Sunday, December 23, 2007

Setting the Tone

I’ve been trying to keep a blog going for over a year now. However, between working non-stop in Rwanda and in the US and traveling on top of that, it’s been difficult. But I need an outlet. I have so much to say and I’ve been inspired and encouraged quite a bit lately by friends and family to start writing again.

I’ve been living in Kigali, Rwanda for a year and 8 months now. I have never felt more at home than I do in Kigali. I’ve been back in the US since July 11th raising funds and setting up our board of directors/advisers for Sisters of Rwanda (SOR). It was difficult for me to leave Kigali, but being here has been great for me personally, and for SOR. I’ve been challenged in so many ways and it’s really helped me to define who we are as an organization. I’ve changed all of our literature, created new websites, designed and printed our first press kits and flyers, and I’ve spoken in churches and universities all over Nashville, Hilton Head, and New York City. It’s been a very productive trip and I’m very grateful for all that has transpired. I have a full schedule from now until January 5th and then I head back to the Mother Land.

So much has gone on in Kigali since I’ve been away. My Rwandan staff says that the Sisters are doing great and even look younger. I can’t wait to get back and see their shinning faces again. I’ve missed them. I’ve missed the children. I’ve missed the African life. There is such a rawness about Africa that we don’t experience here in the states. It’s like those moments in life where you find yourself in some strange situation that you have never experienced that you never imagined would happen.

I was in a horrible storm in Newark, New Jersey one time, about 8 years ago. My British friend (Ali) and I were the only white folks in the heart of the ghetto. There was no electricity anywhere in the city and it was getting dark. The wind was blowing violently, massive trees were falling down around us, huge metal trash cans where flying across the parking lot as if they were Coke cans, and subways were derailing right in front of us. It was like nothing I could have even dreamed up. We were all outside trying to find shelter on the side of the overcrowded subway station. Ali and I and the rest of the adults immediately gathered up all the kids, and we huddle together and protected them from the wind, rain and debris. We were soaked and fearing for our lives. We had no shelter and the sky was ominous. No one was thinking about skin color. No one was thinking about taking advantage of anyone. No one thought about social status or education levels or money. All of our programmed tendencies were removed instantly and we were left with only our God given reactions. It was raw. We protected each other. We bonded, in a matter of minutes. We embraced each other and pulled together. We served each other, just as we were created to do. Just for a moment, we were one. -- That is Africa…every day. I’m ready to get back to that. I’m ready to go back home.

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