Captured Heart

Frank shares how his heart has been captured by Rwanda:

It’s Thursday here in Rwanda, and this morning our team was was awoken by either a thunderstorm with heavy rain, a rooster, the sounds of Rwandan fishermen singing a traditional song, or an incredible symphony of song birds that were trying to out sing the men in their canoes below. There are advantages to sleeping in tents, and being able to listen to nature while in bed is a great way to start a day.

After breakfast and devo’s on the deck overlooking Lake Kivu, we piled into the bus for the short journey to meet up with the team at Wellspring’s new office in the Rubavu district. After a quick meet & greet and a brief presentation by Rachelle, we were off to a school (G.S. Kabilizi) that Wellspring has only recently been able to start working with the teachers & parents to create a positive learning experience. Currently there are over 1,600 children in this school, with nearly a 50/50 split between boys and girls. In one classroom we counted 112 children to one teacher. In another classroom I counted eight children at one desk. While there is a new classroom that has bigger windows and better lighting, many classrooms are still dark and crowded. There is much work to be done here to get teachers trained, to get parents involved, to get classroom sizes down to manageable numbers, and to prevent them from dropping out, which is often the case for many students as they get older, especially girls.

Some of the students sang and clapped for us, it was incredible to see the huge smiles as they performed so proudly for us! My heart was shattered and broken as I went through the genocide memorial in Kigali and read about the children that died so brutally, but today’s visit to the school made my heart so full that my body could barley contain it. (I made a new friend while we were leaving the school grounds.)

Back on the bus, head into town for a quick lunch about a kilometre from the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo, then off to Muhanga for the night. Emmanuel, one of the many great staff members here at Wellspring, was incredibly helpful to explain some of the sites we saw along our journey. Just to give you an idea….young boys collecting dead branches for firewood 20-30 ft up a tree, a wedding party at the side of the road, tea plantations, the cow market, goats goats everywhere, a two man sawmill, carrots stacked into long barrel shapes and tied together, giant cabbages and soccer balls made out of banana leaves.

Rwanda, you continue to amaze me at every turn. You’ve broken and healed my heart a few times already, and now you’ve captured it as well.