So we’re here. Mike and I traveled over 8 hours from Atlanta to Brussels and then another 8 or so hours to land in Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. Long flights normally equal nap time but the truth is there was no chance I was going to be napping for very long. I felt like the ultimate tourist and had to resist the urge to take pictures of everything. The plane rides were luckily uneventful as we crossed over the pond into Europe and then to Africa. This is when my heart started pumping.
We get off the plane nice and simple where we walked on the ground to the terminal and I couldn’t stop looking around and just feeling the night air. There was no hold up at customs and our bags were waiting for us when we found the baggage claim.
The next few moments I tried to capture in my heart forever. I heard a whistle and probably the only white person in the crowd called out to us. It was Jonathan our CEO, he waived us down and after a quick hug introduced us to Manu. This was a moment I was very much anticipating. Manu had one the kindest smiles I have ever seen. Before shaking his hand and giving him a hug he politely bowed. I had no idea what to do and didn’t know if this was customary in Rwandan Culture so I bowed as well a little flustered. We found our car and off to the apartments we are renting we went. We talked about the country, cultural differences and what we were going to experience these next few weeks. I soaked in everything. The abundance of Motorcycles, some as taxis some as an easier way of getting around. The city buzzed with movement, shops to our left and right, restaurants and bars. The traffic wasn’t too crazy but there were people everywhere. Club music was part of the background noise along with a beautiful countryside only slightly lit waiting to reveal itself in the morning light.
We got settled in pretty quick and our cook for the next few weeks is named Anita. She made us some Lasagna that kind of looked like flat bread pizza but tasted delicious. Dinner was spectacular. Manu wasn’t able to join us but we talked with Anita. She made us some incredible African tea. It almost tasted like a Chai Latte but with fresh ginger and cinnamon that made my taste buds dance. Anita is a calm, beautiful woman who loves her 5 kids. She lost her husband to an ulcer about 7 years ago and other family to the genocides. She has a quiet strength, taking care of her children trying to send them to University. Throughout the whole conversation she kept going back to how God had provided and that He will continue to provide. Her reliance and confidence on God was remarkable, She served us first and then sat down to eat.
Sharing a meal is a very sacred thing, from Christ breaking bread at the last super to this meal in front of me I have felt communion with God and others by sharing a meal together. Anita closed her eyes and said a personal blessing before beginning to eat. After more talk of what the next few days will look like Mike and I are now trying to catch up on work back home and make sense of what to expect next.
I’ve said many times I didn’t know what to expect, I felt like I loved this country and these people before I even got here and now it’s been confirmed in my heart. Tomorrow we will run some errands and begin to prepare for the group I’ll be leading next week. Maybe even soak up the Rwandan morning with some areopressed coffee on the patio looking at the real Land of a Thousand Hills. Until tomorrow I will be dreaming of coffee cherries, fermentation tanks, cupping labs, and the resilient spirit of these amazing people.