Muraho! (Kinyarwandan for hello)
A trip that began Friday afternoon in New York finally ended at 3am on Sunday in Kigali. Nearly 24 hours of traveling was a challenge, but our journey was made a bit easier thanks to exit row seats on the flight from NYC to Istanbul. Despite the late hour, a full welcoming party from NCV greeted us upon our arrival in Kigali and drove us the 45 minutes or so to the orphanage. Rwandans are renown for their hospitality, so I suppose we shouldn’t have been surprised that we were given sweet bread rolls and some AMAZING tea we finally made it to the orphanage. A perfect post-flight snack!
Of course no trip of this magnitude can be completely hassle-free, right? My luggage didn’t show up in Kigali. Apparently it went on to Uganda and back to Turkey before arriving in Rwanda last night. We are picking it up today, so don’t worry, I won’t be wearing the same set of clothes for 4 weeks.
On Sunday morning we went to church in Nyamata, the nearby town. As foreign guests we enjoyed celebrity status for the day. We were called up to the front and introduced to the congregation, received special attention from the pastor, and were given seats at the front of the gathering. The service was, in some ways unlike anything we’d experienced in the U.S.. Here’s a few “new” things:
1. The service lasted roughly 3 hours
2. At times it resembled a dance party. We joined in, but its safe to say we have a considerable room for improvement in our dancing ability!
3. The service was in Kinyarwandan, the indigenous language here in Rwanda. Fortunately a translator relayed the message concurrently in English.
4. The delivery of the sermon was far more enthusiastic and demonstrative than we are accustomed to.
Despite these differences, the overall theme, how to be a Christ-like leader, resonated with us. Oh, and the highlight of the service was watching NCV’s kids perform a song as part of the worship time!
After a delicious brunch back at NCV we spent the afternoon hanging out with the children. We continued to dance, gave and received lots of hugs, and even played soccer and volleyball! The evening was a relaxing one—a movie and a low-key dinner. Jet-lag hit us in a big way by the end of the night, leading to an early bedtime. We slept in until noon today, so hopefully our body clocks are back to normal.
Currently we’re hanging out at a coffee shop just outside Kigali (and enjoying the Wi-fi). Tomorrow we will be visiting another orphanage as well as a local genocide memorial. Then again, schedules change quickly here in Rwanda, so who knows what we’ll actually end up doing. This works for me, I’ve never been one to enjoy too much structure and scheduling!
Ok, that’s all for now. Hopefully we can share some more stories and post a few pictures in the next couple of days!