Children of Muhanga celebrating at a YWCA function

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mom's Guest Post!

This is Tates mom and I have never blogged before so this may be more special for me than you. I arrived last Wednesday in Kigali and today is the following Thursday already!! How did that happen? First time in Africa. If you have been reading both Carolines and Tates blogs then you know the details of this last week so I won't replicate that. If you have not read either or both of their blogs, I highly encourage you to do so. They have poured out their hearts in writing and this blog will serve as their journal for a lifetime. Same days it is hard to write for them and some days they can hardly wait. Grab a glass or wine or a cup of tea and enjoy their journey through this blog!

I arrived at the airport, without my bags I might add, to a sea of African women smiling at me with two white girls in the midst. I had not met Caroline before and I was struck with the similarity between the two "muzungus", tall, blonde, beautiful and smiling as well.

After handshakes, cheek kissing, hugs and tears, we were off to begin my exposure to Carolines and Tates life here in Rwanda. My three, yes three, checked bags finally joined me on Saturday. For the record, my personal clothing could have fit in the small one. The others were jammed packed with things the girls had asked for as well as some materials and gifts for the nursery children. Just as an aside, the United Agent saw the 3 heavy bags and after hearing where I was going and what I was bringing over, she waived all the baggage fees. We are surrounded around the world with good and kind people.

We spent my first night together with an amazing family, Ernestine and Eugene and their 4 kids along with at least 10 other people who were related somehow. I now know that they all come from Eugenes side of the family with his three sisters a brother and their spouses, all of whom I have now met and now love. Kind, gracious, curious, loving people. They all talk at the same time and they all have fallen in love with Tate and Caroline. They are their families in our absence and they have done well. If any of them are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

The days have gone by fast. We have seen and lived with the very wealthy and seen and lived with the very poorest of poor. We have spent time with women with HIV/AIDS whom are beginning to emerge from their cloistered and segregated lives due to their involvement with the YWCA, and with women who run companies, high positions in government, heads of schools and families and are extremely talented, articulate and impressive to say the least. We have spent time with children of the upper class, whom go to private schools here in Rwanda in preparation for boarding schools and universities in America; and children whom don't have enough money for their basic health needs, no less schooling. (Tate has fallen in love with one of those children, Grace Freida, who was abandoned in Muhanga and found and taken home by a Batwa family who does not have enough money to feed their own children. This child cannot walk nor speak so she is working with the Y to get her medical attention as a start).

I have seen gorgeous landscapes and views that are unmatched in the US; and I have seen the devastation of a generation from the genocide through the work at the genocide museum.

We were all able to watch in person and read about President Paul Kigame, elected with 97% of the peoples votes at the last election, clearly a dictator but from what can be seen and read, a benevolent dictator at his core. The country clearly was in need of strength and clarity, and the success is obvious and tangible.

It is now Saturday and the internet is back. We are now up in the Northwest part of Rwanda on a "field trip" where we have visited 3 "vulnerable" families where the eldest child, 17, 16 and 13 respectively, is raising their family. Unbelievable, heart wrenching. Above all, reaffirming ones ability to survive in the worst of circumstances.

We have seen the border of the Congo, the Primus brewery, the hot springs and the volcanoes. We are hopeful to do a safari tomorrow and I leave on Monday.

I am so appreciate of this time with both girls and their Rwanda families. Most 20 year olds, (mine is not quite there yet but will be soon) are not focused on issues like this during their summer break. Caroline and Tate have been living this world and are able to do it for three more weeks.

They are truly an inspiration for me as well. Thanks for reading…

Claudia (Tates mom)

1 comment:

  1. Not a bad post from a muzunga! We can hardly wait to see you! Be safe!