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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Village of Hope

Thunder rolls across the twilight sky, the heavens have just opened, spilling rain across the hill country of Kasabo. The red earth has turned to slush, our feet are covered in thick oozy mud. Covered-in shoes would have been good today. We follow the rocky ground to the community centre at the widows and orphans village where seventy widows and children have crammed into this small building to listen to a message of hope. Excitement builds as the women and children begin to sing. Their joy spills forth in dancing as drums beat out a soul stirring rhythm. As the offerings of praise and worship subside, the women lean in intently, hearts open, ready for the inpouring of grace. 

There is a sense of serenity at this village, the air is quiet except for the sound of cows lowing and children playing. Our welcome this morning was graciously extended by an elderly woman. Her hunched frame is full of love as she embraces each of us in turn. I cannot guess her age. Her face is weathered, her body bent, her serenity transparent. She found her way to the village a year ago bringing her adult daughters with her. Her youngest is twenty, and born just before the genocide. For twenty years they have struggled to survive. Her story is compelling. Her body bares the marks of a horrendous beating at the hands of the perpetrators of the genocide. She is permanently hunched over from this beating, protecting her baby twenty years ago would leave her permanently disfigured for the rest of her life. I cannot imagine the breaking of a body. This woman is brave, her courage incredible. Refusing to hand her baby over, she covered her baby with her body receiving blow after blow on her tiny frame, time and time again. I cannot imagine how she has suffered. It seems too impossible to believe.

The 'Village of Hope' provides homes and self sustainable practices for widows and orphans affected by the genocide. Lives continue to be transformed.

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