Rwanda was amazing and we are home, safe and sound. The trip was very successful as long as you don't count Regina never finding her luggage and that all our supplies to begin the candle and soap making didn't arrive until day four! The women we met fell in love with the message and community of Magdalene. We read letters the women from Nashville sent and in response, the women who are part of the sisters of Rwanda started sharing their experiences of surviving incest, violence, addiction and prostitution. Their staff said that they had never heard the women talk so openly. In gratitude and solidarity with the women of Magdalene, the Sisters of Rwanda wrote letters and sent video messages to us. We are planning on taping and reading the letters from 9 -10 next Wednesday morning at Thistle Farms. This will allow us to get everyone interested together at one time. We will read the letters they wrote to us, just like we read the letters we wrote to them. Then, we will listen to the reactions of our residents to the stories that are hauntingly similar.
Rwanda is full of people walking around with ghosts while new life is strapped to the backs of women. Hearty crops are blooming next to people so poor they can't feed their children. It was so much to take in sometimes my legs would shake or my head would throb. Our small group carried you all with us the whole time. It was the right trip and we all think there are many more villages of women who want us to be with them. We found the cousins to the thistles and will post pictures soon.
Seeing women in traditional African dress with goggles and rubber gloves preparing to make soap is awesome. They were so excited when we started the second morning, they had already started cleaning the equipment. We went to villages where women waited all day to see us. They were stunning, poised, and almost whispered what they needed to tell us about their lives and their need for hope and money to keep going. We went to the market and purchased shovels, seeds, and sewing machines in response to some of their requests. Sometimes it's just a fishing pole people need. They already know how to fish. The faith we saw was inspiring and a little intimidating. The singing and dancing were beautiful. The landscape is hilly with mists that come in like sweet blankets. It is strange to think of a million people dying on that land.