Progress and hope
It is almost ten years since Mission Rwanda first landed in Kigali on our first exploratory visit. It is a couple of years less than that since we met Steven who ever since has been our guide, fixer and general dig-out-of-hole specialist.
Steven's entire family were dead and we found him working in a nursery school in Kigali. Before that he had been living from hand to mouth, selling peanuts each day. Part of his story was told in the story of the odd shoes.
Today we have taken a couple of motorbike taxis across into the hills above Rwamagana. Steven is nothing if not an entrepreneur and eight years on from having little more than enough to pay for his next meal, he now owns enough hillside to plant 3,000 banana trees. More than that, he actually has planted 3,000 banana trees. With seemingly limitless energy, he is in the process of building a fenced enclosure where he already has half a dozen hens and plans to keep pigs.
To put all this in context, land is a lot cheaper in Rwanda than Scotland. A patch large enough to build a modest house on costs the equivalent of hundreds of hundreds of pounds, not tens of thousands. Even so, Steven has managed to accumulate, through sheer hard work and determination, something that will feed him and his family. Interestingly, a pig is more valuable than the land it grazes on.
Steven has been an example to us all and gives us real hope for our Nyamirambo children and the families being helped on our porridge project. Given the means to get started in life, these people should be able to look forward to a better life than they have enjoyed so far.