Today is the day we fly out of Kigali, Rwanda and head home. And let me tell you, these last few days have not been easy.
Saturday was a super busy day for us. We started early by meeting Sopo to go to one final choir practice. We sang a few songs with them, took a few pictures and said our goodbyes to most of them. We love that choir so much, so that was a hard goodbye.
We got home from choir practice, ate breakfast, then we walked down to a tailor who was making some stuff for us. We asked her to fix a shirt, and I asked if she would make me an apron. She agreed and we told her we’d be back later that day. We walked home to get going on our packing (we procrastinated, who would’ve guessed?) and a little bit later Mazambi came to visit. Mazambi is Ed and Brenda’s day guard, but this month is his vacation month, so we haven’t seen him. Taylor and Mazambi were good buddies that first month, so it was nice of him to bring his wife and come say goodbye. We sat with him for a little bit, doing our best to communicate, took some pictures, and then he had to leave. We had to walk up to the Clinic where Henri works to pick up some medicine we need, so we walked him part of the way. We got to the clinic, but didn’t find Henri, so we went home and changed to go play volleyball. Our English speaking friends were playing volleyball in someone’s yard at 3:00, and it was about 2:30. When we got inside, I realized we hadn’t eaten lunch yet. Whoops. I was SO excited to play volleyball, that I scarfed some food, thinking Taylor would do the same. He didn’t. He wasn’t in as much of a hurry, I guess. When he was finished, we left again. We told the tailor who was fixing our clothes we would be back around three to pick them up, so we had to make a detour on our way to play. The clothes were perfect, so we paid her and went on our way. Turns out, I didn’t need to feel so rushed; this is Africa. Even Americans are on African time. We were the first few there at 3:30, and we didn’t even start playing until about 4:30.
Oh volleyball. Even in Africa, it’s just as fun. We stepped out on the court, split up into teams, then had a blast. Taylor was crazy, of course, which made it even more fun. Liz and I were the only two who have actually played serious volleyball, so it wasn’t a super competitive game, just a fun one. Once it started getting dark and we started getting tired, we called it quits. Michelle invited us over for dinner a little later, so we went to Liz’s house to shower and get ready and then Joel took us over to Michelle’s. Liz and Lewis were heading off to someone else’s house so they weren’t able to join us. We had a delicious pasta dinner, with baked potatoes and salad. After dinner we played Rummikub, then had to go home because the next day would be an early Easter Sunday.
Of course, when we got home, we didn’t go straight to bed. We had been putting off packing all day, and we wouldn’t get much time on Sunday to do it. So, we had to stay up and pack more. We happened to have water and electricity when we got back, so I was able to do some laundry as well. We made a dent in our packing, then after our laundry load was done in the wash, we were able to go to bed. It was about 1 am. Phew. Long day.
And then came Sunday.
He is Risen! Happy Easter, everyone! Taylor and I got to wear our new African outfits to church, which look awesome. We headed out to Mudaka for church, the same place where the Clinic is we visited at the beginning of the trip. It’s a beautiful drive out there around the lake, so we were able to stop and take a few pictures. The Bairds came with us, so I was able to get quick family pictures of everyone.
We made it to church with two minutes to spare. Africa said goodbye to us by having a four hour and twenty minute church service. They said at the beginning that it was going to be a short one today because the “missionaries were in a hurry” (really, we just told them they didn’t need to serve us lunch today because we were having an Easter lunch all together). So much for it being short. There were five or six choirs, each sang two or three songs each. Dawn was keeping track of choir time just at the beginning of the service—50 minutes of choirs. Phew. After the offering, one choir sang a fifteen minute song. And I’m not exaggerating.
Taylor got a bit restless during the service and got really hyper. He starting messing around with the camera, taking all sorts of pictures. He kept making me laugh, doing crazy, subtle things. He was the entertainment for us for probably two hours. It’s really hard sitting through a four hour service and not knowing what anyone is saying.
Bob preached, and I think it was good, but I don’t know Swahili. It was received well, so I think he did okay. Taylor was asked to pray for the offering, and as he left he did a little jig down the stairs back to his seat. Like I said, he was hyper.
At the end of the service, the preacher called us up onto stage to give us a farewell. He read out of Thessalonians, and held Taylor’s hand up in the air, saying they were brothers. He said that when we came, they didn’t see color, they just saw a brotherhood in Christ. He prayed for us, then we took our seats again.
When church was over, they asked us to go stand at the back and greet people as they were leaving. All the wazungu stood in a line and everyone stopped to shake our hands. When everyone went through, we went down to use the squatty potty, then piled back into the truck and headed to the Baird’s for Easter lunch.
We had a ham and cheese and potato casserole, two types of salad, and deviled eggs. Delicious. After a quick lunch, we had to head back home to get ready for Sunday night English church at the Buell’s. There was a big crowd that night and Ed did a good message about the resurrection. We sang How Deep the Father’s Love, which is such a good song for Easter. “Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart, his wounds have paid my ransom.” It’s a powerful song, especially when your focus is on the cross and all that Jesus did for us.
After church we all just sort of hung around for a while. We said our goodbyes to people as they were leaving, which was sad to do. At one point in the night, Sopo showed up to the house with four members of the choir. They stayed outside until almost everyone left. When they came in, we all pulled up chairs, ate some cake and drank some Kool-Aid. Sopo talked to Ed in Swahili while Ed translated for us. He told us that we were members of his choir, not just visitors. He said the choir was going to keep working on the things we taught them, and then teach them to other choirs around the area. He said they are so sad to see us leave, almost to the point of tears, and they are praying that God brings us back here one day. That was it for me. He started praying and I started crying. Like I said, we just love that choir. They might be the people we miss most when we’re home. After the prayer they read us a letter they had written us, then gave us each a gift. Taylor got a button down shirt, and I got a skirt and shirt to match. They are sweet. I can’t wait to wear them. We hugged them goodbye and they drove off. Taylor and I stood outside for a bit when they left. We were sad to see them go.
The rest of that night was spent packing. We still had so much to do. We are PROcrastinators. Holler. We stayed up extra late doing laundry and finding a place for all of our stuff. We ended up falling asleep, then waking up again later to finish the rest of the laundry. Brenda was so kind to move things around for us while we slept for a bit. We finally finished and ended up getting a few hours of sleep before we had to be up the next morning. We were up by six getting ready for the long bus ride. JP came to the Buell’s house to get us around seven. We took more pictures of us and the Buell’s, said goodbye to Brenda and piled into the car. It was sad saying bye to Brenda. It’s hard when you live with someone for nine weeks to have to say goodbye to them. Their house is going to be a whole lot quieter, but I think they’ll be lonely without us. We’re going to miss them terribly.
We made the six hour trip to Kigali, made it here by three, and we were SUPER hungry. We checked into our guest house then went on a walk to find a restaurant. We found one, but it didn’t open until 6:30, and we couldn’t wait. So we walked a little further and found the New Happy Restaurant. That looked promising. We went in a found a seat, the waiter came and asked us what we wanted to eat. We asked for menus, but there were none. He just told us what they had: fish, chicken, rice, bananas, beans, and fries. I got fish and fries, Taylor got chicken and rice, JP got chicken and fries. Everything came out in less than five minutes. All the meat was drowned in the same tomatoey sauce and the fries were cold. Oh well. We were hungry. So we chowed.
After dinner, we went back to the guest house and JP went to his sister-in-law’s house. We had a nice, relaxing evening, which was completely different from the last two nights we’ve had. Taylor and I watched some French TV until we couldn’t stand it anymore, played cards for a while, and then watched Monk on our computer until we fell asleep. Easy and relaxing, just what we needed before we travelled.
We slept in as late as we could, trying to ignore the noises from the busy Rwandan streets. When we couldn’t stand it any longer, we got up and showered and got ready to go. JP came to get us at 10. We drove to the airport, ate a small lunch, and now, here we sit, waiting for our plane in the Kigali Airport.
I’m past the part where I’m sad about leaving. I mean, I know I’ll miss it, but I’m so excited to be home. I can’t wait to squeeze my family and hang out with my friends. I’m excited to eat ice cream and take showers with water pressure. We are both ready to add some variety back into our diets. We’re ready to actually understand the church services we sit through, and excited that they won’t be four hours long. We excited to be able to turn on a light switch and not have to worry if the power will be there or not.
We aren’t excited to leave the people we have grown to love so much. I’m not excited to start driving everywhere again; I’ve really enjoyed everything being sort of within walking distance. I’m not excited for the pounds I’m going to put back on from eating processed food again. I’m going to miss having avocadoes with everything, and drinking soda out of glass bottles. But our time here is over for now. We have a lot of things to look forward to in the states. And who knows, maybe God will bring us back here someday, even if it’s just for a visit.