Hard to believe that in 8 days, I will be sitting on board a plane headed to Amsterdam, then Kigali. My daughter asked me how far away Rwanda is, and we had to look it up to find the answer (6,785 miles). The trip there is long–two 8 hour flights, but I have accumulated travel pillows, blankets, foot rests, eye and ear covers, and strategies to keep me comfortable as I travel.
I have several exciting things to share. I am so grateful to my church for their support of this trip. I joined the First Congregational Church in the summer of 2017, and was thrilled to learn that they were sponsoring a child in Butare, Rwanda. I asked if they would be willing to donate soap for me to give to our patients, and I was rewarded with more soap than I ever imagined. They have also donated money to IOWD, and I will be back to share how that money will be used.
I am hopeful that we can find a project that benefits a patient who has had surgery and needs help supporting her family. One such project from last year’s mission involves a patient who had a successful surgery to repair her vesicovaginal fistula (which caused her to leak urine continuously). She became a fierce advocate for IOWD, but needed some help supporting herself since her husband left her when her urine leakage began. IOWD bought her a sewing machine and materials to get started so that she could go back to her village and work as a seamstress. She now has an income to support her and her children. Before each mission, she takes orders for bags and aprons that she creates from scraps of the beautiful, brightly colored fabrics, I will share a photo as soon as I get my bag!
I am also excited that I will be going on another animal expedition, this time to see chimpanzees in Nyangwe Forest. This forest is located in southwest Rwanda, which is a fair distance from Kigali. I really enjoyed my car ride last year, as it gives me a chance to rest and see a bit of life in rural Rwanda. It gave me a much clearer understanding of how far most of our patients travel to come to Kigali–the roads are usually paved but are very hilly and single lane, and public transportation is a large van packed with people.
Will be back soon with more–bye for now.