Saturday 25 July 2015

Rwanda Saturday

Saturday Blog
Every last Saturday of the month Rwandan roads are shut down (almost like a curfew) between  9-11am. Kigali was almost ghost town-like today, with only Police on the roads. This is because it is Community Service Day (Umaganda), where everybody cleans up/betters  their Community in one way or another. Team Rwanda hit the silent streets before bewitching hour, arriving at the Catch-Up Centre before 9am. Our Community mission was to Deep-Clean the school. Desks were removed from classrooms, African brushes (like little broomsticks without the handles) swept, then we mopped and scrubbed classrooms, and litter was picked up in the grounds (there was quite a lot of it!) Classrooms were then re-decorated with all the work Team Rwanda and the children had done together, whilst others on the Team sorted and tidied away resources. It was a hot, dusty, dirty morning, but was nice to think that when our lovely kids turn up on Monday morning they will be wonderfully surprised at how we’ve all left our mark. Some of the teachers and schoolkids had also come in to help which was lovely. Some of the kids even got a bit of extra tutoring in as they were trying to fathom out How, if the world was round, did we not fall off the bottom of it? (This was because of the bunting Team Incredible had put up summarising each lesson we had done with them.) Queue Defying Gravity! (smiley face – no emojis!)
Every evening we have a session where we all reflect on what has gone on during the day. This serves to support those who have difficulty processing what they are experiencing, or just want to share their thoughts and feelings. On the bus journey we were all saying what a brilliant idea ‘Umaganda’ was, and how it brings the Community together enhancing both its spirit and environment. We wondered what the UK would be like were we to choose to adopt it…
We spent this afternoon visiting the Community Centre of Kinyinya meeting Genocide Survivors. There were three categories of survivors present who live together in this village: Widows, orphans and those who lost their children.  Hearing their chilling stories first hand, it is hard to describe how it has left us feeling. However, their stories of how they survived and became the community that they are today was truly inspiring and it has clearly been a long journey that is still continuing today. Each team heard different stories and the community requested us to take their stories back to you and be Rwandan Ambassadors for them so that this sort of horror is understood and hopefully never repeated. 
(Pause in blog writing whilst Sarah chased a cockroach around the room …Barb had the winning strike!) 
On a lighter note, we were delighted to see the arrival of beautiful red roses (and melted chocolates)  for the sleeping beauty Susie on the 4th wedding anniversary. We then had a team meal out to have pizzas. They were massive so we packages up all the remaining slices to be taken to the street children we met on Wednesday afternoon.

A shout out to Dan’s daughter Phoebe on her 3rd birthday today!!

Love Sarah C, Barbs, Susie and Stevie. x


Linda Bohin said...

Hello all, another great blog. We would like to take this opportunity so say such a big THANK YOU to all the Cred organisers for giving Lauren the fantastic opportunity of seeing how Rwanda carries on after such an awful past. I am sure by reading the blogs over the last week and the photos you have all made a real difference. Also thank you to the team for looking after our very brave daughter. Safe journey home.
Love to you all from Linda and Jamie (Mum and Dad) xxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Good to see Sionedd, Lowri and Tracy working hard, cleaning the school - No reason to stop the cleaning when you get home!

Stay strong. Make sure you tell the stories that have been told to you - You may inspire others to follow in your footsteps and help these remarkable people.

Looking forward to seeing you and hearing about your experiences. Love you loads.

Kerys (Dad) xxxxx

Unknown said...

Natalie is that you sweeping the floor? No excuses for a messy bedroom anymore!!
Another busy day for you all again. Thank you to CRED, especially Helen, for all you do. Giving our children the opportunity to make a difference to the children and people of Rwanda.
This time last year Natalie you were asking to go on this trip( well nagging!!). We didnt tell Dad for quite a while did we? lol. A year on we both couldn't be more proud of you and so glad you made this trip.
You are probably reading this on your last day, so have a safe journey home.
Thank you again Helen for looking after Natalie and to all Team Rwanda 2015 for giving her your support.
Love you millions
Mam and Dad xxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

It looks like you have all had another busy day and have left the catch up centre in tip top condition for the children to return to on Monday. Good job Team Rwanda xx
I would like to also thank Helen, CRED, Dan, Stevie and all the team leaders for allowing Emma to experience this week. I know for Em dealing with her separation anxiety has been tough so thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for her.I am sure tomorrow at the genocide memorial will be hard for you all, we will be thinking of you xx
Em can't wait to see you on Monday sweetheart from your very proud Mum, love you gazillions xxxxxx

Jo said...

Hi Team,
Great blog again tonight! I'm sure the children will be very grateful of all your hard work today and throughout the last week.
Some lovely pics again, great to see you with a brush in your hand Lucy!
I hope you have a good last day.
Have a safe journey home, and can't wait to see you!
Lots of Love
Mum Xx

Unknown said...

Hi All
I can only imagine that meeting the survivors was tough, I can't believe how hard you have all worked this week and to clean the whole school at the end of it, totally amazing.
I hope tomorrow is a day of rest for you all. have a great last day and a safe trip.
I'll be waiting for you when you land.
Pete XX

Unknown said...

Hi All,

Thank you for another great update.
I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to hear the experiences first hand but people like you are enabling Rwanda to move on, allowing the children to acknowledge the past and embrace their future. Well done all!

I'm sure the children will love their decorated school. It will remind them of your kindness and how much fun they've had with you.

Sionedd and Lowri - my cleaning obsession has finally rubbed off on you! Fantastic!! I'll get the dusters and mops ready for your return.

I hope you enjoyed your evening out. You thoroughly deserved a bit of down time.

One more day and you'll be on your way home for some well deserved fussing.I want to hear about your experiences and I'm preparing myself for you to tell me you plan to do it all again!

Stay safe and be careful! One more day of looking after each other and then I shall resume the Mammy role!

Eleri is missing you so much now. She 'needs' my Sionedd and my Lowri to come back from holidays! She adores her big sisters! We're counting down the sleeps until you get back.

Let me know when you're on route.

Can't wait to see my babies! Love you loads and loads and loads, always!

Mam, Garrett and Eleri xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Hi Kaya,
Loved to read that blog over here in freezing Iceland. Sounds like it was hard work today, cleaning is never a fun job. I know you haven't been that well but I hope you are feeling better when this is read out. I got to Iceland fine and hope to hear from you soon.
Stay safe, miss you.
I love you.
Your Nath xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Sounds like you've all had a life changing time and met some incredible people... I'm sure the kids have loved having you all around. Phoebe wants daddy to know she's got a fire fighters helmet for her birthday and Ella had rainbow face paint. See you soon Dan! Can't wait xxxx

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Unknown said...

Hello to Aislinn and all of team Rwanda

These blogs are brilliant to read, cleaning too - top job! - well you have had some practice of that lately with your room....!

You have all worked so hard and I'm sure will have made a huge difference to those you have met.

You have made us all think and we are very proud of you - can't wait to see you tomorrow.

All our love, mum, dad, holly and james XXX

Unknown said...

Hi Emma yet again you've done something so lovely for others! You've all had such an amazing experience out there.
We went lipstick shopping in MAC yesterday and put it this way there really is only one Higgins for the job!
We are all so proud of you Em and can't wait to have you home to hear even more about what you've been up too!
Lots of love
Callum & Mya xxx