Jul 5, 2010


i took violet for two walks today, hoping i would be worn out at the proper time. you know, when it's dark outside. she's asleep, i'm not. so i posted most of my rwanda photos on flickr. come say hi, i'm hellomellie!

and here's me at the falls betwixt tanzania & rwanda. with a rainbow. it was so beautiful!

Jul 4, 2010

big brown eyes.

this is clementine. i was drawn in by the pink flamingos on her frock. we met at hope village - a housing village for genocide orphans. she was born to a teenage girl there who has since graduated from school! next up, i need to get miss clementine into school! she wouldn't smile for the camera, but giggled in delight at seeing her own photo.

this is amma. rudy huxtable, anyone??? apparently only i think so, but she had the best mischievous grin.

her momma was right there, and was delighted that i greeted her in kinyarwanda. amma was a shy little bird, but kept a tight grip on my two fingers. i wanted to stuff her in my bag right away!

this is mima. she was the first child i scared with my whiteness, but she finally got up the courage and then kept a firm grip on my hand for the rest of the time we visited. and i quote my roomie mellie: "bring her home now."

there were many more big brown eyes that stole my soul. i want to tell you about fabrice. when fabrice was still a babe-in-arms, his parents had a fight. his father killed his mother with a machete. their neighbors heard her cries and the village took justice into their own hands, leaving fabrice an orphan. one of my new friends in rwanda, K, heard this story on the news, heard the baby's cries, and couldn't sleep for days because the cries never left her mind. thru a swirl of phone calls to tv, radio, villages, etc - she finally found fabrice in a desolate area of rwanda. when she found him, he was emaciated and so ill he could not open his eyes. the villagers, in awe, told her they now believed in God because a total stranger sought out an unwanted orphan. K went back home, and still could not sleep. the baby was still crying in her heart. a few weeks later, the village leader called and said that the baby's last remaining relative, his 97 year old great grand mother was dying. (all other relatives had been killed in the genocide) for the third time, K goes before her church to raise funds for the trek, for food, and for supplies. she takes the baby home - he is full of worms, desperately ill, and somehow remained alive. K and her husband began caring for fabrice (along with the 8 other genocide orphans in their home - never have i seen such a house of warmth and love!)

i met fabrice a few days after his 2nd birthday. he was the first small child who did run away. in fact, he ran TO me, and lifted his arms. always happy to receive a good hug, i obliged. he is happy, healthy, willfull, silly, and beautiful. during the church service where we were introduced to the congregation, he barged up to the front of the church and i swooped him up. he wiggled his little arms all the way around my waist and rested his head on my chest. it was true love.

for what happened next, i had no hesitation. not even a second. K and her husband decided that they wanted to become his legal guardians. the wisdom in this decision? as a legally adopted child, he loses all rights to his family land. if they are his legal guardians, he keeps those rights. they were concerned about the costs and hurdles for legal guardianship and mentioned the cost. there was no doubt in my mind that fabrice is one of the reasons i had to go to rwanda. i had a quick convo with God, counted out the bills, and handed them over the next day. it couldn't have been an easier decision. crazy, yes, for an unemployed girl with only a few future inklings, but what happened next made me giggle uncontrollably. never doubt God's provision. ever.

before i was leaving for rwanda, i offered my car to my pastor, father thomas - flood victims & other hardships had hit our community at church of the redeemer. i wasn't going to be here, my car was, so someone could certainly use it. amber had just retrieved me from the airport and we pull up to the driveway and i meet the family who was able to use my car. (ps, I LOVE being useful) Miss M handed me an envelope, gave me a huge hug, and departed with her small ones. i was in a complete daze from jetlag and put the envelope on my dresser. two days later i open it and it is almost the exact same amount i gave to K for fabrice. i laughed so hard i cried, and then i just cried because i got to play a very small part in saving a kid.

save a baby, save the world.

WHEEEE! (follow up episodes)

akagera national game park:

where you can see enormous baboons decide to go for a dip in the hotel pool.

where you can be 100 yards from an huge hippo in the "safety" of a car.

where you can be inches from a herd of water buffalo praying they don't get irked.

where they literally have a specie of bird called the bald faced go away bird.

where hippos, giraffes, zebras, and antelope abound. and the impudent vervet monkeys will steal your own banana right out of your hand, and where the red dust billows about to turn my hair red....

all in all, it was a good time.

Jul 2, 2010

huge announcement.

there is actual pigmentation differences between my arms vs my tummy.
ladies and gentlemen.... i have a tan. be amazed.
no, the freckles have not merged to create a superfreckle.
an actual color difference has been recorded.

stay tuned for pictures. (not of my savage tan, but of more important things)
am home safe, sound, and slightly crazy from jet lag and overwhelm-edness.