Meet Domina: A Reflection On Motherhood

Yevette Garcia is the Servant Teams Coordinator for Lahash, serving in Rwanda from January to June of 2019. Getting to know a woman named Domina has impacted her deeply, especially as she reflects on the love of her own mother and the love of Christ. It is common to celebrate mothers in the U.S. during May, yet it is rare to find such a unique expression of motherhood as Yevette has observed in the life of this Rwandan woman who is now in her eighties. However, in a country forever changed by the 1994 genocide, stories like Domina’s are more common than you might think. Our thanks to Yevette for sharing a bit of Domina’s story with us.

 

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”
(Proverbs 31:25)

Resilient. Poised. Hard-working. Powerful. Protective. Selfless.

These are a few of the words that come to mind when I think of the women in East Africa. They are grandmothers, mothers, and daughters; they are the powerhouses of these communities. They rise every morning to a new day of caring for their families.

I know women here who are living in poverty, yet have taken in children not their own. Women who walk more than 5 miles a day to fetch water and complete their daily tasks. They are entrepreneurs, laborers, and comforters to their children. I look at them and see the joy in their laughter, the strength in their eyes, and I am brought to tears. One woman in particular, Domina, is someone I admire and have grown to love deeply.

Domina is in her eighties, and is the caregiver to Alice, a five-year-old little girl in the Lahash Sponsorship Program here at Rebuilding Rwanda. Domina found Alice abandoned as a baby, with no one to care for her. (You can find out a bit more about their story in this post called Alice Joins The Family.) Alice now has a sponsor through Lahash, and Domina walks Alice to the Saturday program day every week. She is unable to stand up straight due to back pain and old age, so she uses a walking stick to help her move about and keep up with little Alice. Most of the time, she stays and waits for Alice through the entire duration of the program. I’ll sometimes find her sleeping on the grass or napping in a chair while she waits.

Domina reminds me of my mother, and I never fail to tell her that whenever I get the chance. Much like my mother, she is there for Alice no matter what. Although frail and with ailments of her own, Domina sets herself aside for the betterment and well-being of her loved ones. She not only cares for this little girl, but her husband as well. Domina washes their clothes by hand, cooks their one daily meal over a charcoal fire, and continues the routine with each passing day.

Domina chose the role of mothering Alice in spite of her advanced age, knowing very well what the physical and emotional demands would be. Domina is a mother who is no stranger to grief, having lost all of her children during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She has shown me time and again what resilience and hope looks like. I admire and love Domina’s strength and dignity in the midst of all that she has endured. She is, as Proverbs 31 describes, “honored for all that her hands have done.” It is a privilege to be in the company of Domina and other women like her, who have survived trials that are hard to imagine and yet they still give selflessly to others in need.

I see in her life a testament of Christ’s love and pursuit of us. Much like Domina waits for Alice every Saturday, I believe that God waits for us each day, eager for us to come to his feet and be loved fully. Thank you, Domina, for expanding your family even in the midst of your own grief, for loving others fully, and for reminding me of the unlimited power of Christ’s love.

 

Rebuilding Rwanda seeks to support many families like Domina and Alice’s, new families that have been created in the wake of the genocide. There are children there still waiting to be matched with sponsors. So if you would like to support a child in Rwanda, please visit lahash.org/sponsorship.

You can also support Yevette and her team financially as they continue serving alongside our ministry partners at Rebuilding Rwanda. Follow this link to make your tax deductible donation online: Give To Servant Teams.