Rwanda 2017 – Day 2 

Tuesday, June 13
I was awake early. Coffee hadn’t been made yet. The Sun wasn’t even beginning to color the sky. The person who sets up in the morning made a special trip to get me hot water so I could make instant coffee and begin the process of becoming human, or some semblance thereof, again. The sun did not disappoint us this morning either, as a beautiful sunrise greeted those people who were able to sleep to a decent hour. 
We began the day by heading out to the school at Bugesera. Along the way, we stopped at the Nyamata Genocide Memorial. The memorial used to be a church building. During the genocide, many people ran to the church to hide. Those committing the genocide broke into the church and killed everyone without mercy, including the children. As you walk through the church, clothes of people killed in the genocide are piled on the pews. Coffins containing bones and skulls were stacked in the church because the people at the memorial realized that mildew and fungus were causing problems. They are cleaning the bones to protect and preserve them. While I had gone through this memorial before, the act that caused it still horrified me. While the guide didn’t point them out because the coffins hid them, the walls still have bloodstains from where those who committed the genocide smashed children against the walls.
After World War II we said “Never again.” Still, we have had many instances of genocide that have happened since then, and the world turned a blind eye. We ignored it in Cambodia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in Rwanda. Are we turning a blind eye in Syria as well? Before I leave this section, let me just note that I didn’t include the group name of those committing genocide because those groups are no more. The horror of the genocide they endured has been surpassed by the reconciliation they have shared. They have not forgotten their past, they have overcome it and live in harmony. That doesn’t mean that some still aren’t bitter, but the nation as a whole is a wonderful place to be. Much of the reconciliation came by the grace of Christ working through His church. 
As we came to the Bugesera school, the ugliness of the past was washed away by the bright faces and joy of the leaders of the future. We had a chance to visit every classroom in the school. I don’t know about the others, but I experienced shock and awe, when, as we entered each classroom, the children stood up and greeted us in unison, letting us know that we were welcome. They waited respectfully until the lady who was leading us around, or the teacher of the class told them to sit down. She left her class of 60 third graders by themselves while she led us around until the headmaster returned from that task that seems to be the bane of all administrators, a meeting, finished. They were quiet. Their behavior was perfect, as far as we could see. 
As to the line about 60 third graders, lest you think I’m exaggerating, the school has 900 students and a teaching staff of 21. (That includes the headmaster.) We were greeted with big smiles in every classroom that we entered; the students and the teachers seemed excited to see us there. The headmaster came back in the middle of the tour and finished leading us around. We had a chance to meet with him after the tour and ask questions about the school, his job, the teachers, and other questions that struck us. 
When the school broke for lunch, the kids came out into the courtyard and started gathering around the members of the group. Lucy was a big attraction at first. It was neat watching the kids gather around here. Then, the lady with the stickers came out and we almost needed security to protect her as the kids thronged to her. One of the other members and the headmaster helped keep order. The lady who danced the hokey-pokey drew a great crowd as well. My camera was also a big attraction as the kids wanted to get their pictures taken and then look at it on the camera. Then, they discovered how to scroll the pics on the camera, and they kept scrolling to the pictures of our church’s beach baptism.  
After a while, I noticed that the other members were already serving lunches, so I broke away from the kids to help serve lunches. The rice was cooked in one giant cauldron, the topping of beans and some spices were cooked in another. They dished out the meal and stacked up the plates so that we could hand them out to the kids. The plates were hot. As in HOT! A few times I had to set a plate down until I was ready to hand it to one of the others serving or to one of the kids. As hot as it was, though, the kids took the plates without worrying about the heat, and most of them ate with just their fingers. After lunch we broke up and each of us went to different classes to observe the teachers work in the classroom. The classroom I observed was with a fairly new teacher. He did a wonderful job of engaging the students…58 kids on task and jumping up raising their hands to be able to participate. He did a good job of calling on different kids. The way he treated them when they were wrong was better than some teachers I’ve seen treating kids who got the right answer. In discussing my experience with Lucy, she noted a similar response. That means to me that the motivator behind that is the head master who is an amazing young man. There were some things I would have liked to ask this teacher, but the headmaster came and got me to head back to the bus. 
The group wanted to go fabric shopping before we got home. We went to a market that was crowded. I’ve been to other bazaars in other countries, but this is the most crowded space I remember. I have decided that not only am I not a good shopper in general, I’m especially not good after a long day when I’m exhausted. That being said, many in our group were quite happy with their purchases, so I can’t really complain. 
We headed home to rest, have dinner, and then plan for Friday and Saturday. I think our part of the presentation is beginning to gel. Keep us in prayer so that we might give the teachers here something they can use. 

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About rockyfort

I am a retired Middle School Teacher. I share each day what God is teaching me from reading His word hoping that people can benefit from reading what God has taught me.
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