Student Leaders: SPRINT
Summer 2011 SPRINT Teams: Rwanda
Trip Dates: July 1-21
Project Description: Learn about and participate in post-genocide reconciliation work though reconciliation workshops, home visits, prison ministry and economic development projects. Lead English classes, Vacation Bible School and peace-building/conflict resolution training for orphans and widows.
Here's another update from the team. They've seen and experienced a lot in the past week, as the report below makes clear.
The team mentions a reconciliation workshop - in addition to educational and economic development programs, Rwanda Partners also does significant work in drawing together perpetrators and victims of the genocide to move toward forgiveness and reconciliation. A key piece of the workshop focuses on the Gospel message of reconciliation through the cross and the need for all parties to find wholeness through Jesus and the giving and receiving of forgiveness.
Another important and powerful element of the reconciliation workshops is that they are designed and implemented by and for Rwandan citizens. Rather than imposing an outsider's perspective, Rwanda Partners' American staff seek to facilitate the work that the Rwandan staff have developed.
The team's update is below.
Dearest family and friends,
Greeting from team Rwanda! We are feeling incredibly blessed here and can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by. We have seen many people and had many fantastic experiences over the past week. There are so many stories I barely know where to begin, but in brief:
We saw a group of head-of-household orphans who Rwanda Partners is helping teach to sew handbags to generate income. We talked to them and saw them sewing, then sang and danced with them.
We visited Irina and Joyce, two widows who were extremely welcoming and glad to have us fill their houses and speak with them. We also visited Clementine, an orphan and mother of two, and her sister Beatrice, who cannot hear or speak.
We visited a pineapple plantation, where we discovered that pineapple grows on bushes (who knew?) and that fresh-picked pineapple is the most delicious (and juiciest) thing you will ever eat.
We drove to the south of Rwanda and met 14 orphans adopted by Patrick, the chef of the guest house where we’re staying. We were able to have many conversations with them, as well as danced and played with them. We will be making a website for his adopted family, so that his cause is legitimized for the many donors that are needed to feed, clothe, and educate so many children.
We visited the two locations of Rwanda Partner’s basket company and met the basket weavers. The women greeted us with song and dance, and were able to join in a lot of it. So far, we have learned 12 songs in Kinyarwanda. We are still working on having conversations, though!
We have talked to many people whose stories have made a deep impact on us. Many of these stories came from a three-day reconciliation workshop that we finished up today, which gave us a lot to think about. Our time here has been very full, but all of us are safe, healthy, and happy. In fact, we are overjoyed. God is doing amazing things in Rwanda, and we are so honored to be able to witness it. We cannot wait to tell you more about the stories we are witnessing!
Laura, Nicole, Samantha, Valerie, and Arlicia
Muraho from Arlicia, Valerie, Nicole, Laura, and Sam!
It is now 10:10 on Tuesday night here in Kigali, Rwanda and we wanted to let you all know that we are here safe and sound and in love with Rwanda!
We arrived Sunday afternoon and had our first African church service. It was vibrant and full of energy. We are looking forward to our next one. _ Yesterday (the 4th) was Liberation Day for Rwanda, celebrating 17 years after the end of the genocide. The whole country took a day of rest and celebration, which allowed us to see the city without any traffic. We went out to lunch and had some good conversations with people. We got to know our friend Jeudonne who works for Rwanda Partners and has been leading us around. We’ve been learning Kinyarwanda, not an easy task, but a very fun one! Our night ended with us joining our friends in their hospital ministry. We got to pray for all the patients and brought dinner as well.
Today started with meeting a group of women who make beads and necklaces as a living. They were beautiful and inspiring women and we loved spending time with them. We then visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It was very impactful and we are still processing through what we saw today.
Rwanda Partners staff are absolutely wonderful and have been taking amazing care of us. We are really looking forward to continuing to work with them over these next few weeks.
Mwirigwe (goodbye) and much love!
Arlicia, Valerie, Nicole, Laura, and Sam
The team arrived safely in Rwanda and are relaxing at Rwanda Partners' guest house.
This evening five Seattle Pacific University students begin their journey to Rwanda, where they’ll spend the next three weeks learning and serving alongside Rwanda Partners, an organization dedicated to reconciliation and restoration in Rwanda following the country’s genocide in 1994. Over the course of their trip I’ll send regular updates to keep you informed of their experiences.
SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) is SPU’s short-term missions program. This summer we’ll send nearly 70 students to 9 countries across the globe to learn from and serve alongside local community leaders. These students have been meeting together since February, and have spent significant time in pre-trip training to consider the impact of short-term service, ways to approach unfamiliar cultures and the role of American Christians in the global context.
Our hope for SPRINT is to provide opportunities for students to learn first-hand from leaders engaged in significant issues in their communities and to encourage others through their service.
In the photo above, Arlicia, Valerie and Laura prepare to fly from SeaTac airport. Nicole and Samantha will connect with the team in Washington DC.
Let Justice Roll On: The Life and Legacy of John M. PerkinsWatch the documentary's trailer and order your copy today.
Sign up now! Read about reconciliation issues and news through the online journal of the John Perkins Center at SPU.