Sunday, April 4, 2010

So Many Intersting Stories

I realize that it has been over two weeks since I updated my blog and that I need to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening. I have been busy with projects and school work. The water well project is over budget and I am trying to find ways to cut cost so we can complete the project. It looks like I have it somewhat under control so I should be able to get it finished. Construction here is real eye opener. There are so many things to consider, plus working for an NGO does not help you get the best pricing. I have really had to work with the contractors to get the pricing in line - not a thing I like to do.

The chicken houses are coming along really well and we will be placing our first group of chicks in early May. Everyone is really pleased with the way this project is turning out and we will soon be able to provide a good source of protein to the children at Sonrise School and Shyira Hospital.

Speaking of Shyira Hospital, I just got back from spending 3 days with the King family at Shyira. Caleb King and his wife, both doctors, are medical missionaries who have been running Shyira Hospital for the past seven years. This is a remote hospital on top of one of the mountains about 15 kilometers from Musanze. The Kings came in and rebuilt this facility after it was nearly destroyed during the genocide in 1994. The hospital is powered by two generators, one of which is broken, and some solar panels which are only partially operational. By the standards we are use to in the United States, you would have to say that the facilities are primitive. A good reliable source of power would be a great help not only to the hospital, but to the schools in the nearby area.  I have added that to the list of new projects I am currently working on. We are wanting to build a hydro electric power plant in the valley near the hospital. What and improvement that would be for the whole area.

While I was at Shyira I met so many interesting people. I apologize for not remembering all the names, but there were just so many that it was hard to keep up with them all. I met a couple from Germany. They are Baptists working as medical missionaries for the Anglican Church in the area of HIV/AIDS and they are in the process of constructing a hospice. Who would have ever thought that I would meet German Baptist missionaries sent to work in Africa by the Anglican Church? I also met three young ladies working in the area, two just out of college from the US and one just out of high school from Germany. One girl from the US was working at the hospital and the other two were working at the primary school near by. It is great to see how God brings all these diverse people together to work in hospitals and schools that most people didn't know existed.

For those that are interested in Google Earth, Shyira Hospital is located at 1° 40' 56" S and 29° 37' 44.3" E.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Work Continues

I am sorry that I have not updated my blog is some time, but it has been rather hectic for me the past two weeks. I have started my online class from Memphis Theological Seminary and I have been working on my Master's project, so I have not felt much like blogging. I am not much of a writer anyway, so it does not take much to distract me. All of the construction projects are coming along well. The chicken houses will be complete soon and then we will have the largest egg laying operation in all of Rwanda. The chicken expert from the largest chicken producer in the world, who shall remain nameless for now, was very excited to see the progress we had made. He is also looking forward to getting the chicks in place so that we can prove that this operation will work in Rwanda. The water project at Sonrise is also coming along well, and I hope to have it complete in another 6 weeks.

There is just so much to do here and there are so many places someone can become involved.  Just this past weekend I was asked to look at a potential hydroelectric power plant. They need someone with a background in several different areas of Civil engineering including open channel flow and design of small dams. If anyone in interested in coming and helping on this for a few months let me know.

 I want to let everyone know that all but two items that were stolen during the break-in have been recovered, and how they were recovered is a great story. One of the kids, Kelly Simpson, has posted the story on her blog and I highly recommend that you read her account. It is an extremely interesting story.

 I have included some pictures below from the power plant sight. It is a beautiful area.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

The generator building

The generator building and river

A view of the river

One of the rapids

One of the many waterfalls in the area

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It is not always easy.

Well, all I can say is that this has been a hard week and I can’t believe that it has been ten days since my last post. Where do I start? Why don’t I bring you up to date on some of the construction projects and then move to some of the other things that have been happening.

The chicken houses are progressing nicely and we will have one house completed by the end of next week. The other three should follow quickly and all four houses should be finished by mid April. We should know by mid March when we will get our first chicks and then we will know when we can expect egg production to start. It has been an eye opening experience to watch these houses being constructed. The use of native materials, stone and timber, along with the fact that no power tools have been used, shows what can be done with the right craftsman putting it together.

I also spent time last week tracking down electrical problems at Sonrise Secondary School. It seems that when the latest building was constructed, there was a voltage problem with the outside light and all the florescence bulbs and starters were burned out. We have replaced most of the bulbs and starters, but there are a few that we cannot access.  Extension ladders are hard to find and we have not found an alternate way of reaching some of the fixtures.

I did travel to Kigali this past week to look at another little construction project. It seems that a section of a retaining wall collapsed at the house of one of the Rwandan employees of Bridge2Rwanda. I went down to try to determine the cause of the collapse and to try and identify how to best fix the problem. Since this happened after a heavy rain, I am certain that the water build up behind the wall caused the wall to fall. I am traveling back to Kigali on Tuesday or Wednesday to meet with a contractor to get a quote for repairing the wall.

I have also completed my preliminary engineering work on the water well at Sonrise School. I will be meeting with school officials next week to go over the design and get their input. I still have a long way to go on this project. I have to get material pricing and estimates from contractors on building the pump house and tank foundations. An engineering team from Baylor is coming top work on a water purification system for the well, and I am working on getting them the information they need.

At this point, all I can say is that I have done it again. I have bitten off more than I can chew. I don’t know why I have a hard time telling people no when it comes to church. Please don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying my work at the church, but I think I have more than I can handle. Wait – I know I have more than I can handle!. Like I said in my last post, the English service has the same problems that all churches have - youth, music, Sunday School, communications, you name it, they have it, and if I were working there full time I might be able to make a dent, but with my engineering and construction responsibilities getting in the way, I find that I barely have time to prepare a sermon. I am not sure what I am going to do when my Memphis Theological online class starts!  The church work is challenging, and while I think the preaching experiences are good, I don’t now and never have seen myself as a preacher. It's nice being called Pastor Bob, but I don't think that is really my role.   I am going to have to spend some time working this out and trying to determine what my role should be in the church. I just know that I have more than I can handle now.

 We also suffered through an unfortunate incident on Wednesday night. Our house was broken into and several items were stolen. Four laptop computers were taken, along with a backpack, camera, a computer monitor, a wireless router, a kindle, an Ipod Touch and several other miscellaneous things around the house.  We are not sure how this happened, but the back door was wide open on Thursday morning.  We are unsure of whether the robber had a key or whether by some mishap the door was left unlocked during the night.  We spent all of Thursday morning with the police and they seem to be doing a good investigation.  Andrew Rucyahana, Bishop John’s son, was been a huge help and blessing for us.  He helped with the translation and with the police. The police have our guards in custody, yes we had guard on duty at the time, and they feel like the night guard and his brother are involved with the robbery. (The brother sometimes substitutes for the regular night guard.)  The district police commander lives across the street and he has become involved. It appears that this is a very high profile incident. Hopefully, we will hear something soon and the police can recover some of the stolen items. I was very lucky that none of the items stolen were mine.

Thanks again for your continued prayers and support. Maybe I will have some more upbeat news next week. I have been thinking about writing “Driving in Rwanda part 2.”

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Chicken House No. 1 ready for roofing!

Bio-security house nearly ready for the roof!

Chicken House 2 is ready for ceiling joist and roof.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Settling In

I am quickly settling into my new role as one of the ministers at St John the Baptist. I visited one of the villages south of Musanze where the diocese is building a new church. To say that the road to get to the village is rough would be a little bit of an understatement.  I will have to say that the church has one of the best views I have ever seen. The church is located on top of a mountain with a broad valley opening up to the west. Every church should have such a view of God’s creation. (see the pictures below) I also visited with the children that attend the village nursery school. This school was started by the diocese to give the children in this village a good start toward an education. When they are old enough for primary school they will attend a boarding school in Musanze. It will have to be a boarding school because the only way they have to get there is to walk, and the distance is too great to make the walk on a daily basis.

I attended my first church committee meeting and found that I was right at home. The concerns they have at St. John the Baptist are the same concerns I have heard at every church I have attended. How do we get the youth interested in attending worship and joining the choir? What about the music? Are we using the right music? Could we use more of the old hymns? The Mothers Union (women’s ministry) has a strong group, but we need to strengthen the Fathers (men’s ministry). How do we do outreach? We need more social events so everyone can get to know each other.  Honestly, until this committee meeting, I was really concerned about how I would fit in and what I could in reality do for the English service.  After this meeting it has become clear why I was called to this task. I now have a goal, one that I feel that I am qualified to undertake, and that goal is Sunday School. Currently the English service does not have a Sunday School and that is going to be one of my top priorities. We can address so many of the current concerns by establishing a good Sunday School program.  Do I sound Baptist or what?  I think Sunday School is a Baptist mantra. I told them that were taking a chance putting a Baptist in charge.  I am not sure if the English service is going to be Anglican-Baptist or Baptist-Anglican, but I will say I am learning a lot about the Book of Common Prayer and the lectionary.

Let’s see – I came to help build a University, and now I am the pastor for the English service at St John the Baptist Cathedral, construction project manager for the building of 4 chicken houses, design engineer and project manager for a water system at Sonrise School, and I am the maintenance engineer for Sonrise and possibly the Cathedral. Oh, and I am also teaching “Lead like Jesus” to the managers and supervisors at Ishema Hotel - the hotel that is owned by the diocese. I just don’t know what I am going to do in my spare time...

If you would like to preach at the English service at St John the Baptist Cathedral, please let me know and I will but you on the schedule. I am also looking for youth Sunday school teachers if anyone would like to apply.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 Front of the Church

Inside the building

The view

More of the view

 The kids!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A New Path

Have you ever had God hit you something totally unexpected? I can only think of it happening once or twice to me in the past and they weren’t things that I really saw as being from God until much later. But I will have to say that God has hit me with something unexpected, and boy was it colossal. On Tuesday the other Bridge2Rwanda personnel here in Musanze and I had a meeting with Bishop John Rucyahana about our work and the projects we had ahead of us. That is when he dropped what felt like to me was a small bomb. He said he wanted me to take over the English service at the cathedral (St John the Baptist Cathedral) and grow the service. He also said he wanted me to help with the planting of English services in the surrounding villages. When I heard this, I had two reactions. One was that it had to be from God because I had preached my first “official” sermon at the cathedral, and two, it scared me to death. I didn’t sleep well Tuesday night and it took a while for me to process what God might have in mind. I am not going to pretend to know how this will work out, but I think I might as well enjoy the ride. After not being able to sleep, it finally came to me that I needed to develop a scriptural basis for my ministry while I am here in Rwanda. Now I can’t claim to ever have had a vision or had God speak to me in a dream, but something directed me to Mark 12: 28-34. If you are not familiar with this passage it is where Jesus asks, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” I have taken verse 31 of this passage for the basis of my ministry here in Rwanda; “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”….

Today (Friday) I met again with Bishop John and the pastors and deacons I would be working with at the Cathedral. I guess now it is official. I am one of the ministers at St John the Baptist Cathedral. I have an office and will have to attend staff meetings. I even have to meet with the English worship service committee. That’s right, even Anglican churches have committees. Now all this raises a question; do I need to move my membership from Trinity to St John? (Just kidding) I told the Bishop that he was a brave man putting a Baptist in charge of a service in an Anglican church, but you know there is a lot more that we agree on theologically than we disagree on. We can work together and build a ministry that will serve all Rwandans. When I told him that I felt that the basis of my ministry should be “love your neighbor as yourself” he told a story about Abraham Lincoln. He said that Lincoln once said that if he could find a church that practiced loving their neighbors as themselves, that would be the church he would join. I believe God has put me here for this task and has laid out a path for me to follow.

But you can’t tell me that God does not have a sense of humor. A Tennessee Baptist, graduating from a Cumberland Presbyterian seminary in May, is going to be in charge of an English service in an African Anglican church! How mixed up can you get? As my good friend Mike Young of Tennessee CBF said to me, “sounds like the Kingdom of God to me!” How true Mike … how true!

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Living in Rwanda Part 1

 It is a rainy Sunday morning. I just got back from church, and thought I would catch up on some of the things that happened this week and give you some more insight into living in Rwanda.

I met with the contractor, Haki Construction, on Friday to discuss the progress on the Chicken Houses, and they are progressing very well. We should be ready to place our first group of chicks in March. But this is the boring stuff for most folks. I know that you would prefer to hear about the daily ins and outs of living in Musanze, so I think I will write about one of my favorite subjects - food.

If you are looking for fresh vegetables and fruit the main market in Musanze is the place to go. There are rows and rows of fresh beans, bananas, pineapples, mangos, tomatoes, potatoes, green peppers… you get the picture. All of these items are available at a very reasonable, and in some cases, very cheap cost. As an example a fresh pineapple costs about $0.40 to $0.50. I bet you can’t find a deal like that at Kroger. However, the market does play with American sensibilities. It is usually crowded, and since the people selling are local farmers they do not speak English. While I would not classify the smell as offensive, it is very different than what most of Americans are accustom to in a farmers' market. I would advise staying away from the meat area. Think open air without refrigeration and you may get the picture. While we do go to the market and prepare some meals at the house, we have not been able to establish a good routine. I usually have coffee and yogurt for breakfast and a peanut butter and banana sandwich (thank you Elvis) for lunch, then go to one of the hotels for supper if we don’t cook. The hotels have very good menus and are very reasonably priced. Spaghetti will cost about $4 to $5 and a ham sandwich with French fries and a salad is $4.35 at one of the hotels. The fish is good along with the goat (hey I like the grilled goat) and beef, but I would advise staying away from the chicken. I have had chicken more than once and it has been as tough as leather every time. I wish there was some way to get Gus’s fried chicken shipped here from Memphis.

I did go to church this morning, and since it was raining attendance was down. I guess it was down - at least it was less than the two previous Sundays. I think I have said before that the service is a unique blend running from liturgical to slightly charismatic. I really enjoy all parts of the service and can connect with much of the liturgy because of my studies in church history. The music would be classified as contemporary if we were in America with many of the arrangements having a definite Mo-Town or jazz feel. We had communion today and it was somewhat different than what I have experienced in the Baptist Church. We heard the familiar scriptures about Jesus taking the bread and the cup, but then went down front to receive the bread and the wine. (Yes, Baptists it was real wine) It was not done with a common cup like you might picture in a liturgical church, but with individual small plastic cups. Overall it was a great experience and a memory that I will take with me when I leave Rwanda.

My week ahead seems to be filling up. I have meetings with Haki Construction, design on the water system at Sonrise, and possible meetings with the maintenance staff at Sonrise to see what building problems they have and where I can help them. I have also become the unofficial coordinator for the Baylor engineering team that is working on water purification for the Sonrise Schools.

Thanks again for you prayers, e-mails, Facebook posts, and blog comments. They all mean a lot to me.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Driving in Rwanda

To tell the truth I was not sure whether to title this post “Driving in Rwanda” or “How to build Chicken Houses in Rwanda” – driving won. On Tuesday I had a meeting with the contractor building the chicken houses at the construction site (see pictures below), and did not have anyone to act as my driver. I knew this moment would come sooner or later so I had to bite the bullet and drive out to the site. But first I had to drive to downtown Musanze and pick up Beau. Beau is the Rwandan director for the chicken operation and he road the bus from Kigali to Musanze to attend the meeting. After I picked up Beau we drove out to the construction site where we had a very productive meeting with the contractor. Everything is on schedule and I am looking forward to when the houses will be producing eggs.

As for the driving - the good thing is the speed. Most of the roads are rough so you don’t dare drive at to high a speed – the bad thing is the motorcycles and bicycles! There are hundreds of little motorcycles that are used as taxies in Kigali and in Musanze and generally if they have an opening, no matter how small, they take it. It does not matter if they pass you on the right or the left or if you are turning. The bicycles are somewhat the same, but they have less opportunity to get out of the way, so they tend to be a little more cautious. The roads are also crowded with people walking, and they don’t just walk on the side of the road - many times they will take up 1/3 of the road itself. Well needless to say I had to pay close attention to everything around me. At least the speed was less than 30mph in most cases. I made it through in one piece and without hurting anyone. I have been told that I am to get a truck to be used for the construction projects I will be working on, so I guess I will be driving a lot more. I am not sure how I feel about that.

As you can see from the pictures, construction here is much the same as in many third world countries. We are using as much native material as possible for the chicken houses as they are being constructed in a local manner. The few pictures I have posted give you some idea of what I am talking about.

Well it is time for me to take off my construction hat and put on my IT hat and work on getting an internet connection here at the house. Again, thanks for all the prayers and the feedback on Facebook.

Ready for rafters later this week?

Lifting ceiling joist into place. Muhabura is in the background.

Part of the road into the sight. This is as far as I wanted to go

 Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Sermon

I guess my sermon today went well. If you were to ask me I would say it was ok, but sure nothing write home about, or even blog about. Of course everyone was nice and said I did a good job. The kids all thought it was good, so maybe I am not the best judge of my own work.

The whole experience was very interesting - from the robes, to the processional, to the liturgy - and the music is very different from what I have experienced in the past and that is a good thing. I am learning a lot about the Anglican Church in Rwanda and it is an experience that I will remember the rest of my life. Since the scripture was set, I had to develop a sermon based on Psalm 116. While this might not have been a problem for seasoned preachers, it presented me with several challenges. These challenges included culture, language, and denominational differences. The denominational thing did not bother me and I think I handled that aspect well. The culture and language were different matters all together. While this was an "English" service, most of those attending were not fluent, so I am sure that my brand of Tennessee English left some wondering what I was saying!

There was one point during the service that gave me a bid of a jolt. I was prepared to speak about 15 minutes because that is about as long as I can speak at a single stretch, and because I thought that is about as long as anyone would want to hear me speak. The pastor walked over to me during the hymn before the sermon and told me I should speak for 25 minutes. I looked at him and ask if 15 would be ok and his response was that it should be longer. Well this was some what of a shock and the only thing I could think of at the moment was that my slow southern speech would have to get slower. I was able to stretch it out to a compromise of 20 minutes by going into a little more background on the scripture itself, but if I am asked back next time I will know better.

Overall it was a great experience and I will do it again if asked. If they do ask, and I am not sure they will, I hope that I get to pick the scripture. It sure would make coming up with a 25 minute sermon easier.

I have a lot to this week. Work on the chicken houses is progressing and I am finishing the design on the water well, piping, and storage at Sonrise School. I have also stated looking for somewhere to buy the materials we will need for the well. At this point I am not sure when my next blog update will be, but at the moment I am shooting for Wednesday.

I want to say a special thank you to everyone who is praying for me and my work in Rwanda.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This morning I am sitting in my “office” (see picture below) working on my sermon for Sunday. The scripture for the sermon is Psalm 116 with an emphasis on verse 12. The pastor told me that the theme for this Sunday is thanksgiving and that I need to be at the church at 7:15 (the service starts at 7:30) to get my robe (I hope they have one that will fit me) and march in the processional. Thanksgiving should be an easy subject to talk about, but I am concerned about cultural references that might not be understood. “Lost in translation” is a real concern and I want to do a good job since it is first “official” sermon. My “office” should help provide the needed inspiration.

The “kids” all went to Kigali yesterday afternoon, but promised that they would be back Saturday afternoon so they could go to church and hear me preach on Sunday. I don’t know if I have said it before, but they are a great bunch and it is fun playing surrogate father to them.

There are times when I wish I were a story teller, and this is one of those times. A rather humorous incident occurred this week and I am not sure I can do it justice in my blog, but here goes. It occurred on Tuesday morning as I was leaving to go to Hotel Gorillas for breakfast. I had just walked out of the drive onto the main road when two young boys said bonjour. Being the great language person I am, I answered them, but apparently not quite correctly because a little Italian nun who was walking by at the same time took it upon herself to try and help correct me. Since she did not speak English, and I didn’t speak anything else, it became quite a sight with her smiling at me, shaking her head while trying to give language lessons to the dense American. I found out later that she is the head of the convent that is next door to the Bridge2Rwanda house.

I had better get back to my sermon. I think my next update will be on Sunday after church. I will let you know if the robe fits.

This is where I worked on my sermon.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yesterday did not start well.

First, the shower in my bathroom broke and when I went to purchase a new assembly, the person at the hardware store dropped the box, and I found that it was broken when I got it to the house. Returns are not something a non native wants to get into, so I took parts for the old unit and fixed the new one. Most plumbing fixtures here come from China and are very easily broken, so I had to be extra careful installing the new fixture. I got it in and it works for now.

Second, I was just told that the washing machine is broken, and now I will need to see if I can fix that as well. I think I will go to La Palm hotel and have lunch and send some e-mails. You just about have to go to one of the hotels to get internet service.
I am back from lunch. The La Palm has a great grilled ham sandwich. It comes with french fries and a salad all for $4.35, but don’t expect to get in and out in a hurry. It usually takes 1 to 2 hours for lunch or dinner depending on what you order.

It is 3:00 PM and I need to get back to work. I guess I had better start on the construction estimates and see if there is any way we can reduce the cost. Hopefully, I will be at Sonrise School tomorrow and can take some pictures to post to Facebook. I also need to start working on the water well layout.

I did get a call tonight from the pastor in charge of the Anglican Cathedral while Bishop John is out of town. He asked if I would preach this Sunday at the English service. I don’t know what to think. The first preaching gig I get and it is at an Anglican Church - in Africa! I am looking forward to this opportunity, but I am nervous as well. Please pray that things go well and that they can understand me!

I guess you could call this my office since it is where I normally work.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Monday, January 25, 2010


I attended the English worship service at the Anglican Church (Bishop John’s church) in Musanze yesterday. It was an experience that is some what hard to describe. The underlying pattern for the service was Anglican with many of the prayers a true Anglican would recognize, but in addition there were modern choruses with the words projected on the wall at the side of the alter. There were also some standard hymns again with the words projected on the wall. On top of this there was a slight charismatic feel with some hand raising and some clapping. The service started at 7:30 am (don’t get any ideas Pastor Richard) and was attended by about 50 to 60 people. The majority were Rwandan with our group of seven Americans being the only ex-pats there. Overall it was a great experience! I think that I have found my church for my stay here in Rwanda and will mainly attend the 7:30 service, but I do plan to attend the later services at least once even though they will be in French.

After church yesterday was the first time that I felt really lonely. I missed family and friends and going to church at home. While I do have the “kids,” the generational difference does present an emotional gap. The problem however, went away this morning after I had a chance to talk with Susan. (Skype is a wonderful thing!)

For those of you who are into Google Earth, let me give you some coordinates so that you can find some of the areas where I will be working.

1. The Bridge2Rwanda House in Kigali - S01d 57.251’ E30d 3.909’

2. The Bridge2Rwanda House in Musanze – S01d 30.203’ E29d 37.894’

3. Ikiraro Chicken Houses - S01d 29.491’ E29d 40.606’

I will list coordinates for other locations later.

Today is a meeting and planning day. Hopefully I can get started on the water well at Sonrise in a few days and have that system installed soon. Thank you to everyone who is praying for me! It helps more that you can imagine. I want to say a special thanks to Sue Stancil. I wish you could be here - I know you would get a big kick out of “the kids” and would love the people, scenery, and culture in Rwanda.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


We made it to Musanze on Thursday afternoon and I was able to unpack and feel a little like I will be here for a while. I have gotten most of my things arranged in my little apartment, but I need to find a table I can use as a desk and a small book shelf. Hopefully I can find those in Musanze in the next few days and settle in for the long haul.

We (the “kids” and I) went to breakfast today at Hotel Gorillas and then drove around Musanze to see the major landmarks - hospital, market, hotels, ect. I am not sure when work will start in earnest, but it will take a few days for me to get my bearings. The next few days will be spent learning my way around and meeting the Rwandans that I will be working with on my projects.

I am looking forward to attending Bishop John’s church on Sunday and will let everyone know the how this American Baptist faired in a Rwandan Angelican Church.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I just got back for City Market (the mall). I walked there to have coffee at Bourbon Coffee Shop (Starbucks – Bourbon was actually started by a former Starbucks executive) and to look around Nakumatt (think small Walmart) for some appliances to furnish the guest house in Musanze (Ruhengeri – if you are looking on Google map or Google Earth or if you are a native of Rwanda.) After getting to Kigali on Saturday night, we rested all day Sunday and tried to recover from the trip. Brussels Air managed to lose the luggage of two of my fellow travelers, but they should get their bags today, or at least that is what the airline is telling them.

So far we have been playing tourist and taking care of mundane things like bank accounts and cell phones. We have seen the Genocide Memorial (a must see if you are in Rwanda). It is extremely powerful and makes you wonder how something like this could happen. There are over 250,000 people buried in 14 different mass graves at the Memorial and more are being opened as they are still finding remains of genocide victims to this day. We also visited a sewing cooperative staffed by women with AIDS. They are making all kinds of things from dresses to laptop cases in traditional African fabrics. These items are sold to a distributor in Memphis (I will get the information on the distributor and post it later.)

I am definitely the “Old Man” in this group of early twenty somethings. Kat (Kat Watson from Little Rock even called me Daddy Bob last night since I had to lend her the money to open her bank account; she left most of her money at the Bridge2Rwanda house in Kigali. In many ways I felt right at home almost like giving money to Mary Beth or Shealy. I let the “kids”( see for who is here and their profiles ) have a day to themselves today and stayed home to catch up on some reading for school and to do a little planning for the work ahead. We will be leaving for Musanze Thursday morning, and I plan on writing my next post Saturday.

Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Pictures of the Bridge2Rwanda house in Kigila