Sunday, June 28, 2009

i love my bed

I am so thankful that I could rest today. It has been a long past few days, but really good at the same time. For some reason, today and yesterday, I've gotten more homesick than I have the whole time I've been here. I thinkit might have been a combination of things. First, i think it's partly because I havent been feeling all that well.My friend Nathan has had malaria this past year and i keep asking him what it feels like, but he assures me i dont have it loli think i'm a little paranoid just being in a different place. I got to take a really good nap and feel alot better now. But I thinkanother part of starting to feel homesick was that I realized that I could make international calls on the phone that Christi game to meand got to here my parents voice yesterday...its been more than two weeks since ive heard them and it was so good :). hah ofcourse my mom says "bethhhie your okay....are you taking your malaria pills" lol ive missed hearing the concerned questions (mom i know your reading this i love it when yyou do that :) ) and i got to talk to my dad too.. i have to insert here that I have the best dad in the here his tone when he realized it was me calling was so worth the dollar a minute phone charge.
Before i got off the phone my dad told me that my guinea pig died this past week. It sounds like a minor thing to get upset about(and i probobly shouldnt post this online), but I just started crying. I felt like i hadn't been at home with him enough because im gone all the time. But i just wanna say that my dad took such good care of him when he was sick (taking him to the vet and feeding him baby food when he wouldnt eat his own food..annnd letting him chew holes in my dad's t-shirts while he fed him carrots and they watched tv together lol) i need to re-emphasize the fact that I have the best dad :) I'm just thankful im not with the intern that got sent to peru this summer (they eat guinea pigs there)

Anways, it all sounds like little things. But today i sat down to pray and read for a little and I just cried more..about missing home, everyone there, my team, i even thought about coach mauer retireing and cried. I'm a mess lol. But for some reason even in the middle of crying and missing everything..i dont have the feeling that I should be home. I think i've written about this before, but as much as my emotions are saying i wanna be home, my heart and my head are really calm about being here still. I know the Lord has a purpose for different things (aka everything lol) and i think i can really feel him in that contrast of feelings.

So yesterday was exciting/ something i dont think i'll do again for a long time. Me and two other interns decided to go to lake Kivu this weekend (in between Rwanda and Congo). Although I wasnt completely aware of the plan before we left, bit by bit i started realizing different things about our excursion. First, we were going to stay there but we were gonna camp..which is fine..i love camping haha i think. Next I became aware of the fact that we were camping on an island that we had to take about a 45 min boat ride to. Then I found out that we were the only ones on the island (aside from about 3000 bats) and that the place wasntexactly designated as a camping area. Infact it was more of a mountain than just an isalnd and the only flat place we found was after completing an almost verticle hike to the top. A few other interesting incidents during ourtime relaxing (cough cough being stranded lol) on the island were deciding not to sleep in a tent and almost catching the island on fire when we started the fire (thankfully nate has great skill with his towel at putting out fires...way to go boy scouts :) hah but all in all even though it was was a really cool experience and it makes me so thankful for my bed.
Anyways i just wanna say how much i miss everyone and hope everything is good at home!

A loonnng day

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 :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


today I had m&m's for the first time in a week and a half! we had to Kigali today to meet with a church group that was flying out and the country director's wife, brenda (who is amazing and the best cook!), made lunch and had them on her table. it reminded me so much of home and I think they were the only m&m's in all of Rwanda :)
the past couple of days have flown by, but they have been so good. I'm homesick in a way and miss my family so much, but still am so thankful/happy to be here. There's times though that i feel like if I here one more "muzungu" im going to cry...but theres other times (which I think that God really uses to soften my heart) when kids will come bounding at you for hugs and I can't even describe the feeling of that. Theres a school for disabled kids behind a stadium that i run by and about 20 of them always come out to say hi in the morning when i run by. By the time they're done I'm always short my headband and a couple of hair ties that they discovered when trying to make sense of why my hair is so different...

so the nights here are really quiet. I've gotten to read alot and its really taught me how to slow my life down alot and not always have to be doing things. I've been reading Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis and always find quotes that really stand out to me. The other night I read this...
"What I mean is this. An ordinary simple Christian kneels down to say his prayers. He is trying to get in touch with God. But if he is a Christian, he knows what is prompting him to pray is God also: God, so to speak , inside him. But he always knows that all his real knowledge of God comes through Christ, the Man who was God - that Christ is standing beside him, helping him to pray, praying for him. You see what is happening. God is the thing to which he is praying - the goal he is trying to reach. God is also the thing inside him which is pushing him on- the motive power. God is also the road or bridge along which he is being pushed to that goal."
I've never thought of it like that. It makes you think about the fact that when you spend time with Him (and all that is going on) He must really want to be with us. I have the tendenecy to feel like the time and effort i'm spending is one sided and really forget that He wants to be with me more than i want that time. so much of the time i think i dont take the time to let Him tell me that.

so its only 1034 here and I'm pretty much ready for bed lol and this is a late night for me :) (hah im a little lame)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Running and a new coach?

Okay so its 7pm here and I just thought about it and it's only 1pm at home...hmm lol

This morning I had an opiphany lol (i dont think thats how you spell that) I've been praying alot for things like courage lately, but have found myself frustrated because I dont see that quality coming out in my life. This morning i felt like God was saying there are certain things that Hes equipped us with and its important to pray for them, but we cant passivly wait for them. Hes given us what we need to do what He wants us too, but our effort and persistance is important too. Its kind of an obvious thing but it just really came to my mind.

"Love the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength".

Well, last night and this morning were the first times that I got to go running...not the same as at So first about a half mile after i left the house, a group of 6 little kids in school uniforms decided to try to run with me. I couldnt help but laugh ...they find everything so exciting :) i ran up to the stadium and on the back side, one little boy started herding his chickens after me? I dont even know what to say about that...when i was running away from them i wasnt sure if it was really happening hah ...then a group of little boys were playing soccer and they kept yelling "muzungu" when i ran by so i stopped to see if I could play with them..they seemed confused at first, but then let me play keep away with them..they were so cute. This moring an old man in jeans and sandals decided he wanted to race me...when he realized he was faster than me he started to encourage me to run faster by counting in french...hah I couldnt understand him but at the end he gave me a high five!

Today at the office was the day when all of the artisans bring in their products or handicrafts that they sell to Azizi Life. Azizi Life is a for profit business under FH that Tom created because technicalities prevent non-profits from buying and selling products. Their aim is to develop rural parts of southern Rwanda by encouraging and assisting small artisans cooperatives improve their products and finding new markets for them. There is so much more to development work than I ever realized. Development can be thwarted by the same people that organizations are working to help.

Tom and Christi have had problems with the artisans failing to be honest with them. Some will find various products at a low price and try to sell them to Azizi Life at a higher price and try to pass them off as their own. Lately, to account for this, if Tom or Christie are suspicous that an artist isnt telling the truth, before buying anything from them theyll have them make the product in front of them. So today i got to watch that and it was amazing :) Here is a woman making an african shaker from a dried out gord (sp?) shes been doing this for 25 years!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love CHIPS/fries/freets(??)!

Date: Sunday 14, 2009

Today was such a long but good day. I woke up this morning at like 530 even though christie wasn't coming to get me until 9 something. Im still a little off from jet lag.It was a really good time to just sit with God and talk...oh yeah and I atempted to make coffe lol.
We walked to church today from the house. I don't think i've been stared at so much in my life. One little girl grabbed my hand and wouldnt let go lol. At first it made me nervouse that everyone
was looking at me, but I realized once I smiled and waved, the persons entire expression and demenor(sp?) completely changed into a smile and a wave. Christi explained it as "It's kind of like you having a purple person
walking around your town" lol well I guess were the purple people right now.

The church we went to was really cool. It's at a childrens home run by a retired woman from penn. named "mama". There were so many kids there. One of the boys from the home game the sermon and a Rwandan man named John translated. He talked about
pride and how God has put us where ever we are and to rely on anything else is unstable. It was really good and really cool to see such a young kid speak with such passion (even though I couldnt understand him until after the fact lol)
After church we walked to Christi's for lunch and I love avacados! lol they are so cheap here. It's funny because fresh food here is so cheap because it's grown in such abundance while packaged food(which is cheap for us) is so expensive here because its
exported and shipped here. After lunch Chrisiti and I walked around for almost 4 hours. We walked to a catholic church on the outside of Gitirama. Theres a school at the church and so there were a lot of kids walking around. A group of little girls was following us and so I said hi to them in Kynrwanda...
hah decided to practice my skills...and one of the little girls decided to practice her english on me :) it was the coolest thing because we were both working to speak the other's language.

At the end of the day we had "Muzungu diner". Muzungu is what everyone here calls Westerners or white people. So on SundAY nights most of the development workers get together for dinner at this cafe. It was really good. Goat meat is kind of tough, but the fries here are the best ive ever had. I had a huge plate of them and
I think im going to have them everyday until i leave :)

So there were times today that I forgot I was away from home. It was weird like I know im gone, but Im so caught up in everything around me that I dont realize it. I think its one of God's ways of comforting us is different situations. He has definatly been in everything and I feel like I dont deserve the peace that He's put in my heart about everything, but I'm so thankful for it!

I miss everyone and Im thinking and praying about you guys!


Saturday, June 13, 2009


ate: Saturday 13, 2009
Today is my first day in the country and Rwanda in beautiful. It's crazy to think that something so horrible could have happened in a place like this. It doesnt connect. It's hard to be gone. My hosts, Christi and Tom are amazing.I can see God's grace and understanding through them even from just the few hours that I've been with them. Right after the airport, Tom took us to lunch at his favorite Italian place. It was funny to have that as my first meal here...but really good and the most amazing veiw. Then we went to the country director's house in Kilgali. He had some investors from Canada coming to talk about differernt projects they are wanting to invest in. I have a house mate named Nathan(a former intern from uganda...he was just brought into Rwanda to work on a clean water project) was saying that Dwight (the country director) wants to keep pushing for sutainable projects for Rwanda in the places that were hit the worst by the genocide. These areas are currently the poorest and from what I understand have the most potential for growth. Even though these types of projects arent currently being pusued in Uganda (maybe due to the backwardness of the coutnryor the recent change in country director?) Nathan thinks that this will change in the region since dwight has been working on projects.
So even though my hosts are better than I could have ever asked for and the country is so beautiful... its still really hard to be so far away. There are so many people here, just walking in the street and all around, but I feel really isolated. I havent seen another blonde yet in Gitarama lol and i really just wish i knew the language. Even going to the store to get some breakfast food was hard. Tom and Christi took me, but there are so many norms that Im not sure of yet. I dont know how much im really paying for things since the exchange is so different and since the stores are so small I feel like I'm offending the owner when i dont buy anything. They look at you the whole time your there (maybe because Im so white?) AI think its so easy to feel isolated right now, but when i came back to my room i just sat and prayed. I've learned at times when you feel the most stuck and scared God is so quick to come. I've felt like this before when Nicole and I got in an accident last summer. Even though this is a different scared than being strapped into a stretcher, I still feel scared and a little helpless being so far away.
The second I sat down to pray I could feel Him. I think He knows me better than I know me and knows when I need him. I really wanna get over this initial nervousness so I can really begin to see what Hes put in front of me right now and really get to know the people around me. sleeping under a mosquito net lol. Im gonna take more pics of the land tomorrow I wanted to today but ran out of batteries!

Friday, June 12, 2009


"The reason why it can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other."

- C. S. Lewis

I'm at home right now in between one of layovers in Dullus. I'm so thankful I got to come home for a little after orientation. It was sad leaving, even though we were only there for a couple of days. Last night Donna and Elyse took me to this place called In and Out for dinner. I mean its kind of amazing :) Then we hung out at her house. Elyse bought Jen and I necklaces for a going away present. That made my night! In those little things...even though the people involved might not realize..I think those are the small things that God uses to show us that He's there and that He loves us through that.
This morning I got up with Donna and we walked Chance (her dog). We had such a good talk and it made me not want to leave! She has so much to share and I think I can learn so much from her.

Okay so on the flight today I made two freinds lol. One was a girl from Japan whos family now lives in Arizona and she goes to school in Chicago. We started talking and then realized we both run track (well ran for me lol) She was so fun to talk to. The second person I talked to was a little girl that sat next to me on the plane. She was from Inia and didnt speak any English...I realized that after trying to tell her I was happy she was small because she was sitting in the seat next to me. She ended up using my coloring book and then sleeping the rest of the time aha. Anyways heres some more pictures of my last day. The first is Donna's meal at in and out, the next is Jen, me and Elyse, and the last one is Chance ...she didnt want her picture taken

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In the office!

Okay so we are almost done with training and it's been amazing! I'm on Brittani's computer right now and it's about the first hour that we havent had a session during the day. I've been staying at Donna's house (a woman that works for Food for the Hungry) and she is so great! She's made us so many home made dinners. I'm staying with another intern, Jen, who is going to Uganda! She and two other's (including her fiance!) will be there for two months. Even though were in neighboring countries (rwanda and Uganda) we have to fly completely separately.
All the other interns are so great! (the international ones are in the pic above to the left). The neat things about everyone is that we all have different skills and talents, which are all being applied to different areas of development. For example, Jen on the far leftis pre-nursing and is going to the Philipines to work with health and nutrition while Audrey is an amazing artist and is going to work in India to put together a book for FH with interviews and art work. So it just shows how were all made so different, but each gift that God has given us is needed for something different.

So God has really been shwoing me how He is in so many of the little things. Everything from what weve been learning to how kind Donna is. I think I always expect to only see Him in the obvious when we're being taught about Him, but He always comes up in unconventional ways :) Well we have to finish up some orientation! I'll be on again soon.