Happy Anniversary to my wonderful hubby! 3 years ago today, I married my best friend, and neither of us had any idea Africa would be such a huge part of our lives. I am so blessed and honored to have a husband who loves God more than anything and desires His glorification above all else. Seeing him here in Africa loving on little children just touches my heart in such a special way. I love him, and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to do life with.
Today was our “day of rest” which was very, very needed as the team seemed a bit rundown and sickly after the past few intense days. Blake and I, as well as a couple other team members, are still battling this sinus infection stuff. We are all blowing our noses and hacking up our lungs. To me, the worst part is just always feeling SO TIRED. Whenever I sit down, I have to fight to stay awake. But we are thankful for Sudafed and Nyquil and Z-packs.
We went to Imbabazi Orphanage…well…it used to be an orphanage, but over the past few years, they have been placing all their orphans in homes as part of the reunification process. So now there are no kids there (hence why it was a “rest day”) but they will still be actively involved in checking up on their kids and providing community ministries. If you’re familiar with the movie “Gorillas in the Mist”, it is about Roz Carr (I honestly don’t know how to spell her name, and I don’t have internet to google it) and how she came to open Imbabazi. They even filmed some of it at the property where we were. The entire Imbabazi land spans 140 acres and has TONS of crops and beautiful gardens. It’s actually pretty high up a mountain and it’s elevation is 8,000 feet.
One thing about going to Imbabazi is the road leading up to it. There’s a long dirt road lined with houses, and kids will come out when they see the bus and scream, “Agacupa!” which means water bottle. They chase the bus and wave frantically. For this purpose, we had saved ALL of our water bottles. We were locked and loaded 4 big cases full of empty bottles to throw. Y’all, it’s seriously like we were throwing hundred dollar bills out the window. They would run alongside the bus, and when they got a bottle, they’d say “I GOT IT I GOT IT!” and it was really precious. Their faces just lit up when they saw a bottle hurtling toward them. It was cool.
After stepping off the bus, it was easy to see why this was chosen as our resting location. The flowers and gardens and expansive fields just screamed God’s glory. Even the 6 friendly dogs just made it feel so homey. I may have fleas now, but whatevs. We started off with a quick tour of the gardens. Then we had some worship time with just the guitar and our voices, while laying out on the grass in the sunshine. It was so relaxing. I may or may not have fallen asleep. But I’m sick so I’ve got an excuse. I promise I love Jesus and I love singing worship, I promise. Afterwards, we all split up and found a spot to sit, read The Word, and reflect on what God is showing each of us. It was just a beautiful time of worship through Scripture and prayer.
We ate lunch there which was delicious, followed by a traditional Rwandan dancing group. They walked up, decked out in their ancient tribal gear, and they stomped the mess out of that grass. They were tearing it up, I tell ya. It was a fun little activity where we could just sit and be entertained. We also got fresh rhubarb cake which was ridiculously good. It had started lightning and thundering towards the end of the dancing show. And I don’t mean in the distance, I mean like right on top of us and incredibly loud…like rumbled the ground we were sitting on. But since it wasn’t raining, we thought we’d go for a little walk til we had to report back to the bus. So we went on an adventure….
Our adventure began with a search for a cave. One of our team members had been there before and had told us about a cave, and we all really wanted to go spelunking. She said it was out in the middle of a field. So we walked through an open field…in a lightning storm. We saw bolts of lightning striking up ahead of us, but no one actually suggested we turn back so we just kept going. Along the way, children from the village saw us muzungus and started following us. They were just giggling and pointing, and we all walked in a big group toward the cave. We think we found its entrance, but it was really overgrown with weeds and stinging nettles so we decided against going in (and also Frank told us we couldn’t). We started to head back towards the house when a woman with a baby walked up to us. She was talking in Kinyarwadan and holding her baby out to us. I definitely thought she was trying to give us her baby, and I panicked a little inside. Then she started rubbing her chest and just reached in and pulled out her boob. We gathered that she was out of milk. I honestly have no idea what she wanted us to do about it. It was more than a little awkward….especially when we just kinda turned around and kept walking while she stood there with her boob out and her baby extended out toward us.
By now there were about 15 village kids in our group. We went into a grove of trees to take a picture with them. They were the picture of abject poverty, with their filthy bodies caked with dirt and dust, their tattered clothes, and protruding bellies. But that didn’t stop them from giggling and jumping up and down in our pictures. We finally said goodbye to the kids and headed back to the house. On the way, we passed one of the many cows out in the pasture. Well, we thought it was a cow, but turns out, it was a bull. And uh, when we got in it’s general vicinity he did not like it. He actually charged at us…like full on trotted with his head down right at us. We all ran away from him and maybe also wet ourselves. He turned around when he was satisfied we weren’t gonna bother him. It was pretty terrifying but makes for a good story.
To end our wonderful day of rest, we ate dinner at the Palms Resort on Lake Kivu. It’s a really beautiful place, and it was a great way to finish the day. Tomorrow we go to Noel Orphanage where we’ll love on some little bitty ones (under 5). Please pray I don’t get too much pee and poop on me.