Today we attended a two and a half hour service in Kinyrwandan at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kibagabaga. We met Hope, the field assistant who oversees the sponsorship, unfortunately Chantal was in Geneva so we were unable to meet with her.
After the service we shared lunch with about 75 of the sponsored children and some of their parents, and then a time of interaction which was, as always, an absolute joy. Ranging in age from 5 to about 19, once they got over their shyness and reluctance to try out their English, these children and young people were mainly bright and engaging. Many gave us messages for their sponsors, asking us to tell them how much they loved them and appreciated the support they had received, they were especially grateful for the food they received through Covid, many telling us how they would often not have eaten at all without the food they received when their sponsorship was not required for school fees.
More than one child was overwhelmed as they hugged us, and shed tears of joy that they could see us face to face, often reluctant to let go of our hands. We would have needed hearts of stone not to be moved by these children.
Covid has delayed their education by two years, for some this means that they are 16 – 18 years old and still in primary school. Realistically these young people will be unlikely to progress to senior school. We will be considering if support can be offered for short vocational training courses for those for whom it is appropriate.
Back to the guest house for 5.30pm and a surprise visit from Maurice who was our driver when we visited in 2013. Now a pastor and married to Hope, it was lovely to see him again.