Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rwanda: Day Twenty-Two

I can't believe this is our last day in the Land of a Thousand Hills.  It has been the trip of a thousand dreams coming true.  I'm so thankful for this opportunity and for the way God worked every single detail out.  His hand was so evident from beginning to end and I am truly grateful.

I have so many thoughts flooding through my mind.  I'm so thankful that my kids got this opportunity.  I hope they have been able to realize the following things (and more):

  • Rwanda is a beautiful country
  • The people of Rwanda are a beautiful people
  • Traveling internationally isn't scary...it is fun & exciting
  • People who are different from them are the same in many ways
  • Catching public transportation is an adventure
  • Go see the world every moment you get a chance
  • Don't be afraid to explore
  • Make new friend--even if there is a language barrier
  • Try new food
  • Appreciate other cultures
  • Say hello and thank you in "their" language
  • Dare to live a dream
Of course there are so many lessons I hope they learned from this trip, but those are the dozen right off the top of my head at this moment.  I've been so proud of them on this trip.  

Watching Hays get an internship and catch a moto to "work" and today catching a cab for us and getting us where we were going.  He isn't afraid to adventure into the unknown.  I can't wait to see how this trip plays a role in his life later one.  I think one of the things I am most excited about for him is that he got to meet a neat role model who is a "cool" guy working for Samaritan's Purse helping with disaster relief.  Hays now knows that a job can be following disasters around the globe and making the world a better place one broken community at a time.  I think Hays for sure got the most out of this trip and I think he will be the most surprised over the next five to ten years about what he is actually bringing with him from Rwanda.

Maggie is a gem.  She had the hardest job here.  She was mom to three children who took her for granted and pushed every one of her buttons.  But she was a patient mom who pressed on even when most thirteen year olds would have quit.  She over came her fears of being in a different country and she did it.  I'm so proud of her!  I love that she got to meet neat and fun girls who are living their adventures in Kenya and Afghanistan and South Africa.  I'm thankful that her summer break didn't include texting and walking around downtown Durango.  She grew up this summer and I didn't even think she could any more.

Tiki saw his home country.  A country which held only painful memories of dirt and mean people.  He now knows the beautiful side of Rwanda.  He has positive memories of the orphanage.  He loves the people here.  Of all of us, he connected the most and he yearned for more connection.  He absolutely loved playing with the young boys his age.  He was in his element and he was happier than I have ever seen him.  I think he'll be back to Rwanda one day for more than just a month.  I'm not sure what all he will take away, but at least he'll have these memories.

Dax enjoyed Rwanda.  He was comfortable and relaxed.  He loved the pace.  He, too, enjoyed the local boys (but not like Tiki did).  I'm not sure what all he will take away from this trip, but I know he'll know that I want him to follow his dreams.  

Gabby is a little sad today.  She really had her heart set on finding her mother.  I'm sad for her--even though I knew it wasn't going to happen.  She clang to that hope.  She is very happy in this family and doesn't want another one, but I think she longs for her roots--she longs to have a story she can attach herself to.  I don't know what she will remember of Rwanda.  I'm not sure how many memories I have from when I was seven.  But I hope this will be a bright spot in the fogginess some day.

I love this country.  I've loved this trip.  I know I'll never get another opportunity quite like this and I'm glad that I wasn't too intimidated to take it!

Here are some pictures of our Rwanda (kind of a bicycle & home version)

1 comment:

BrookeS said...

Wow JJ, I'm so proud and inspired and amazed by this journey you took your children on-- what a gift! I'm so thankful that there are parents who are teaching their kids courage and bravery and openness and most of all, love for others different than ourselves. I'm challenged and motivated by your summer adventure. Amazing! You are a fabulous Mama.