Lahash Travelers: Rwanda Update

From Kigali, Rwanda by Josh Petersen:

Our team arrived safely in Kigali on Monday the 18th, and we have been enjoying our time here.

Our new friends at ERM have been wonderful hosts. George Rwuambari is the Africa Coordinator for ERM and has been able to show us around Kigali and give us a good picture of ERM’s local ministry. The organization has been around for several years doing child sponsorship, care of widows from the genocide, and operating a trade school.

George introduces Lahash travelers Josh and Leisha to some of the ERM kids.

On Tuesday the team went with George and Heather (who runs the sponsorship program at ERM) to visit some of the sponsored kids. We met two amazing kids, Patrick and Gentille (a beautiful French name). We were given a chance to talk with the kids and their families as well as visit their homes and catch a glimpse of what life is like for them. Beside visiting the kids we also spent time talking with ERM staff and Board members about what a partnership with Lahash will look like. We had a chance to listen to their dreams and vision for Rwanda. It has been encouraging to us to hear how much in common we have with ERM in our desire to see vulnerable kids grow up to be strong, secure people who want to love God and serve others.

Students learning to weld at ERM’s trade school.

Josh shows off his new braids!

Wednesday we visited the trade schools in Kigali and in the small, remote village of Rwagandabari. It was incredible to see the kids at the Kigali location learning how to become welders, carpenters, masons, seamstresses, and hairdressers, along with many other practical skills. I was blessed to get my hair done by a group of excited young people learning how to dress hair for a living. They exclaimed that now they will know how to do a mzungu’s hair next time one is around! In the village trade school they only had the option of learning to sew for now, since it is a much smaller location. However, we met with some of the mothers of the village who have kids in the sponsorship program. Some of whom were survivors of the genocide.

After our conversation with the women who survived the genocide, we spent time at one of the genocide memorials in Kigali. This experience prompted thoughts in me about what our place is in addressing such issues around the world. I often feel so small when I hear about the large issues in our world. But, I was reminded by the women in Rwagandabari that we all have our place in caring for our neighbors. One of the village grandmothers has taken in other children and cares for any who come by her doorstep. I am humbled by her example. It shows me that we all have a place as servants of others in this life, whether we serve those across the world or across the street.

A Rwandan grandmother shares her story with the Lahash team.

We have been blessed by meeting the team of servants from ERM here in Rwanda. I am so excited as we travel on to Uganda to meet with those who serve there. We are ready, here we are Lord, send us.