Sr. Dorien Peet has sent this newsletter on the latest developments in the Rwandan sister community.
NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2021
From 20 August to 11 September, Janny Oorebeek and sr. Dorien visited the sisters in Rwanda. The first week of our stay, two board members of the Friends of Sisters in Rwanda foundation were present: René van de Kieft (chairman) and Maarten van Ginkel (treasurer). A good friend of our Amerongen sister community also participated in the trip. For the three gentlemen it was the first introduction to the sisters and their work. They were very impressed by the enthusiasm of the sisters and their projects.
During our stay we experienced two celebrations of the sister community: the decoration of Philomène, which after her probationary year received the uniform and was officially incorporated into the community.
August 24, the official transfer of the leadership was celebrated: sr. Marie-Louise and her substitute sr. Domitille were consecrated for their new task and sr. Berthe was thanked for the years she led the community.
The sisters are aware of the importance of education, not only for children and young people, but also for themselves. Several sisters have completed or started a study. Internal training courses have also been given in recent months, e.g. in the administrative field. It is nice to see how the community grows in independence and joint responsibility.
KINDERGARTEN AND PRIMARY SCHOOL
Fortunately, the school, which opened last year, was back in full operation, after months of silence due to corona. It was wonderful to experience the enthusiasm of the teachers and the children!
There are now a total of 320 children at school with the sisters (kindergarten and first three classes of primary school). Of these, there are more than 100, whose parents cannot pay the school fees. From the support fund, these children are helped, not only with school fees but also with a uniform, materials and school meals. The parents meet regularly in self-help groups, to share their experiences and to save for small projects (microcredits).
In August the expansion of the school started and at the end of September it was already as far as you see in this picture!
The sisters will be very happy if more children can be accepted, because the number of applications exceeds the possibilities they have now. They find it very difficult to say 'no' to the parents, who want their child so badly to go to the school of the sisters!
In addition to classrooms, a dining room, kitchen, library and offices will be realized in the new building.
On 11 October, secondary schools started again. A total of 62 students are enrolled, of which 14 are girls. Unfortunately, some of them could not start yet due to lack of money. How nice it would be if we could find sponsors for some students!
In September, the final touches were made to the water project. Due to several setbacks, it all took longer than planned, but now there is good hope that the water, which is supplied from the new source, will continue to flow!
During the rainy season, full use can also be made of rainwater, for which special reservoirs are available.
The presence of water is even more important in corona time, because hygiene measures must be observed and that cannot be done without water!
When visiting two farmers and a farmer's wife, we could see how the participation in the agricultural course of the sisters changed their lives:
All three now have a good income, with which they can support their families, send the children to school and offer people work. Wonderful to see how hard they worked and how the fields were irrigated with eggplants!
In September, a group of 150 farmers started again, who indicated that they would like to learn how to work their land better and generate more income.
In addition to her task as director of the technical school, sr. Emilienne follows the children who have lived in the orphan village and are still sponsored.
Most children are doing well, but there are also very sad situations: young girls who get pregnant, children who have a hard time in the family where they live, great poverty, bad houses ...
From the foundation we try to help sr. Emilienne by making the necessary resources available. We are grateful for the sponsor parents, who sometimes support 'their' child for years!
For some children we are looking for (new) sponsors.
FROM THE FOUNDATION:
René van de Kieft gives his impressions of the trip:
We had been looking forward to it for a long time. Postponement again and again... and then finally we fly south, exciting!
After a long drive with many holes and potholes we arrived in Rubengera, where a meeting awaited us to never forget!
Honestly, I thought sisters were polite, kind, courteous and welcoming - they were, and also with a lot of humour, but sisters dancing festively together?
Then you cannot stand still and you feel like one of the family!
I was deeply impressed by what they all do in terms of work, with great dedication, in the sewing workshop, in the kitchen, on the land, wherever.
And so many children at the school, singing, clapping their hands and proudly speaking their first English words.
Can you imagine your own children standing at the school gate early in the morning after walking a while to enter?
I feel very grateful that I was able to experience these encounters and learn so much from this warm sister community, in a beautiful country where everything seems to flourish and grow naturally.
It no longer surprises me that Janny has pledged her heart to the Rwandans, just like others who have visited the sisters.
It's great that we can make a difference as a friends foundation. And.. that you learn again to be intensely grateful for everything that is common here.
René van de Kieft
We are very grateful that Alice van Barneveld has joined our board as secretary. In September she started her task with enthusiasm. She will introduce herself in the next newsletter.
The month of December is in sight, with everything that goes with it. Maybe you're going to send Christmas cards again this year? Then we would like to point out the beautiful cards made by the Rwandan sisters. They can be ordered by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
POINTS TO THANK FOR:
- the beautiful time we experienced as board members with the sisters
-the sisters were able to expand their chapel, which had become too small, thanks to a donation
-the expansion of the kindergarten and primary school could be started
-God saved the sisters from illness due to Covid-19
-the schools could start again!
POINTS TO PRAY FOR:
-new sponsor parents for some orphans and students
-wisdom for sr. Emilienne in providing aftercare to the children of the former orphan village
-wisdom for sr. Marie-Louise and sr. Domitille in leading the community
-finding ways to help people out of poverty
On behalf of all board members of the Friends of Sisters in Rwanda Foundation, I thank you for all your sympathy and for your prayers.
A warm greeting and God's blessing!
Sr. Dorien Peet
"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven."