Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Friends on a Thousand Hills - Rwanda Part 7

“Oh and by the way, I can see Congo from our car. It’s about 100 yards from me.” I didn’t tell my husband this until we were well away from the border crossing and the city of Goma, which sits just next door from the peace and safety of Rwanda. It felt like a wise decision. . . 
Rwanda-Congo border crossing
When we visited Tate yesterday, which you can read about in my post, Friends on a Thousand Hills – Rwanda Part 6, I didn’t realize just how close to Congo we would be. I knew it was close. I just didn’t know it was so close I could see the people there milling about.

After the emotional visit with our family, translator/minder Miss Annette gave me a beautiful gift. She took me to the shores of Lake Kivu. I was nearly jumping up and down with excitement. I wanted so badly to see this great lake my friends talk about. When we arrived, I ran down to the shore and stood in the water and threw out my arms. It was warm and on another occasion you would have seen me joining the few Rwandans who were swimming.
Lake Kivu

Far out in the distance I saw what looked like an oil drilling platform. I asked our driver Fabrice what that was (I had an idea). It was a methane gas pump. You see, Lake Kivu contains methane gas and recently the Rwandan government began pumping it from the lake to use for energy. Brilliant! I love the ingenuity of this little country.

We then sat on the lawn of a lovely hotel and ordered coffee. A special treat, indeed, for this coffee lover who has been surviving on the instant coffee served at the guesthouse. Rwandans aren’t coffee lovers, although coffee is a big cash crop here.

Annette and I sat on the lawn relaxing after the long drive, the emotional morning and only five hours sleep the previous night (we keep busy here!). I had gone to bed the night before irritated from over tiredness and a packed schedule of events and a lack of alone time that this introvert sorely need. That morning I wrote in my prayer journal asking God to help me allow his emotions to reign in me and not my own cranky pettiness. And he was so good to me. I felt immediately a soothing of my soul, a calming of my senses.

And so we sat together listening to the lapping of the waves, the birds signing, drinking the delicious coffee and it was good. It was good. God knew this was exactly what I needed. 

Finally, I could take the sound of the birds no longer, and I grabbed my binoculars to see what I could see. I trained my eyes on the top of a banana tree where I saw movement but it was pretty dark up there and I stared and stared. And suddenly I gasped. Those were not birds but very, very, very big bats! I would have preferred birds! But I did see one bird walking along the shore of the lake. Oh, and what a bird it was! It was the pre-historic looking, Hamerkop. I excitedly texted a picture to Kevin.

Hamerkop Bird
As we made our way back to Kigali, I turned to wave goodbye to Lake Kivu and Congo. I was sad to go. The border crossing was a bustling crush of humanity and I thought about all that is happening over there and the terror so many still endure. God be with them.

There is something about Rwanda that makes it impossible to rest in the car, or read, or make notes, or send texts, or anything at all except stare and stare and stare out the window. For if you look away for the shortest of moments you might miss something incredible. Like a monkey sitting alongside the road, or a young man riding his bicycle up the steepest of hills while holding onto the back of a tanker truck.

Or you might miss the signs listing the names of the towns we passed through like, Inyange, Rulindo District, Gicumbi, Karambo, Gakenke District, Muryabaziza, Muzanze (the home base for tourists visiting the gorillas and volcano), Ruhengeri Province, Byangabo, Nyihabihu, Ciyambuye, Kabatwa, Bigogwe (our family lives here!!!), Rubavu, Gisenyi Province, Rugegero. 

I wrote down all the names I saw so I could remember the way.

Or you might miss seeing the many, many trails that lead directly off the highway up the steepest of hills. Who lives up there I always wonder? You might miss the sight of a mud brick house built oh so high on the hillside. What a climb that family has and why do they live so very far away from their neighbors?

Everywhere I looked yesterday I saw farming, garden plots, terraced hillsides, sheep even!

You will also see tragedy, like a large semi truck crashed onto its side, with a crush of people gathered around. I looked so hard and tried to see if the driver was okay. My dad is a truck driver. I know how dangerous it is. He’s seen his share of horrible accidents and been in a few himself.

You may also see a moto scooter lying mostly underneath a car with an even larger crowd of people pressing in. Again, I saw no driver and prayed that he was okay.

As we arrived back into Kigali, it was dark and the lights of the city put on a show for us. There is just no looking away from this country, or I would have missed the long line of people standing on the sidewalk holding bundles of clothes they were selling. In the dark.

And so we returned safely from our adventure through western Rwanda and almost Congo. It was the best of days. God is good to me. I hope you know how good he is to you. I hope you know he loves you.

near Rwanda/Congo Border Crossing
In this country Christians are not afraid to talk about their faith like we often are at home. They are not embarrassed of their God. Everyday I hear Annette or another of our friends say, “Yes, God has been good to me.” Or, “Yes, God helped me.” It is said with the ease an American might talk about their favorite television program. I want that. I want you to want it as well.

God be with you.

And please, please, please consider sponsoring one of these beautiful children Africa New Life supports. They need us.

Friends on a  Thousand Hills - Rwanda Part 8

1 comment:

  1. Try to visit kibuye camp and upload more picture of our camp. Thanks for sharing this great things of Rwanda.