Friday - June 26, 2009
Today was the longest, and at the same time, the best day of my time here. I wish I could put down on papereverything I saw, heard, and felt, but I'm just praying that the most important things will stand out to me.Christi, Dawn, Jeneanne and I went to the southern districts to visit some new groups of artisans and see the products that they arealready making and to see if there were any suggestions we could give them about what they are making.
The area that we went to is one of the poorer areas in Rwanda and was hit the harder than most places during the genocide. It is part ofa goverment initiative, supported by president bush, to try to help and promote businesses which do not focus on agriculture. It closely alligns with what Christi and Tom are working on, so they work alot of times with different Government workers that are employed for this project. The woman that came with us today was a Rwandan woman named Marcelene.During the (extremely bumpy) ride to the first cooperative(a little past Butare, which is about 2 hours on the main raid from the FH office in Gitarama. The first place we went was a littlemore than an hour once we were on the side roads) I learned a little more about the sectors and some of what the women in these areas experience. I would ask questions to Jeneanne and she asked Marcelene for me (my Kynrwanda isn' the best right now).
So most of the women in these cooperatives cultivate land apart from the work they do making handicrafts. Cultivating, the women can make about 500 franks a day (which is one US dollar).When we met with the groups, I tried to find out the profit they could make on the products that they were making to see if it would be more than cultivating and most of the time (depending on what the women were charging, how much their materials cost, and the time it took them to make each craft) they could make more in their art work than cultivating their gardens. Another plus to the cooperative which the presidentof the first group told me and Jeneanne, was that the women really enjoyed the time that they got to spend together. Most of them groups we saw today were sitting outside in the sun(in the best weather EVER:) ) talking whilethey worked on their crafts. One hard part about the areas that we visited, was that they were so far out on the back roads that they can't always get to areas that they would be able to sell their products. Jenneane told me that the first villiage we saw was apart of a pilot project for Vision 2020 and the millenium development project. They worked to terrace the land in the village (i think to see if it made a difference in the cultivation of the land).
I took alot of pictures today with the FH camera...partly to document the products that the groups were making. I ended getting partially distracted and I think I took more pictures of the kids that were there :) lol. I dont know who was more interested in each other. Me or them. One of the girls at the first cooperative (i think she was 16 maybe?) seemed like she wanted to talk, but kept hiding behind her freind (i know im a little intimidating) When she finally came out from hiding, she started pointing to her skin and then to mine to motionas to how different they are. So then I pointed to her hair and then to mine..hah one of the boys spoke english and confirmed our observation as to how different we were. By then end her and her freind decided they wanted my watch...sooo i gave them my hair tie and ran away lol.
It was a really good experience to get to actually go to see the women (well mostly women) where they work. It puts things in such a differentperspective, as opposed to when the women normally bring their products into the office. Also, the sectors that we went to today are so far off themain road that it would be really difficult for them to get to the office.
I think there is so much more to what I saw today than I really comprehend. I can't really explain it the way I want to. I think I'm only feeling what I see on the surface when I meet these people. I's praying that I can really start to have more understanding of everyone I meet and that the Lord would let me feel what he feels toward them and what they are feeling too. I'm not sure if that completely makes sense, but i know there is so much more to what I'm seeing than I realize. The Bible talks about how close God is to the poor and how He's their refuge..which makes me know there is something different there and I think He's with them in a different way? Not that He loves them more, but I think that their is a different relationship (maybe because of a different dependence on Him). Anyways..hopefully ill get this understanding soon (in this lifetime?? lol im not sure)
Well I'm going to go pack...the other interns and I are going to Lake Kivu....maybe camping :)