|The Team with some youth member at the Camp|
by Domenic Frappolli
|Jen presents our gifts of soccer balls and underwear|
|Ryan interacts with school kids|
|Domenic, Lindsey, Jill, and Darby|
|Natalie, Emile, Jill's protector, and Jill in the camp|
So today was our last day of ministry in Rwanda, and so we spent our day at the refugee camp. We got up around 6:30 AM, took our showers and packed our bags and went to Jen's room for Jill's devotion. After the devotion, we headed to breakfast. We got our food much quickier then on past days thanks to Serge. After enjoying our meal, Emily eating 10 passion fruits, and Ryan finishing off 3 bowls of strawberry jelly, we set off to the camp. We brought soccer balls and underwear of all kinds to the refugee camp to give as a gift. We all crammed into the jeeps as usual! We had a quick 40 minute drive that flew by as we enjoyed the scenery, and before we knew it we had arrived. We got out of the car and went to into a room. Emile helped split us into two teams, and we began touring the camp. Both groups went to the schools, primary and secondary, and the hospital. The schools were filled with kids, with up to 70 kids per class. Kids rushed out of their classes to see us, but they were quickly scolded and sent back. Our group stopped at Emile's house, met his family, and talked about life in the refugee camp and how they felt about it. They all agreed that in comparison to their life in Congo, the refugee camp is very bad, and they missed their homeland. We got to meet his grandmother who was a very nice lady, and when we asked her how long she'd been in the camp, she replied by saying that she'd been there so long she lost track. While we stopped at Emile's the other group went with the kids, ages 18-23, to go play volleyball.
We met up with them on the volleyball courts. Some of us played with the little kids, others played volleyball, and Doug decide to bring empty water bottles to give away and was immediately swarmed with kids, almost being run over. He ended up giving those he had away, and one of the big 5 liter jugs that was empty was thrown down the hill, with about 40 kids chasing after it. I was glad to see them so happy about getting water bottles, but also sad that we could only give them a few. While playing volleyball we found out that they were extremely good at volleyball, but with the teams mixed between us and them every game was fun and fair. We spent the rest of our time there just playing and hanging out, constantly meeting new kids as they got out of school. Ryan and I really wanted to know how they make their soccer balls that the kids have. So we found out that the kids used the condoms to make soccer balls. Unfortunately, we didn't know what was in the center of the ball. We were never able to figure what was in the center, but we found the idea very interesting. It showed us that these kids are very creative, and since they have grown up with so little, they know how to use what they have well.
As it was almost time to go, we gathered up as a group with Emile, Natalie, and other men who helped run the camp. We gave them the soccer balls and underwear, and they sang us some songs. The songs were very good, and they told us how they wanted to sing them at the studio in Kigali so they could have them on CDs, but the cost per song is 70,000 RWFs, or around $100 US. That is not even including the expenses of getting everyone from the camp to Kigali, which is about 3 hours away. The next thing we knew we said our goodbyes, took some pictures, and were off. We got back to the hotel, gathered our bags, ate dinner, and set off on our 3 hour trip back to Kigali. Were divided in 3 jeeps, and along with the 12 of us is Serge, Kim, and Mark.
Tonight we will be debriefing, maybe getting some food, and then having a candle light ceremony which I still don't know much about. I am sad to see this trip end, but we have all learned valuable lessons that will surely shape the rest of our lives.