Thank you to anyone who has ever sponsored one of our kids in the feeding program. $12 a month feeds a child for a month. If you want to sponsor a child, you still can! The feeding program will be winding down as the land purchased last winter begins rolling out crops but in the mean time, there is still a need.
Today we participated in the distribution of the food. The children line up outside the door and one of the volunteers checks her book to see if they are on the list for food. Pastor Simon says there is never enough for everyone who needs help but that they start with the most vulnerable and work their way up until they run out of funds for food. The kids do know ahead of time if they will be receiving a packet for the month. Yup, the food goes out once a month so the kids have to make it stretch. Also, the kids typically have younger (or older) siblings and/or a parent so the packet stretches to help feed many.
Today, the kids got 3 kilos of corn, 3 kilos of beans, 1/2 kilo of dried fish, 1 kilo of salt and half a liter of vegetable oil which is delivered in old water bottles. We helped measure and hand out the food today.
It was overwhelming. The kids say “thank you” and I want to say “Nope, Thank you for letting us have the privilege of being here.”
Thank you for letting us take a picture, it feels almost wrong but I want to show others these scenes so that we can continue to raise support and spread the message of hope that is Ndegenera Foundation. Thank you for looking me in the eye and smiling when we say “Yesu Aragukunda” (Jesus loves you). Thank you to the little girl who said it to me. Thank you to the young man who walked in shoulders squared and shook every one of our hands. He is part of the reason I believe this program can help these kids.
The poverty of things is not the real problem. The poverty of spirit, of shame and of despair is the real problem and that kid had hope, confidence and courage. He has a hope and future. He has plans from the One who holds us all in His hands. Jeremiah 29:11
The people of Rwanda are amazingly resourceful. Many of the children coming to food distribution today brought containers, baskets, buckets and bits of fabric to carry home the food. Some, though, either didn’t know or more likely didn’t have a bucket or bag to bring. When that happened the ladies doing the distribution would quickly create cone like containers from scraps of paper. Seems very organic to use every piece of garbage repeatedly (which happens everywhere and all the time and is fabulous) but in this case, the cones leaked and salt would slip out. When you only get to pick up your groceries once a month you don’t want to waste any of it.
Jim H. saw a little girl struggling with a box that had holes in the side of box and she was losing beans. You could see the look on Jim’s face – I can fix that and I’m going to fix it – Thanks to Jeremy and Brenda from Tri-Tech Heating for donating the duct tape. Today it was used to tape up boxes and salt bags so the food could make it safely home. I also saw Kevin making baseballs out of duct tape and leftover clinic bed foam for the kids. I knew that duct tape had many uses but these have to be in the top ten!
The last little guy to come into the room for food was five years old. He didn’t have a container, bucket or bag. He had one large piece of flimsy fabric. We were out of the other options so the volunteers dumped his corn and beans in a big pile, put the salt in another corner and rolled the whole thing up and handed it to him.
Five years old. I lost it.
I thought, this is Rwanda for me and this kid has to have a bag. He can have my bag. I ran across the field but my bag was locked in the personal belongings room and the key was inside a very busy clinic. So i thought, we have to have a bag. Surely we have a bag. I walked through the clinic and asked one of the team, are there any bags?
I have to have a bag.
Nope, no bags.
There was however a crumpled box which I ran back across the field. Jim used the miracle duct tape and we put the boys food in the box.
I grabbed the kid, walked over to a wall and held him. I was thinking I have to help this kid. This child is Rwanda. He is Jesus.
And then a very lovely woman walked up and said, “I am his Mama, Thank you.” Those have to be the most beautiful words on the entire planet. This five year old has a mama. More importantly, he has a Father who sees him and has promised to all of us that He will not leave us as orphans. He is the one who owns everything, including duct tape