Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Rwanda - Africa for Beginners"

I love Nyanja's quote about Rwanda. She is totally right as far as the amount of Africa I saw (which of course was very limited). Rwanda is a beautiful place to begin a trip to Africa and ease in to the African culture. Kigali is a beautiful city kept clean religiously with beautiful people that are as a group, the friendliest I have encountered in my life. Prepare yourselves for stares. Not rude stares. Interested, questioning stares. Accompanying the stare will be a smile and a wave. Life goes by at a different pace in Rwanda. I quickly learned not to look at my watch. Things would happen eventually. And happen they did. It was truly amazing how God worked out the details while we were there. Countless times over the week my doubtful mind would taunt me with “knowledge” that this cannot happen in one weeks time. There are not enough hours in the day for every piece to be completed, especially when one of the offices had called an emergency meeting and they were not able to do what we thought could be done early in the morning (9am) until late in the afternoon (about 5pm). Even with a WHOLE day “glitch” I could hear God soothing my fears, seemingly asking if I trusted Him and His timing. One thing that really struck me while in Rwanda and Ethiopia both were the things often not seen here. People I did not know, people who would not receive anything from me, bending over backwards trying to be helpful and going that extra mile to help us. I don’t want to be misunderstood. There are many kind people in America. So often I have been touched by the kindness of strangers here. So often in my life have people come alongside me and lifted me up. Maybe the difference is that in Rwanda, government officials and business workers were willing to do things outside of status quo. I must say this is not typical here, though even this happens in America. One of the dear people I have been privileged to meet was an AT&T phone operator who went that extra mile to help a stranger on her way to Rwanda. She will probably never know that I think of her kind words and helpful spirit often. I guess the world is full of beautiful people. Rwanda has more than their share of them though!

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