Monday, July 21, 2014

Everything is Awesome

by Kyle Vondrak (KJV)

Greetings from Rwanda,
     After a long journey from the depths of Illinois, we finally arrived in Rwanda! After two longs flights, and a short layover in Istanbul, we arrived in Rwanda around 1 am. After completing customs, we met Serge, our host, and Stephanie and Robbie, who are interns and we were then whisked away to Moucecore, which is where we will be staying for most of the trip. Upon arriving, almost everyone immediately fell asleep, to prepare for the next day.

     Our day began at 8 am, where we were hastily woken up from our short slumbers. We then took the time to empty our bags, and sort out our things from the ministry supplies. We then ate a nice breakfast of eggs, bread and pancakes, and met with Jen, who is Serge’s wife and our host. Jen took the time to get to know us, and then led us through an orientation about Rwanda.  After this, we made a short drive over to J. Lynn’s which is a bakery that Jen and Serge own that helps women gain skills, earn a steady income, and provide for their families. The bakery was previously owned by French missionaries and specialized in making bagels. Once Jen and Serge took over, they continued on with the legacy, so when we got there, we were treated to a nice meal of bagels and bagel sandwiches. 

After lunch, it was time to get to work. Jen and Serge were getting new furniture for the bakery the next day, so it was our duty to help set the foundation for a new gazebo that was to be put into place once the new furniture got there. So for the rest of the day from lunchtime until around 6 we were all hastily working on finishing the gazebo. This included leveling the ground, breaking up stones to mix in with the concrete, mixing the concrete, and bringing it down from the back to put into place. It was a lot of tough work, but it was worth it once we realized how much this will help business grow for J. Lynn’s. While working, we met some cool people, like Teo, who is the daytime guard for the cafe. He helped us the whole time we were working, and he was really good at mixing concrete also. There was also David, who was also an exceptional concrete mixer, and he managed to keep his white shirt clean the whole time (unlike the rest of us, who ended the day covered in concrete dust).

After leaving J.Lynn’s we drove though Kigali in our bus, with our driver, Leon. The streets are full of with motorcyclists, who act as taxis. It was exciting to finally land in Rwanda, but it was even better to roll up our sleeves, and get to work, and meet some cool locals. Even though we were all jet lagged, and were expecting a non-strenuous day, we all had fun at J.Lynn’s and are now experts in concrete mixing. We can’t wait for what the rest of the trip holds!

13 comments:

  1. There really is no rest for the weary. However, it is amazing that you got to get right down to work, and it is good to be busy when jet lagged. Although I am sure it did not feel that way when you were mixing concrete. I can imagine that is not a relaxing activity. However it was for an awesome cause. I pray this does bring a lot more business to the bakery.

    I hope you all get some more sleep, at least more than the few hours you got initially. I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

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  2. Thanks for the great update. Sounds like you all were inspired and motivated to make a difference right away, despite being road-weary. Awesome! Get some rest and keep up the good work.

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  3. I'm so happy to your smiling faces...especially Melanie's!

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  4. So glad to hear that Everything is Awesome! And it sounds like you are eating very well! I love to see the pictures! Thanks!

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  5. KJV you have quite a way with words! So happy to hear that everything is going well :)

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  6. The gazebo sounds great, good job everyone! I'm also glad to hear everything is awesome :)

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  7. Very nice description of your day today. Glad everyone is doing well and hope you get some much needed rest tonight.

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  8. Wow! Glad everyone is doing well. We are so proud of all of you.

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  9. Now we know who to call on when concrete work needs to be done. You are a talented group, we are very proud of you.

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  10. The story telling on this blog is fantastic! Thank you so much for painting a picture of your experience. Keep it coming!

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  11. I love the energy and excitement flowing from this blog post. And the accompanying airport photo with all the smiley faces is great. Thank you!

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  12. Master concrete mixers will be a nice addition to the life long resume. What a wonderful and rewarding experience!!! keep them coming

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  13. Good that you were able to jump right in and get started right away.

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