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Week 1 in Shyogwe

'Bout Ye from Muhanga in Shyogwe Diocese!

This is day six [written on 10th August] of our experience here in Rwanda and our first blog post, so please bear with while we give a brief summary of what we have experienced.

We arrived safely on Saturday to Hallelujah Guest House – 'Hallelujah' indeed! We truly experienced driving Rwanda style on the journey from Kigali airport, seeing many taxi motorbikes and bicycles carrying people, mattresses, glass bottles, fruit – you name it was probably there! We received the first of many warm welcomes from our host and friends who have visited some of us in Ireland.

Sunday morning saw us hiking (some of us in heels) up the gravely path on the mountain to Zion cathedral. The service began at 9am and ended around midday. During the service we enjoyed amazing praise and worship from the many different choirs and Bishop Jered preached on using our time effectively – a universal message for all. We were greeted with genuine warmth and were made to feel at ease. Sunday closed with a meal with our hosts with some traditional Rwandan dancing. Amazing and 'interesting' shapes were thrown by the team!

Monday began our week-long kids club at Zion Education Centre. So far we have had 90 plus children each day, their smiles and enthusiasm to take part in our programme has made these mornings an unforgettable, blessed experience surrounded by beautiful hills and hot sunshine – don’t forget the Factor 50!

Buzz (our mascot) has enjoyed himself and truly is buzzing! We include him in the programme and document his Rwanda journey and the children love seeing him each day.

We have been touring the diocese on foot and by minibus. Shyogwe Diocese adopts a holistic approach to their ministry covering Evangelism, Education and Development. Development includes: promoting recycling, solar panels, wood burning stoves, making delicious juices and jams, wood and metalwork training. The Anglican Church here has a role in building a supportive community for their congregations.

During our minibus tour we were treated to an 'African Massage', also known as 'lots of bumpy roads and hills' – Barry’s Big Dipper has nothing on this! This journey was to visit two church plants one in Munazi and another in Gatenzi. We were humbled by the genuine joy and passion the people have for their church. Each building requires finishing; they may need our support to do this. As discussed above, churches have a huge and essential supporting role in their community. Without them, things would be very different for folk here.

We are all well, we are getting to know each other better and are building strong friendship foundations. We have been bonding over tea and biscuits, Percy Pigs and the delicious food we are given at breakfast, lunch and dinner. We haven’t had time to play any games yet but our competitive natures are ready and raring to go!

Shyogwe Team are signing off...

Rebecca and Rebecca

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