On the road by 8am today, through the stunning hills of Kibungo to Cyamigurwa Parish. The tiny guard of honour from the nursery school that greeted us looked more scared than excited but they soon got over their fear and smiled.
Then in to the church where we were greeted by more song and dance, worship here is just so joyful.
After the formalities it was time to distribute 70 goats to the poorest families, these families are chosen by the community as being the most in need. The goats are purchased from within the local area and numbered, then the recipients draw lots to see which goat they will receive. Some goats are quite young and will not breed for a while, others are older and heavily pregnant, due to give birth any day, but there does not appear to be any resentment or jealousy, the recipients are just so delighted to receive a gift which they see as a way to transform their lives.
We spent a happy hour chatting and dancing outside the church where we met a lovely couple who had been married for 45 years. This is fairly rare in this area as so many are widows whose husbands were killed at the time of the genocide.
Then it was time for lunch in the pastors house. Pastor Divine was proud of the fact that she is the only woman pastor in Kibungo Diocese, she made us very welcome and together with all the other church elders and visitors we enjoyed a pleasant lunch, to a cacophony of bleating goats.
The pastors husband proudly showed us his pigs and the room he had built to keep hens. Although he works, he also breeds the livestock to teach the local community how they can improve their lives from very simple beginnings.
All to soon it was time to be back on the road. First a stop to visit the Archdeacon’s church and be welcomed in his home and then we headed to Gahima Parish where 70 goats were distributed in October 2021. They had been distributed between 5 sub parishes but the 20 recipients from Gahima were gathered in the church to greet us and give their testimonies.
The initial church gathering is very formal and so we soon moved outside where everyone relaxed and the usual hugging, dancing and hair touching took place. Despite the conversations being relayed through an interpreter it is lovely to share fellowship with the communities, they are interested in our families and children, and ask about life in the UK, and how our worship compares to Rwanda. We cannot lie, theirs is far more joyful and spontaneous.
Then en mass we headed off along the tracks to visit some of the homes where goats had been received. As always when we head off into the villages on foot chaos ensues, as local children surge around wanting to touch but scared at the same time, they creep up behind us but run away screaming if we turn to look at them. We usually win them round though.
The homes we visited were certainly modest and we prayed at each one for God’s blessings to be on the family and for the goats to remain healthy and be productive. Such a simply gift can ensure health insurance, school fees, food and clothes are not beyond the reach of these families.
This is our last day in Kibungo Diocese, and as we headed back to the hotel sad farewells were said to some of those who have accompanied us over the last few days.
Providing our washing is found before the morning we will be leaving early tomorrow (7am), and a new adventure will begin in the hills of Byumba. Please pray for journey mercies as we travel.