Robin Strickler is director of the Rwanda School Project in cooperation with the Lutheran Church of Rwanda. To support Robin, or another of the ELCA’s nearly 250 missionaries, go to www.elca.org/missionarysponsorship.
Birthdays in Rwanda usually don’t merit much attention, but we celebrated the official birth of our school on May 7 and it was a wonderful occasion. In the days beforehand, everyone scrubbed, swept, washed and dusted the school and we hoisted our first official Rwandan flag on a wooden pole. Workers put up a blue and white striped tent and plastic chairs on our newly rooted grass yard and volunteers festooned the balcony with swathes of green fabric and our student-made RLS banner.
Yet I still worried, It’s nice to look good, but is the program ready? However, despite the fact that our guest of honor was unable to attend, the students impressed the 200 people present with their poise and creativity and we enjoyed the energy and celebration of traditional dancers.
Students prepared skits in Kinyarwanda, with the funniest featuring a plot with a poor student heading to the USA on scholarship and a wealthy student lying to hide her bad grades from her businessman father, who it turns out, also lies about his bad grades in the past. Students’ creativity with props had the audience rolling in the aisles with laughter – a Mercedes Benz was a Chinese checker board for a steering wheel and two boys walking alongside the “driver” holding mirrors for the rearview mirrors. The “Boeing jet” was a wheelbarrow with the word “Boeing” taped on it. In my speech, I said that in Rwanda we are growing brilliant young people, and the students’ performance made my words even truer. When the afternoon ended with a double rainbow, it seemed quite poetic.
Last week, Ignace approached me at my desk. He’s a tall young man whose emotions are always written on his face, and with his brow knit, he looked at me and saw that I was trying to do several things at once. “Auntie,” he said, “you are busy as a bee!” He was learning about similes and metaphors in English class. To carry it a step further, we are a hive of activity and the harvest is sweet! We are indeed blessed!
Grace and peace,