Friday, May 29, 2009

Rwanda Journal Entry #5

After visiting the child headed house, we went to a house that grew mushrooms. They showed us the small cash crop that was completely new to the nation. The prime minister had come to see it. We went back and ate lunch then traveled to the school. As we were on our way we came to a truck that had broken down in the dead center of the one-way road. I went with our translator on a dirt bike to the school to let the people know we were coming, but would be a bit late. The rest of the team started to

walk the 20 minutes to the school. When we all arrived the people were all lined up and the kids were seated. They sat us down and the same little girls from the other day danced again. I felt so welcome and taken back by it. They sang the national anthem of Rwanda. Everyone was on key and it sounded almost perfect. Then they sang two more songs that were just wonderful. After singing, the kids acted out skits and then showed us the school. We went into a meeting with the teachers and then I got the opportunity to play basketball with one of the boys. When it was time to go, I gave him a Fanta. He smiled from cheek to cheek, took a sip then gave it back. I guess he didn't know it was for him to keep. When we told him it was his he got so excited. He walked off into the sunset with his joy so big. What I've learned is that giving is so much better than receiving.

This concludes the trip to Rwanda. Beginning next week, we will post stories from Austin's next stop-Uganda.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Humility in the heart of a child

Six year old Makenna watched a video called "Attitude of Gratitude" at her school last week and it gave her the desire to help change lives. With such excitement from the video she saw, Makenna went home that day and began to clean out her closet. She picked out all of her favorite toys and told her mom she wanted to send them all off to the school in Africa that she heard about on the video. That school was the one Hoops of Hope built in Zambia, so Makenna's mom contacted us with her story. We were blown away by the fact that a six year old girl not only felt compassion for the children in Africa, but that she acted upon it. And she didn't just pick out all the old toys she doesn't play with anymore.... she chose the ones she loves. The ones she enjoys playing with... her favorites. I can't imagine how a six year old would be willing to give up what they love the most to bring smiles to the faces of kids they may never meet. To be honest, I sometimes have a hard time even sharing my food or giving up Starbucks for a week! Makenna's humility and her passion to help kids across the world has inspired me. She has inspired our team. And I hope she inspires you too.

Thank you Makenna for helping us to give children in Africa a brighter future. We love your kindness!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Rwanda Journal Entry #4

March 6th, 2009
The next day we first drove to the child headed household. It was just a home down from the caregiver house. The kids remembered us and held out their hands saying "mamba" which is a type of candy. We stepped inside and there were three children. They all were seated on a bench. The kids told us their story. Their dad had died early on and the mom was put in prison. They said they did not know why she was put there or if she was even still alive. That is something nobody should ever ever have to face. They said that the only way that they were able to survive was because the 8-year-old child was sponsored through World Vision. The oldest had to stay home every day cooking and cleaning. They had to live off of the money donated through World Vision. The money helped to build them a small hut. Before having a home, they lived under a tree. I can't even imagine the life they have lived. What was cool is we got to walk up the hill to get them water. With the water, I got to wash their feet. They loved it so much. Then we passed out "mamba" to the kids. They went crazy! It was such a joy to see these kids so happy.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Rwanda Journal Entry #3

March 5th continued: Rwanda

Next we went to the OVC club. (Orphans and Vulnerable Children.) We were by now high in the mountains and the rain had just stopped. Tons of kids had ran over to our cars through the mud. They ran to greet us. One child I remembered was a boy with a hand carved wooden scooter. It was definitely his prized possession. He used it and rode it really well. It was so amazing that he was so happy about his little scooter. He was the popular kid.

They then took us under an overhanging so if it rained we wouldn't be outside. All the children from the school across the way came running to see the presentation. The presentation began with a very booming drum and from behind the building dancers appeared. They were young little girls who had bells on their feet. They sang as they danced to the music. More kids kept running and crowding around in a circle.

Then a boy got up and read a poem about AIDs and how they needed protection. It was sad how big of an affect AIDs had on this community. The dancers got up to sing one last song when it started to rain very heavily. They were about halfway through the song when the sky tore open. It wasn't just a small sprinkle but a downpour..some of the most intense rain I've ever seen. It didn't hinder these little girls though. They ran under the overhang with us and continued to dance. About 200 kids were watching the dancers and the speakers.

When the program ended, we got to interact and ride out the storm. The kids crowded around us. It was pretty cool to give them high fives and stuff. We didn't know what to do so we sang with them. We sang "joy in my heart", "this little light of mine", "bingo" and "Rudolf the red nose reindeer." The last two were mine but the kids loved it. The rain still hadn't stopped and we had to get into the car. We left and even through the muddy, heavy rain the kids chased our car. Then we drove back to the hotel that I am at now for the night.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rwanda Journal Entry #2

Listen to this incredible story of a caregiver that Austin got to meet while in Rwanda. This is the same day as the previous blog entry.

March 5th continued-Rwanda

Next, we went to visit a caregiver. Her name was "Ahora". She was at a house to help someone and we came in to hear her story. The lady whose house we were in was "Agnus". They were both HIV positive. The lady had a child in her arm who was fast asleep. Ahora showed us all the things she did to take care of these sick people. Next, she shared her story. Wow! That was tough! She had 200 family members and relatives before the genocide. All had died except her. She was also raped during the genocide and that was how she got AIDs. Soon, people found her and put her on ARV's. Everyone thought it was too late. The doctors would tell her she was going to die. She proved everyone wrong and was able to recover. She also very quickly forgave and began her work as a caregiver. She now has given her life to help those who have AIDs.

Some of the women of Rwanda who represent stories like this

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Humanitarian IQ

Our team came across an interesting quiz posted by NEED Magazine called "The Humanitarian IQ." It's an incredibly eye-opening quiz that will test your knowledge of global issues the world is facing today. The test will reveal just how much you know about the AIDS crisis, global poverty, clean water, and human rights. We hope it will inspire you to instigate change in this world. Maybe we, individually, can't change the whole planet but if all of us do something, then together we just might surprise the world. Go ahead- take the quiz, see what you score, think of a way that you can help out, then go out and take action.

Click this link to be directed to the quiz:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rwanda Journal Entry #1

We apologize for the long delay. In March 2009, Austin was able to travel to Rwanda with the Revolve team. The next few posts will be personal journal entries from his trip. To begin, here is the first entry.

Rwanda March 5, 2009

Today we had the amazing chance to go out into the field in Rwanda. First we went to the ADP office and listened to the director speak about the ADP. He talked a lot about sponsorship. One of the interesting things was about how they only do one child per family for sponsorship. He talked about how the people were very nice and kind but were struggling to survive. Next we walked back outside and into the trucks. We drove out and at the school across the street the kids started yelling “imuzungu” which means “white person”. It was sweet. We drove to a house where these kids were backing bread. They had started their own organization to make an income. But, they were actually orphans. It was their way of taking care of their younger siblings. It was neat to see that they found a way even through their hardships.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Pay it Forward

If you've ever seen the movie "Pay it Forward" you know it's about a young boy who decides to help change the world a little at a time through a process called 'pay it forward.' It's the idea of doing something for someone in hopes that they will pay it forward to three more people, which begins a chain reaction. Now I'm not going to talk about or give away the movie, but I want to linger on this idea of paying it forward. Have you ever heard of someone paying for the person behind them in the drive-thru at Starbucks? Then each person following keeps it going and it becomes a day long thing? That is an exact example of paying it forward. What if, instead of paying someone back for a favor they provide, we paid it forward? Could the world change?

Try it this week. Start simple. When you're out, why not smile at someone you normally wouldn't even look at? Or how about randomly giving someone a gift, then asking them to pay it forward. Or go for the Starbucks idea and pay for the person behind you in a drive-thru. We may not see the results each one of these can have, but I guarantee it will prompt others to be generous and 'pay it forward.' It's been said that a smile is contagious. Just think about how one smile given to someone can travel around your city from person to person the entire day. Just because we may not see the impact one small act can make doesn't mean it's not worth it. Show an act of kindness this week and let the world flow with it. See how the atmosphere of your day can change. From my experience, I can assure that not only will the person on the receiving end will be blessed, but you will too.

Tara K.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Event in Greensboro, NC

Another article from a great event that happened this past weekend in Greensboro, NC. Great job guys!

Click here to read the article.