The Cost of a Sunday Lunch
One of the most humbling experiences Equip team members have when visiting Rwanda, is the opportunity to visit the homes of those we know and love and to receive hospitality from them. Paul and I had this opportunity last Saturday when we spent time with a good friend.
Our friend is facing an uncertain future. He is now reaching retirement age but, like many Rwandans, has no pension provision. He has a wife and two young, dependent children who are still in primary school. Although it is a government school there are registration fees to be paid which he cannot afford. A graduate and educated man, he owns his small, much loved house but the land on which it sits is insufficient to grow enough food to feed his family. He therefore has to rent another plot of land to be able to survive. His wife is hoping to keep and breed rabbits so that there will be meat to eat and livestock to sell but even buying the first few animals is challenging when there are other pressing priorities. Another concern is the fact that he lives in an area where the government will soon relocate the residents to make way for more urban development, so all he has created in terms of a home will be gone and he will have to start again in another village.
And yet, having given him only about an hour’s notice of our visit because of our busy and ever-changing schedule, our friend and his family welcomed us into their home. As the sun began to set, they even provided us with a delicious meal of boiled pumpkin and potato. The two boys sat quietly with us, the younger one impressing us with his grasp of maths as he explained some diagrams in an English textbook. He is clearly bright and is now at risk of missing school because the fees cannot be found. The older boy sat playing with an old mobile phone – some things are the same across the globe!
Together we chatted, laughed and prayed until a small group of woman and children arrived at her door wanting us to sing and dance with them which we did.
When we left, after talking, eating and praying together, we knew we had been in a home full of love, generosity and peace.
Thankfully, since Saturday, Equip has been able to source a sponsor for the boys’ registration fees which will ease the financial burden a little. We are also looking at the possibility of some part time administrative work to provide a small income.
However, the next day as we sat at our hotel and reflected on our visit over lunch, we realised that the meal we had just eaten contained meat which most Rwandans cannot afford, and, although not in any way extravagant by western standards, had cost us more than would be required to pay the school registration fees for a year. The need in this part of East Africa is vast and we so easily forget how the things we take for granted in the hectic pace of our lives, food to eat; free education and health care; pension provision and so much more, are a daily, gruelling struggle for others.
Equip is actively exploring ways in which we can support community projects that ease this burden of poverty for the most vulnerable; the old, the sick, the widowed and the orphaned, while retaining their dignity and autonomy. We have several potential projects under discussion, but they will require significant funding. Having now gained INGO status and opened a second TVET school, we are well placed to work alongside the Rwanda authorities and in line with their national priorities. If you are not already to committed to supporting us regularly, we would ask you to consider a small monthly donation which can make a huge difference (www.equipuk.org and press ‘donate’). The cost of a Sunday lunch can change lives. Thank you.
Promoting opportunity and excellence in Africa
Registered Charity No: 1134890
Registered Charity No: 1134890