Rwanda Part 2

On our way to the genocide memorial site,  my friend told me that she was not going in with me. She could not bear to see the pictures and stories again. Sometimes she was strong and took foreigners inside but that day was not one of the strong days. I was disappointed but I understood and agreed to go alone.  She told me I could get a guide but I decided against it. I would go at my own pace and take time to read, re-read, feel and take it all in without worrying about someone else!

We got there and my friend showed me the entrance. She remained outside as agreed. A guy at the reception gave me a brief history of the site and showed me where to start. He offered a guide but I declined. I entered the place and immediately felt a fear and grave sadness hit me. The place was a bit dark and I could already feel the heaviness of the stories in there! I stood for sometime unable to move. I contemplated turning around and going back outside and not coming back. However I took deep breaths, prayed and talked to my heart. It would be hard but I could do it. I also heard voices of people already inside and the thought of not being alone was the final push I needed! I walked to the 1st picture slowly….

The story is told very well with pictures and below each picture there is an explanation in french, kinyarwanda and english. The story explains Rwanda before the genocide, during and even after the genocide in great detail. There are also videos of survivors narrating their stories and showing real videos of the state of the country and its people during those dark days.

The Rwandese were one people, speaking one language and enjoying their extremely fertile land when the French and Belgians arrived. The colonialists caused the division. They quickly introduced the class system by dividing people by how many cows they owned. They gave IDs to anyone who owned 10 cows and not to those with less. They also began giving preferential treatment to the Tutsis. They gave them leadership jobs and priviledges that the Hutus did not have. The divide was created and expanded by these policies and slowly the people did not see each other as equals. The Hutus rose up in revolt against the discrimination they were experiencing and took over government positions and all… This is where  my heart became rock hard… The realization that the Hutu really believed their enemy to be their fellow Tutsi and not the french men. The french man was doing a ‘good’ job turning them against each other. He was the real enemy and as if to prove his position as the enemy, he switched his allegiances!!! He now supported the Hutu people and encouraged them to hate the Tutsis. They even came up with the famous ‘Ten Commandments’ against the Tutsi’s. The commandments were purely meant to stir up the hatred even more… The commmandmemts said things like: The Hutus were not to do business with the Tutsis, they were not to marry Tutsis, that loyalty to their own meant hating the others! The media and the church were also used as tools to fuel the divisions! Tell me what kind of people plan the disunity of a people like this? Who gets satisfaction from people hating each other? I will not lie here, I felt a strong hatred for the French at this point. Anger was burning inside me! 😦

I will summarize the story because it cannot be zipped into one blog post… In short, the hatred increased to a crazy point until the killings began. France as if to finish what they began, facilitated the side they preffered, with guns and grenades and unlimited bullets! I ask again, who does such a thing? Who enjoys being the mastermind of the deaths of innocent people? I know only one such person: the devil.

My anger turned to pain and the tears flowed freely. Death had taken over and wiped out millions! You know what? The french after stirring up the trouble packed up their bags and left the country when the killings started.It was as if their mission was accomplished. There are mass graves in each town in Rwanda as I was told.

I have not given the story justice and I cannot. I can say though that it was a dark time for our brothers in Rwanda. Those I talked to said it was literally HELL! They told me they will never forget what happened but the rebuilding they have done is AMAZING!!! They have slowly erased the divide that the white man created among them. They have realized who the real enemy is and they hate the Hutu-Tutsi talk. They are one people speaking one language and teaching the whole world a lesson of love and reconciliation.

I left the memorial with mixed feelings. Everyone alive should visit Rwanda and read and hear for themselves. It is heavy but totally worth it! I cannot say it enough, I loved the people of Rwanda!

(Wedding and Congo stories had to be pushed to part 3) 🙂

Love,
Ndanu.

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Rwanda Part 1

I have been waiting for this trip for so long! My brother is marrying a Rwandese and we had to bring dowry to her home country. This was my chance to strike off Rwanda from my ‘countries to visit’ list so I saved up to be here just a bit longer than everyone else. That meant travelling alone by bus across 2 borders and for 24hrs. I was a bit scared but determined so I booked the bus and though most people thought I was crazy,  I did it!! 🙂

I sat next to a Rwandese young man.  He read his bible for most of his trip and we talked a lot about God, football, business and life in general. He acted like my guardian angel as he showed me what to do at the borders and stayed with me at Kigali bus stop until I was picked by my friend! Too cool that one!! Blessings upon blessings over his life! 🙂

Rwanda is extremely clean. The no paper bags rule is real!!! Coming from my beloved dirty kenya, I am simply in awe. Not a single paper anywhere!!!!

They all speak one language, that is Kinyarwanda and I find this quite intriguing!  Mobile operators send text campaigns to subscribers in Kinyarwanda, Bill boards are in Kinyarwanda and even football commentators do it in Kinyarwanda. This of course can leave a foreigner feeling completely out of place but it’s still very admirable. Their language brings them together and they have safe guarded it despite all ‘modernity’ and western influence! A lesson to Kenyans who feel so developed that now we want to drop Swahili from the school syllabus!! We will slowly have nothing of our ‘own’!! Lord help us!

Everyone here thinks that I am Rwandese yet I know zero Kinyarwanda! They speak to me in their language and say I am lying when I tell them that I am ‘completely’ Kenyan! When I manage to convince them,  they immediately ask if I would mind a Rwandese husband! Haha! The pressure continues a million miles from home!! LOL!! The struggle is real!! 😀

The people are really friendly with no malice. They help expecting nothing in return! The streets are very safe. I use my phone in the matatu with no worry! The women are beautiful like everyone says but the men too are something!! Very handsome!  The kind of handsome that leaves a girl staring! The ‘head-turning’ handsome! I rarely see that kind of handsome so a girl is happy! LOL! 🙂 The traditional food is delicious! I have had their porridge, traditional greens, fried sweet potatoes and yams!! Healthy and yummy food!! I am always over fed by the amazing family that I am living with!! #fatteningcamp 🙂

In short, I love it!!!

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Tomorrow I visit the Genocide Memorial Centre! That will be heart breaking but I am encouraged by the people they have become! Life is all about continuous improvement! As long as we are alive then we can improve on yesterday! We can grow,  we can heal….
It is well!

The dowry payment and traditional wedding happens on Saturday!  I am too excited! That story will be Part 2

Love,
Ndanu

Ankara and Jeans bag

I am here figuring out how I am going to pack for a trip I will be on this tuesday. I hate packing so I am already stressing but I am a big girl and I will figure it out 🙂 🙂
The bright side is that 1) I will be travelling and 2) I have an extremely cool bag! It’s in between a hand bag and a proper travelling bag. It could be perfect hand luggage for a trip! Several people have been asking about it and I decided to give the information here! 🙂

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I got this bag made at Jericho market.  I know some of you have no idea where that is… Don’t be dismayed! He delivers in town and you can communicate about design, fabric and all on phone. He finally got whatsapp too 🙂

Fundi is called Nelson.
His number 0721 476377.
General rating:
He is very professional- he communicates with the client and delivers on time.
He is creative- I had the design in my head and I just explained it to him and he understood. The bag exceeded even the design in my head.
Fabric – fundi’s own (jeans and kente)
Cost – Ksh. 2, 000.

All the best good people!
Let’s travel in style 🙂

Love,
Ndanu

A Peek into a Minister’s life

An experience from yesterday night had me itching to write about the life of a minister. Not those of the state but the church ones 🙂 Pastors if you may… I have lived with one for the last 25 years. LOL!

Two weeks ago, a leader of one of the church estate fellowships called my dad and informed him that the whole group wanted to visit our home. My dad consulted his wife as usual and she was more than willing to host them. This is the first thing to note about a Pastor, he has guests in his home nearly all the time. Some announced and some not… I remember when growing up, one of the first lessons our parents taught us was sharing. I was often sharing my room with lady guests and my brothers with male guests. The most common visitors were couples going through marriage counseling. They would come from far and wide and because day time was a busy time, they would sleep over at our house and have a night counseling session. Some visitors were also missionaries or pastors on transit to somewhere… I remember a Kenyan missionary couple that would always sleep at our place when night time caught up with them in Nairobi. They had 3 little kids and our house was not humongous but somehow my parents made it work. Other guests were leaders of different groups in church and a myriad of different individuals in need of prayer and even material support…

I remember one night when the missionaries were sleeping over… They had a child that was barely a year old and the mum was changing their nappy in the living room. The poop accidentally fell on the carpet and though that was pretty messy, i remember mum helping her to clean it up without a single complaint. She did not even wince. The subject was never even discussed after the guests left. I know these times were not easy for my parents but they had somehow given their lives fully to God and subsequently to his people.

Tea is a definite in a Pastor’s home! 🙂 No directive needed to be given. When a visitor came, tea had to be made and served. At times the surprise visitors would come as we served food and we would go ahead to serve the food and share with them. Mum’s policy has always been that food is to be shared. We did not wait until the visitors left in order to serve the food. If it was meal time then we would find a way to share what was available. Now that I am grown up, I have found that this is not an obvious lesson and I am grateful to have learned it.

I have digressed so much!! Back to yesterday’s story… Everyone in the house forgot about the said visit so you can imagine the shock when the members of the fellowship called to say they were 5 minutes away from our house. My small bro was making dinner, I was casually watching a movie after a long day at work, mum was on her way home and dad was traveling from Kangundo. We all really freaked out because we were not prepared for the visitors but since we could not tell them to go back, we decided to make it work. Bro left the house to pick the guests from the main gate. This meant that I had only 3 minutes to get the house into a presentable state! Haha! I neatened the living room, rearranged the seats to accommodate more people and availed the extra plastic seats that we use when we have many visitors. I was barely through when the door bell rang and I had to smile and welcome the 11 guests. Mum and dad arrived before the fellowship was over but in short, we had a wonderful time with the team. Tea was also prepared and served 🙂

The calling of a pastor is one of the things that really amaze me! The amazement has not waned after 25 years. It is a full time job this one, full time!! 🙂 I know I have not covered even half of what their lives are like but let’s take time to pray and appreciate the men and women of God in our lives! They are amazing people with lofty responsibilities!

I salute you!!

Love,

Ndanu.

Knick Knacks

I have many small things to write about! 🙂 Here goes….

A friend of mine saw this post (https://semasoulful.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/here-there-everywhere/) and she immediately inboxed asking me to help her pray. She and her hubby wanted a baby badly. They had been trying for a long time but nothing was happening! 😦 That was in January. We prayed and after a while I forgot about it. I met her on Sunday and she is expecting a baby in October!! Miracles still happen and they are super exciting! I was hukuz screaming like a small child! Pray alone and with a friend. Do not give up!! He is still working miracles for normal people like you and I!!!!

To all you business minded people out there, there is red gold that has great demand but very little supply in Kenya right now. Strawberries!!!! If you have access to a farm or a green house please take my word for it and farm strawberries. They are used to make yoghurt, juices, cakes, shakes, jam and to decorate many cuisines. I am always frustrated by how rare strawberries are. I have had to look for alternatives for my forest cakes because strawberries are either unavailable or very bad quality of late. They could need a lot of care in the farm but the returns will be humongous. You will thank me when you are a millionaire in 2 years. Your first market will be Uchumi Supermarkets. Their supplier is doing a terrible job right now. If you are resilient, hardworking and constant you will not regret it!

I will also be one of your top customers! 😉

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My May read was a book by one Ayi Kwei Armah, ‘The Healers’. It was my first book by Ayi and I loved it! As is my tradition, I now have to find his books one by one and read them all so that I have his full collection in the end. I have done that with Chimamanda and Khaled Hosseini so far! 🙂 I digress!! Back to The Healers… I feel like for me, the whole book was a history lesson. Ayi, skillfully took me hundreds of years back to the start of colonialism in Africa. I thought and felt what our people were thinking and feeling at the time. A very insightful read in deed. I recommend the book to everyone interested in history, in Africa and generally in a good story! I have to warn you that it is also a painful read. My heart was in knots and relays especially near the end of the book….

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My June read is ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’!! Mmmmmmhhh 🙂 Let’s see how that goes! /o\ \o/

The last of my stories is on treasures. It seems I am on the roll today with red gold and now treasures 🙂
Any way, we all know this verse:
Matt 6
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

I have always heard the normal interpretation of the verse about the nature of the treasures. That we have to choose treasures that are eternal (like salvation) because all these other things will pass away. I however got a further interpretation: Apart from gaining a heart of wisdom to choose what my treasures are to be, I should also lay these treasures into the hands of God. Those things dear to me, those that I love: my family, my friendships, my man (soon 🙂 ), my children, my heart, my career and purpose, my business, my talents and gifts, my future, my health…. I can love and treasure all these as much as I want but truth is there is only so much I can do to keep them safe, alive and thriving. Most of us have sleepless nights and painful ulcers worrying about our different treasures. It is time to surrender them to God. To pray for them, do what we can and leave the rest to God. There is no safer place to leave our treasures than in the arms of The Ancient of Days. He never changes, He never sleeps nor slumbers, He is everywhere at the same time, He is the Beginning and the End and He is all powerful! No insurance or any manner of security can beat that. ’20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’

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I am laying mine down every morning and taking up His joy and peace!!
Life is beautiful with my treasures securely hidden!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 😉

Love,

Ndanu