We awoke this morning after a relatively good night’s sleep. We ate breakfast at the hotel, and loaded up to go to our first orphanage. Jane called to see if there was anything the orphanage needed. They asked for food. Wow. Everyone pitched in and we bought $195,000 (not dollars...Francs - the equivalent of $325 USD) of supplies for them. We bought porridge, rice, diapers, sugar, beans, and laundry detergent. We made our way to the orphanage and arrived around 11:00.
I felt like something was wrong as soon as we arrived. I had seen pics of the orphanage and this did not look the same. We were told that there were visitors there from the American Embassy singing for the kids. Clue #2, the orphanage knew we were coming and were expecting us. The orphanage director was very kind, and told us some amazing stories of how the orphanage came to be. When he asked who we were, we told him about Visiting Orphans, and he said “Why have we never heard of you?”. Clue #3. He gave us a lovely tour of the facility, then we joined the kids and listened to the end of the concert. I held a lovely little girl on my lap (I think it was a girl, they all had their hair cut short). Finally we had our final clue. Emmanuel called us on Jane’s phone asking us when we would arrive...oops!! At least we hadn’t already given away the supplies they had asked for!
I do believe that God makes divine appointments sometimes, and I think there is a reason we visited this orphanage! I will be passing on their info to Visiting Orphans so we can put them on the itinerary next time.
We had lunch at a lovely Rwandan buffet, and were measured for hand made Rwandan skirts.
Finally, around 3:00pm, we made it to the orphanage. They were sooo happy to see us. We parked on the side of the street, grabbed our donations and the supplies and followed them across the street. We walked up a hill, then walked up a steeper hill, then jumped across a small ravine, then up an even steeper hill. Most of the Muzungus (white people) were panting pretty hard when we finally made it to the orphanage!
At first, it was pure chaos. 20 Muzungus with candy, bracelets, whistles, stickers and 95 kids wanting them makes for a pretty insane picture. Eventually we realized we could never make it even, so we gave the toys to the director to give away later. We, with Emmanuel’s (The Director) help split the kids into three groups by age. We did some great art projects with them. The youngest kids glued cotton balls onto light blue paper to make the sky (God made the sky and God made us). The primary/elementary kids made paper dolls and colored them (We are all connected and all friends), the tweens and teens drew their name on a piece of construction paper and decorated with glitter, sequins, and crayons (God knows your name). For about 30 minutes it was very organized - ha!! As the kids finished their art projects, Jenn and Chris were setting up the camera equipment. They would take a pic of a child holding their art project, then printed them, right there in the orphanage, then stuck them on foam board and let the kids decorate. It was a BIG hit! The kids loved seeing their pics and loved even more that they got to keep those pics!!
We finished the day in Heaven. No really, the restaurant is called Heaven! Brad and Chelsea Carpenter met us there and we had some amazing food, and great conversation with them and the team. It was really great to spend time with them!
Tomorrow we leave early for Giseny. We didn’t empty many suitcases today, so we will have to fit 22 people, 41 suitcases, plus our carry-on bags in a bus made to carry 24 people. It might be a tight 3 hr drive tomorrow!!
PLEASE continue to pray for us, lots of traveling in the next few days. Praying we can really love these kids and make a difference that lasts longer than one day!!