Wednesday, September 26, 2012

32 Africa style

So, today was my 32nd Birthday. 
And this year, I am welcoming this new year
Rwandan style, with some of my favorite people ever. 
And being that they had informed me, of a 
tradition of waking a birthday person up by 
splashing water on them in the morning. 
I was sure to make sure I locked my door last night
when I went to sleep. 
(You know something is coming, right?) 
So Diane (who we lovingly reefer to, as well as her
as Queen Diane) has taken her braids out, and it is not
uncommon for them to want to take a picture of
something. So Valentine and her came to my room 
and asked if she could get a picture. 
Valentine snapped a few pictures, and they were gone. 
(me, not realizing, they took the camera with em)
Then Amelie comes in my room a few minutes later. 
"Tina, the chickens! Come see! Come!" 
Knowing that the chickens would get me to come. 
So I go out, and she shows me how great they are eating. 
Erm, alright. Thanks Amelie for feeding the chickens, you rock!
I turn around.... and....

I am not so sure how much of this is tradition, 
but you can  be sure this WILL BE a tradition from now on. 
(No I am not crying, that comes in just a minute! But I am 
laughing half because they got me, and secondly because
well because of what it is!) 
So after Diane went and got me a towel, I got washed up 
for the day. I had already had most my shower already. :P 
And after I got back to my room, I found cards laying on my bed. 
And now cue........ tears!

Then we all headed off to Serena this afternoon, 
to have burgers, and just have some fun, relax, and laugh.
Thanks to YOU! This was the BEST Birthday gift,
to just see the girls in No. 41 laughing and just plain having fun. 

Valentine. :)

Fanny eating for two. 

Then Medi (who teaches sewing at 41), No.41, and the girls in the house, gave me some
of the most amazing handmade gifts. Which totally
caught me off guard, and I think I turned 10 shades of red. 

Rwanda is so not lacking in artistic and creative ability. 

And then the afternoon turned into lots of laughter, 
pictures, pictures, and more pictures. 
(The girls are a bit like the paparazzi, and where off to take a cazillion shots.)

Then when I got home, I had to head over to the orphanage
to kiss the cutest Rwandan baby face I know. 

To everyone who gave for me to treat the girls to burgers today. 

Yep, I think 32 is starting off as a really great year! 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marakozae inkoko, Amagi, and Moses

First and foremost, 
We only got 11 of the chickens today, 
and will get the other 10 on Friday. 
Once we have all the chickens next week. 
Then I will I tag you on facebook, 
so you know who is who. Though I have 
already been assigning names!

Amelie has been our resident butcher. 
She is a FANTASTIC cook! 
She was reassuring the hens.....
"I love you chickens, I will not kill you. 
Please, Tina wants a picture. I promise, I not kill you.
I loooooooooove yoooooooou inkoko." 

AND after they had settled into their new home, 
we already had some eggs!!!
I may or may not have thanked the chickens for the egg. 
These chickens will lay 2 eggs everyday. 
And I may or may not have cut up some apple 
as a welcome to our home and you rock for laying eggs present. 

And in case you needed a cute fix for the day.
Here is Moses!!!
I still try to make it priority to go snuggle this mini man
at the orphanage every day. Life can get so busy, 
and yesterday I realized how much I was missing him, 
from not seeing him for two days. 
But as soon as he see's me, and breaks out in this smile. 
Well.... I wonder why I do not drag my mattress over there
and just slumber party in the infant room at the orphanage every night. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My little nest in East Africa...

We have been busy around here  
making this house more into a home day, by day. 
We bought fabric and made curtains!

Honestly curtains did not matter in the least to me. 
I had a somewhat curtain on my window, that covered half the window, 
and I was really alright with that. 
Till the night that thieves came to our house, 
and I found out they were looking in my window
while I was sleeping with flashlights. 
Sorry, future potential thieves, our windows are
getting properly covered, so you cannot peek in!

Valentine putting curtains up in my room. 

And coming to a backyard... kinda far away, 
protein with wings, feathers, and feet!

Thursday morning I woke up to seeing 
the CHICKEN COOP starting to come together, 
next to the kitchen. 

The guys have been at work. 

Do you see this?!
Seriously, I have a chicken coop!
Big enough to house 20-30 protein laying lovelies!


So here is where you come in. . . . 
We have yet to purchase the chickens 
(because we don't have the finances, yet!)
, and you can totally get a chicken and name it!!
Yep, you can name the chicken, but you cannot hold 
it against me when we slaughter the chicken. 
But I do promise not to tell you. :) 
You can name the chicken after your annoying little brother
or you darling boss. 
I will remove the link once we have reached our
protein laying lovelies potential. 
Just click the picture below, 
and give the gift of a steady source of protein. :) 


I have removed the link, as we have 21 Chickens in the coop!
Well not literally, but next week we will put them in their. 
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who has purchased a chicken. 
Seriously, I cannot tell you how much it means to me, 
and how much you mean to me! You are AWESOME! 
I will be sure to post pictures for you all to meet...
*drum roll*
Sir Clucksalot
YTBN (yet to be named)
Miss Marvel
Bobby play
and last but not least, Berty!

Cannot wait for you all to see the pictures of your
protein laying lovelies!! 
I will be offering the chance to buy a chicken again, 
probably a few weeks after I adjust to taking care
of the little feathered friends in the backyard. 
I am SO BLESSED that I have so many people
who want to get involved.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
You my friend, are amazing. <3

Lots of love and dreaming of chickens and eggs,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I have learned in a (almost) month.

So, it is nearing, a month that I have been living in Rwanda. (And how stinking crazy is that?!) and tonight as I zipped back home on the back of a motorbike, I was thinking of the things I have learned in this month here, and also chickens. I have been thinking A LOT about chickens. I will explain more on that later.

1. Always get off the back of the motorbike on the left side. The right side has the exhaust, and it will cause a pretty icky burn if your leg touches it. But the burn on your leg (and later scar) will always remind you, what side not to get off.

2. You really do not need a whole lot, to get by just fine!

3. I have learned that it is one thing to say you trust God, and another to be in a situation where you  need to totally trust Him. If you didn’t know, about a little over a week after I got here, I was woken up at 3am, by 11 girls SCREAMING. I leapt out of bed, and came to find out, we had thieves outside (yes, as in plural). Two of the girls went in the dining room, and shined their flashlights on them through the window, so they knew, we knew, they were there. The gutsy thieves only shined their bigger and brighter light on them. In which the girls told me “So we turned away crying.” Which cued one of the girls to begin to slam on the wall and scream for help. Which cued the rest of the house, to begin screaming at the top of their lungs. (Of course I was sound asleep and had no idea till the house was resounding with screams echoing fear, and hands slamming against the walls and windows! Not my favorite way of waking up.) And a house full of girls screaming, is pretty stinkin’ loud, in case you are wondering. Thankfully the two awesome guys who live behind me, and a guard up the road at a friend’s house, came running. After we all prayed and talked, the girls said “Ok, goodnight, see you tomorrow.” I kinda looked at them like this O_o I will report I stayed up the rest of the night clutching my flashlight like it was a light saber. Hello, faith that is tested by fire and comes out refined and more beautiful than gold, nice to meet you, lets hang out awhile. I apparently have so much to learn from you!

4. I have learned to dance. Seriously. Well, maybe not that good. But, I dance. Dance about dinner, dance at church, dance because… well, just because. We do a whole lot of dancing in this house. And the girls have taught me quite a bit of Rwandan dancing. I can do the dance about washing clothes (I am totally serious!), and the dance about cows returning from pasture.

5. I have learned that love, needs no language.

6.    I have learned to not trust that we will have electricity every day, and be OK with it.

7.  I have learned some of the girls like to duck out after prayer at night, because they know I will go look for them to say goodnight and I love you. And they beam ear to ear when I go looking for them to just say goodnight.

8.  I have learned to not be too entirely freaked out to see a kid knock down a bug, and then pull of the wings and pop it in their mouth like it was candy.

9. I have learned that God’s plans are so much better than our plans.

10. I have learned that it is alright to be scared, as long as it does not stop me from stepping out in faith.

11.  I have learned to start a charcoal fire without lighter fluid.

12.  I have learned the girls get REALLY excited and impressed to eat an American meal of PBJ. Like REALLY excited. And will talk for about a week about the “special food”.

13. I have learned how putting a date on the calendar for your birthday is kinda important. I got to bake a cake and celebrate a girl’s birthday. She does not know when she was born (as many kids here from the orphanage don’t) And I got to see how important and amazing it was to her, to get to have a date to celebrate her birth. Was totally a highlight!

14.  I have learned what it does for a person’s heart, to be celebrated for the first time in your life.

15. I have learned to fall asleep, even after seeing that really big spider run behind your armoire. And perhaps slept with one eye open.

16.  I have learned how to wash my clothes by hand. (Much to the girls dismay.)

17.  I have learned God created us to be in family, and when family is missing, kids make their own families. (Even if who they call Mum and Dad are the same age as them!)

18. I have learned more Kinyarwanda, and shock myself when I am able to utter a sentence in Kinyarwanda.

19. I have learned sometimes just saying “no” I hundred times, is not enough. And you must “refuse” very sternly.

20. I have learned not to ever mention to the girls something like “I am not used to eating rice everyday, that’s all.” Because they will then make potatoes, and pasta, and every other carb possible and refuse you to take rice. When now you really want rice, because you are tired or potatoes and pasta.

21. I have learned I cannot save anyone, I can only love them. (And pour buckets and buckets of love on them!)

22.  I have learned it doesn't matter what you are looking for in life, you will find it. The good, the bad, Holy in the common place, *ahem* Diet Coke in Africa *ahem*, the worst or the best in someone, hope, faith, love, a reason to fight harder, a reason to give up. If you are looking for God, you will find him, if you are looking for a reason to turn away, you will find it. If you are looking for a excuse, pain, sorrow, joy. Whatever it is you are looking for, you will find it. 

Some of the most beautiful girls (inside and out!) 
I get to live with. 

Oh, be still my heart!
I get to go love on faces like these everyday. 

Oh, Rwanda. Your beauty is unmatched!! 

The cutest neighbors ever, who live behind me!

Two things I adore. One of my neighbors, and chicken. 
(And yes, I love the chicken because it tastes good, and is protein
 I try to look past the whole cute part!) 

Doing the dance about the cows returning from pasture. 

Yeah, in case you are wondering, I live this insanely blessed life.
 And even if there has been some craziness (like waking up to thieves, burns 
that get infected, and all that stuff) you could not convince me
that this is the best life. 

And I am pretty sure, that outside of my comfort zones, 
is where the awesomeness happens. And that when
we follow God, and lay down our own plans. 
And you find yourself laughing so hard your sides hurt, 
and your faith being refined. And seeing Jesus in 
new ways. And your heart races with adrenaline.
And you see God in new and exciting ways. 
And it is MUCH MORE than you could have ever dreamed 
or imagined. And its so much more than you could ever do. 
I think that is what Jesus was talking about when He 
was talking about a life, and a life more abundant.  

It's not a easy life, but it is a good life! 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First day of school and me and thieves.

I wrote this blog post last night. =P Yet today was another
adventure. I cannot tell you how many times I just laughed today
because it was another adventure!

So, today I have been kinda floating. I am not sure how often my feet hit the ground this morning and afternoon. Poor Alysse. I was SO stinking excited to take her to her boarding school it was ridiculous! Last night after dinner I said “We will go first thing in the morning.” In which everyone said “NO! It is like sin, she will be laughed. You must go afternoon.” So, as soon as lunch was over, I made this huge huge fuss over her school uniform. In which she looks ADORABLE. Then, me, her, and Bridgette took some moto bikes down to Gisenyi. I had to take a picture of cute Bridgette with a suitcase with Alysse stuff on the moto. In which, cue thieves. Can I tell you, I seriously have had ENOUGH of thieves. We get to Gisenyi and I am so excited to take a picture of Alysse. No camera.

                So, I try not to let it squash the moment, while grumbling under my breath how I could not wait to post a “first day of school” picture. I was about tired of putting a positive spin on things. But, Alysse was just loving showing me the classrooms, and her dorm rooms, introducing me to teachers “This my Mum!!!” So, I resolved not to think about it, because those silly things really can steal the moment away from you. And I decided the thief stole my camera, and he was not going to steal this moment. It is the first time in Alysse’s life, she has walked into school and up to a teacher with a grin ear to ear and been able to say “THIS, is my Mum!” No, thief you cannot steal that from us.

                Oh and I have to tell you, the motorbike ride to her school. Well, I no longer need to envy pictures of people at the fair with all these daredevil rides, or even six flags. Because the fair rides do not hold a flame to the motorbike ride to her school. A few times I said “We cannot take the moto up this kind of incline….Oh, I guess we are!!!” In case you are wondering, I rarely get scared on the moto’s, they are not reckless in the least. Except that other time the moto drove so close to that bus, I could have high fived everyone on the opposite side the bus.

                When we got back into Nyundo. The motorbike driver launched a investigation. I had to laugh a few times, because I wish I knew what this crowd was saying to one another. With flailing arms, and speaking so quickly. Bridgette knows a few words in English, so I was put to the test without Alysse to communicate with them. I decided, what have I got to loose, I will just stand here and see if they turn up my Camera. And I guess in a small African village, things are not so easy to hide. And when something new turns up, everyone knows. So, long story short. I have my camera back!!!  

                I have to head back to Alysse’s school tomorrow afternoon. And if I didn’t have to go there anyways I would find a reason to go to her school to get that first day picture anyways, and technically it was her first day of classes, so it is still her first day.  

Just to reminisce a bit, here is a picture
of Josiane, Alysse, and I, when I met them 
back in August 2011. :) 

Cute Bridgette on the moto on the way to take Alysse
to boarding school. :) 

Photo courtesy of the thief. 

Oh, does this not make you want to scream in joy. 
How STINKIN CUTE is she in her school uniform?! 
Oh, be still my heart. 

The offices at Alysse's school. 
I tell you, I was deliriously excited to take her to school!

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Birthday burger?!!

It is September!! Which means it is my Birthday month, 
and I can finally begin to hatch a plan I have been thinking about
for awhile. And I am so stinkin excited!! 

Here in Rwanda, meat is a rarity. Seriously.
In the orphanage the kids actually get meat once a year. 
Tonight for the first time in the two weeks I have been here, 
I pushed around the pasta, potatoes, and rice on my plate, 
and despite being hungry, just could not bring myself to 
eat it all. Carbs, carbs, carbs. A few times, I will send 
one of the girls out to go buy a LIVE chicken, so one
of them can slaughter it for dinner. 

So this year for my birthday I would LOVE
to honor the girls in the house, and the girls in No. 41
and treat them all out to a hamburger, fries, and a soda. 
There are 32 girls in No. 41 and it will cost 
$15 a girl for transportation there and back, and their meal. 
There is a hotel not far, that has a restaurant, 
where you can get a great hamburger with the works!
And to them it is a HUGE treat. 

So, I am asking my friends this year for my birthday, 
if you could donate for one of the 32 girls to go out for dinner. 
You can click that picture to the right that says "One time donation" 
I will need to have gotten them all "funded" by the 24th. 

Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt. 
I just realized I will be 32, and we will be taking
32 girls out for burgers. 
I just got way too excited about that.
Yikes, I will be 32....
Ok, focus... 

Cannot wait to honor these lovelies. 

Lots of love from Rwanda, 

You guys totally rock! As of this morning we are $30 over
to take all the No.41 girls our for burgers on my birthday.
Now I am cannot wait for the 26th, not because I turn
another year older. (We can forgo that part actually!!)
but because I cannot wait to treat these lovelies, because of YOU.
Best. Birthday. Gift. EVER!