We visited Rutonde yesterday and got really good vibes from this community. First we had a short bus ride to Nyabugogo where we met Pastor Jean d'Amour. Then a 45 minute taxi journey along a potholed mud road took us to Rutonde where we received a really warm welcome. We met some of the children and Mamas before they went up to the church where we would be formally welcomed and thanked.
The Pastor's wife presented us with a huge bar of soap. She trains some of the women to make their own soap for home use and for selling to generate some income.
In church, greetings were exchanged and we heard progress stories of our goats and the difference they were making to lives here. The goats are producing young and the manure is used to help grow better crops.
Parents also told of how the porridge programme had helped one group of children and was now helping another group. The children are able to run around, play and concentrate better at school and their metabolism means food can be digested better. A further group will begin at a later date.
Loanhead Parish Church will fund the medical screening of this group of children and also the purchase of a rabbit for each child who has finished the programme. It is hoped that through breeding and selling, the rabbits will generate income for these families whilst the rabbit dung can also fertilise crops. If the family chooses to use the rabbit for food it will provide a good source of protein.
It is hoped that through time, when families have several goats or rabbits, they will be able to bless others by giving one or more to another family.
The presentation of a framed “Thank You” message followed before we shared lunch with the pastor, the Compassion team and a representative of Kigali Presbytery.
We left the gifts of first aid supplies we had brought from the congregation at Loanhead and money for our work here. We said our goodbyes and left with a very good feeling about this community and it's people who have so little and yet are so much richer than us in many ways.