Rwanda Journey – Day 4

Sunday and Monday

Before I start talking about Sunday, let me tell you about a very significant event from Saturday. When we were in Boniflid’s home we gave her a small gift, then Bev gave her son a soccer ball with a pump and an inflation needle. Way to go, Bev! You rock!

On Saturday night, I had a visit with the new General Secretary of the Baptist Churches in Rwanda. Since they are affiliated with Canadian Baptist Ministries, we discovered that we had a lot of mutual acquaintances. We had a very enjoyable conversation as he prepared me to preach the next morning.

The service started at 10:30 a.m. and lasted until about 12:45 p.m. You would not believe the singing and dancing. I couldn’t believe their almost innate sense of rhythm. If you think you detect jealousy on my part, you are probably right because I consider it a major achievement when I can walk and chew gum at the same time!

I was very uncomfortable thinking about preaching through an interpreter but Dominique did a magnificent job. I was pleased with the response and I will choose to believe they were responding to the sermon I had prepared and not to one that Dominique was making up as I was speaking. Am I suffering from denial!?

We were told that two Members of Parliament attended this church and one had just been elected in a by-election and was present. The governor of a northern state was also worshipping with us. He can’t attend every Sunday as it is a 2 ½-hour drive. (Wow, that makes my complaining about having to walk a block and half to my church sound pretty lame.) After the worship service we had an opportunity to meet and chat with them.

To say that Monday started early would be an understatement. I was awake at 4:30 (that’s AM not PM), had breakfast at 5:30, and left for Akagera National Park at 6:00.

Biking with bananasBefore I write about the park itself I want to talk a bit about some general observations on life in Rwanda. On both sides of the road were long lines of pedestrians and cyclists. Some were on their way to pick up their water for the day in 5-gallon plastic jugs. Many of them carried bundles on their heads – bundles of firewood for cooking, bags of maize flour and bananas. The bicycles were really two-wheel trucks to carry whatever needed carrying. We saw as many as three people pushing bikes up hills because the load was too heavy. And some were children on their way to school. We also saw a lot of taxi bikes. A lot of motorcycles operated as taxis. The drivers wore advertising vests, mostly advertising for the local cellular service, Tigo. Some of the bikes had as many as three huge banana bunches that we were told would fetch about 4,000 Rwandan Francs at the market. Before you get too excited, that translates into about $8. A lot of work for a small amount of money.

Our guide’s name was Charles and he looked very familiar to me. I asked him if he was working there in 2007 when I made my first trip to Rwanda and he said he had been working at Akagera for 15 years. I checked my old pictures and sure enough it was the same man!

BaboonWe saw Savannah or Cape Buffalo, giraffes, monkeys, impala and many, many baboons. We saw a number of mothers carrying babies clinging to their tummies. Did I mention that we saw some baboons?

We also saw the most dangerous animal in Africa, the one that kills more people every year in Africa than any other. I’m not talking about lions or leopards, I’m talking about hippos. Hippos are herbivores. Have you ever noticed how heavy they are? That’s what can happen if you only eat salad!

Read about our visit to the BSR office in the next blog post, Rwanda journey – Day 5

About the Author:

Len Bachiu is the Director of Ministry Advancement for Manitoba and Saskatchewan. He loves to write and share about his experiences through his blogsite, Keeping the Son in My Eyes – keepingthesoninmyeyes.wordpress.com.

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