We surprise the WASH team with a visit. I want to check up on them, encourage them, and surprise them with some new clothes since they have been working in the North for two weeks with only small sacks of belongings. Larry wants to inspect the tank. The church is supposed to be very near the town of Byumba but as usual 5 minutes turns into a 20 minute drive and a paved road turns into a dirt path meandering to Kageyo as rain falls softly.
The students sit on hard wooden, backless benches for the two day seminar. They are leaning forward, paying close attention as two women explain their drawing, made with pride yesterday at the beginning of the training. Ignacie asks about the changes that they would now like to make as a result of the things they have learned. When people don’t know about germs, don’t understand that poop is a big source of germs, then animals and latrines contaminate water sources. Now, they know better and vow to help their village make healthy changes.
I am so proud of our Rwandan teachers. They are skilled teachers but they are also country folks and know how to talk with these country folks as equals. They make it fun for people to participate and they make it easy for these proud, hard working men and women to accept life changes without shame or condescension.
I ask the students if they have learned anything new and they burst into spontaneous applause and emphatically say “yego!” yes! I ask the students if the trainers have done a good job and again the class enthusiastically applauds. Esther, Anastasie, and Ignacie smile big smiles of satisfaction for spending time with people eager to learn and improve and for sharing lessons that will impact the next generation of (healthier) children.
The pastor, John Bosco, a shy and reserved fellow invites us outside to see the tank. Children are hanging around, peering in the church windows to watch the class. They flock around us, smiling and chatting.
Church members obviously built the foundation themselves and the lack of professional help shows. They built the foundation too big but skimped on cement which costs a lot for a poor church like this. The rocks and dirt are already eroding. Pastor John Bosco pounds on the tank so we can hear that it is half full of water, filling jerrycans and making life better. He musters his best English to tell us how much the water is helping his church, the children, and other people who live here. “Murokoze, Murokoze chane, chane.” Thank you, thank you so much!
We hand someone our camera and they carefully press the button on the unfamiliar device. Larry and I will bring back Costco 8x10s for the pastor. We will save a copy for ourselves to remember another rewarding day in Rwanda.