Monday, September 7, 2009

7th September 2009

Today is the first day of classes. We just got back yesterday from a week in Rwanda. We spent the first two days in Gahini, a diocese in Rwanda where the East African Revival was started. The place where we ate every meal was overlooking a lake. It was beautiful.
We then travelled to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, and were there for 4 days. Our time in Kigali was spent doing a lot of travelling around and hearing different speakers. We went to two genocide memorials, heard from survivors, and heard speakers talk about the Revival and the after effects of the genocide. The forgiveness and reconciliation that is going on there between survivors and perpetrators is inspiring. In the rural areas, they come from the same villages, and some are now living and working together again. With God’s strength, that kind of love is possible.
In Kigali, we also met with some missionaries. One lady talked about environmental sustainability, and also business as missions. Another is working with Food for the Hungry, and they work with local artisans to get their products sold in different parts of the world. Other missionaries we met with talked about relief and development in Rwanda. We also toured a card-making business called Cards From Africa that employs orphans of the genocide. The cards are made from recycled paper and they are really neat. I think CFA has a website. Check it out.
For the last two days of our trip we stayed at Bunyonyi Lake in Kabale, Uganda. We took a little boat out to an island called Bushara, and I think we had the whole island to ourselves, other than the workers. It was beautiful! We stayed in canvas tents that were really nice. They had beds and a table and chairs inside, and then a sink on the porch, and an outdoor shower and toilet. The tent I was in had a beautiful view. When we unzipped the door, we could look out over the lake, with mountains in the background. It was such a relaxing time. We had all of Saturday afternoon free, and so people swam, jumped off a rope swing, and went boating. A group of us played Ultimate Frisbee, which was a lot of fun.
Sunday we woke up really early and drove back to our homestays. Traffic was pretty slow since most Ugandan children go to boarding school, so everyone was taking their children to school because classes start today.
Now there are 10 of us in my home. My sister who is a teacher may end up staying at the school she is teaching at because they transferred her and now she is farther away. I thought my other sister was going to be living at school, but she was at the house last night, and still in bed when I left this morning. Three of the boys go to school, and then Peter and I come to campus so he can work and I will go to classes. Usually our evenings consist of watching TV and waiting for dinner to be ready, which is anytime from 8:30-10:30. TV will sometimes be news, but last night we watched a documentary about Martin Luther King Jr. and then a Spanish soap opera, which was dubbed over in English. It’s pretty terrible actually, but somewhat funny to watch. The mornings are really interesting. This morning someone was either watching TV or listening to the radio at 3 a.m. And you can hear everything all over the house, since the walls are not attached to the roof, so sound travels through that opening. My host dad will wake up everyone to say good morning, which is usually about 4:30 or 5. Then we can try to keep sleeping until we need to get up. Since I go to bed right after I eat, usually getting up early isn’t too big of a deal.
Classes start today. I have three this afternoon, but every day is different, so it will take a while to get used to everything. I have five classes, which are Faith and Action (which all the USP students are in), African Literature, African Traditional Religions, Missions Practicum, and Reading the New Testament in Africa. I am excited about them. I think they will be really interesting.
The group of students that are here are awesome. We had a lot of bonding time during this past week, and I’m excited to continue growing closer as a group.
Thanks for your prayers and taking time to read my updates!

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