and grad-school auditions, until next August.
In addition to this, I will be directing the first ever Musical (!) in Rwanda at Green Hills Academy, the local english-speaking school. We're still in the negotiation stages, but It's looking good. It's funny about Rwanda, everything you do here is a first.
I learned how to ride a motorcycle this week! Apparently the "scooters" I rode in Italy and Argentina didn't count (sorry, meredith:). This one had gears and a clutch and apparently that makes all the difference. Justin was kind enough to trust me on his bike and we rode an hour out of town. It was breathtaking. Every turn was a glittering valley below or a patchwork hill above. The villagers got a HUGE kick out of a white girl driving a bike with a MAN behind! Can you imagine? They couldn't. It was a great day.
I have recently been annexed by the Muzungu community in Kigali. There's probably more than 50 (i may be underestimating quite a bit) young people, from the West, in Kigali. Everytime I go to the (only) coffee shop, I see one ot them. Usually it's a bit awkward, because you don't want to introduce yourself to someone just because you both happen to have the same color skin (can you imagine doing that at home: "Hey, I couldn't help noticing that you're white. My name is Maggie, nice to meet you."? hmmm...). But we all find eachother eventually. Movie night was tonight (Sunday), friday night we have dinner at one of the many resturaunts in Kigali... it's enough to keep us all feeling like the ex-pats that we are. Sometimes it gets a little overwhelming though. I miss the boredom and social limitations of Ruhengeri.
I'm headed home on Tuesday for my little sister's wedding. I will spend the month of October in the US attending weddings before returning to Rwanda.
I can't quite put in to non-cliche terms how GOOD it has been to be in Rwanda for the past month. I can't remember the last time I felt this much at peace and this full of hope. Funny that a country with such an ugly past can give so much hope...but it's in the air here... you can't help but obsorb it and soon it becomes the way you start seeing the world. There is a mark on this country. Everyone who comes here notices it. I feel lucky. Lucky to be here, in Rwanda, soaking up God's blessing.
To close, from the words of the famous poet, Aime (he's the young man who guards my house at night and gives me a scare every time he does his rounds and passes by my window. I think Aime is a saint--literally. I told him today that when he has a bigger mansion in heaven than I do, that I want to come over for dinner):
"I never forget you in my life. sleep with enjoy dreams."