Rwanda 2017 – Day 4

Thursday, June 15
Today was a rough day physically and emotionally. We left early, before the sunrise, and I didn’t get a sunrise picture. We had a long drive to Kageyo in the eastern part of the country. We drove through Kayonza for a necessary stop, and then shortly after Kayonza, we hit the red dirt road. The red dirt road turns everything red. The trees and the houses are red from the dust as it sprays from the vehicles.
One of the amazing things about our trip was all the agriculture in the area. We saw rice, beans, corn, and sunflowers being harvested in addition to the prevalent bananas. People worked in the fields from 5 AM to 5 PM, or later. After a long drive, we saw Kageyo in the distance. Kageyo, a big city in the eastern part of Rwanda, came into being when the government of Tanzania kicked refugees from Rwanda out of the country. They had to leave everything behind and go back to Rwanda. The government has worked hard to provide living places for these refugees. While they don’t have electricity, for the most part, or running water either, the people have worked hard to build a beautiful city. 
We visited the Kageyo A school today. In this school, Grades 1-4 have double shifts because of the number of students. The government would like them to put 5th grade and higher grades into double shifts also, but the Kageyo school won’t do it because those students need all the time they can have to prepare for exams. As a result, the school only has 2010 students. (Yes, that was tongue in cheek.) We saw some of the primary classes where kids had to sit on the floor because they didn’t have enough desks. And the desks were too large. So a class with about 80 kids had 12 desk seats. And that was just the morning shift. The sponsorship money for kids at Kageyo goes a long way, but the needs are even greater! 
Lucy was in a 5th grade class where she thought the teacher was fantastic. They were doing an English lesson and she only had one suggestion for her. I worked with a teacher in 6th grade who was beginning the reviews for the national exams to be held in November. He had written questions on the board. He was an older teacher who had begun teaching around the same time I did. Now, the reason he had written the questions on the board is that he didn’t have access to a copy machine to run copies of the paper. If they had one, it wouldn’t have electricity to run, or paper. Students have a book for each class where the write these questions down, answer them, and take any notes they need to. Everything is in English, because that it the language of the tests. 
When a student had a question about one of the questions, he drew the answer out of members of the class, instead of giving them the answer. Many students were unfamiliar with the term because they hadn’t experienced it. When they finally understood the term, he reiterated the question and waited for them to answer. Then, the kids started asking me questions. They were personal at first, but then they began asking interesting questions about the United States. Many of the questions were deep thinking political questions. The teacher also asked me about issues that expressed his concerns about what the American government is doing. 
Once class was over, we talked about the lesson and how some of the teaching methods used in the past will need to be changed with the government’s emphasis on competency based curriculum. Then, we had an interesting discussion in the staff room about some of the differences between the American classroom and the Rwandan classroom, even though teacher concerns are similar. 
We ate lunch, and then got ready for what Lucy and I considered the highlight of the day: home visits. We always love going on these visits as sponsors, sponsored child, and family get together, but today, we would get to see our African daughter. While we were waiting for the bus after lunch in walked a beautiful young lady. It took me a second to realize that she was our daughter. Because Kageyo had no secondary school when she was ready to go, she has been in a boarding school for the last 3 years. She had walked to the school so she could see us early. We were told that she had moved in that time. We thought it was closer. It was much farther, as we discovered later. 
I could tell you some amazing things about our daughter. Ok, I will. I don’t know exactly how her school is set up, but she noted that she was the assistant pastor at her school. She found a church there and is part of the praise team just as she was in Kageyo. When asked what she needs, this young lady who has nothing by America’s standards, continues to tell us “nothing.” Normally, after gifts are given, the sponsor prays for the child and the family. I asked her to pray for Lucy and I after we did that, and, through her tears, she prayed an amazing prayer that blessed us tremendously. I mentioned her tears, but let’s be honest, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after the prayer. 
After that, we left. Ok, we hugged a lot. We took pictures. Then we left. While we were inside with our daughter, other team members were giving kids stickers and introducing them to the wonders of bubbles. As we headed home, we noted a few kids with stickers still showing. The drive was long, and the traffic was bad, but God was still good…even though we had to leave our daughter. The evening was spent making final preparations for the teacher conference tomorrow. My group is the first group from the team to present tomorrow…Prayers would be appreciated!


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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