Wednesday, 23 April 2014
Today we have a Guest Post written by Rachel, a volunteer in the Head Office in
Five years ago, I used to live in the Gitega orphanage. When visitors came to visit, I would show them around the 3 kids’ houses and 2 classrooms of Future Hope primary school (all that existed at the time!) I would always finish the tour by taking them up the hill to see “The Clinic”. We would peer through the windows of the nearly-finished building, witnessing the dark interior rooms and rough unfinished floors, and we’d stand there and pray that one day the clinic would be open and patients would be treated there.
What a transformation!
The building now looks light, airy and welcoming; it is equipped with essential medical equipment, staffed by an amazing team, and had already seen nearly 400 patients in the four weeks since the doors had been opened to the public.
The day of the ceremony was an incredible experience. The morning was full of the hustle and bustle of staff and volunteers arriving, the decorators setting up tents outside the centre for the guests, beautifully decorated with draping folds of colourful fabric, and green foliage.
The children from Homes of Hope were incredibly excited, and eager to be involved. They enjoyed cleaning all the chairs that were arriving in batches by truck, and then forming a human chain to remove stones from the patch of ground between the tents where the drummers and dancers would be leaping around barefoot.
There was a huge team of people already preparing and cooking the food for the ceremony, and the famous
drums were set up in a semi circle, the beautiful rolling green hills in the
The female staff and volunteers with
were given traditional dress “imvutano” to wear for the day. It’s the first
time I’ve needed help getting dressed for a while, but I didn’t have a clue how
to tie and drape the fabric. Mine was a deep blue colour, and a little too long
for me. It was originally tied high up, but gravity gradually pulled it down,
until I started to get paranoid about tripping over it and falling face first
whilst serving food to the honoured guests!
The ceremony was well attended, with some very important guests, including the Governor of Gitega and a representative of the Ministry of Health, not to mention teams from both the national television and radio channels.
If I’m honest though, I was just as excited about the hundreds of local people who turned up uninvited, attracted by the buzz of activity and the sound of the
drummers echoing around the hills.
Oh, the drummers. They deserve a paragraph to themselves. The passion, the raw energy, the crazy leaps and somersaults in the air, the contagious excitement, it all makes them mesmerising viewing. Accompanied by the constant pounding rhythm, they danced, flipped and even crashed down dramatically into painful looking splits, which left the audience wincing in sympathy.
Much as I love my native British folk scene, I have to admit that we have nothing that compares to this.
There were speeches from all the important guests, there was food and drinks, there was a dance display from the children of Homes of Hope orphanage.
My favourite part of the day was at the end of the speeches when everyone was milling around and talking. Nadine (the Medical Director) went over to say hello to the crowd of local people who had come to see what was going on. One lady stepped out of the crowd and gave Nadine a huge hug. It turned out that this woman had come to the clinic a few days earlier with serious malaria. Having been treated by an IV drip, she had practically danced out of the hospitalisation room, praising God that she was healed, and telling all the staff that she would be back to celebrate with them at the opening ceremony. To see her turn up with the huge smile on her face, reminded me just how much of a difference this clinic is going to make to the local community.
It was an amazing ceremony, and a great opportunity to celebrate all that has happened here to get to this point.
is going to make a huge impact in the neighbourhood, and I’m so excited that I
get to be here as a witness. Look forward to more stories coming soon… Shammah
You can read the original article and more of Rachel’s writing on her Blog
Thursday, 3 April 2014
Today we have a Guest Post written by Haylee, one of our volunteer teachers at G.I.A, who lives at Homes of Hope, Gitega
Homes of Hope, the orphanage where I live at, is truly a family.
It is not the kind of place most would picture when you hear the word “orphanage.” When I used to think about orphanages, I would picture something like the movie Annie, where the children are unloved and unhappy; living in a temporary home and waiting for a family to love them.
But this is not Homes of Hope. This place is no temporary living arrangement, but rather a forever home. And when kids are rescued and brought here, they are embraced by a loving woman they call “Mama.” Yes, these mamas are the real heroes.
Currently we have 40 children living in 5 different homes at the Gitega Homes of Hope. Each of these precious babies has brothers and sisters to play with and a mama who loves them as if they have always been hers.
These women are the real heroes because unlike me, they have devoted their entire lives to this ministry. They are the ones who wake up at the crack of dawn to cook breakfast, to wash all the kids’ clothes by hand, to comfort the child after a bad dream, and to tend to them while they are sick.
In a sense, my job here is 9 to 5. While I do a lot outside of my “working hours,” I have the option to take a break and have alone time. But a mama is never off the clock. They are the ones who have dedicated their whole lives to their jobs;
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are always available when needed, and happy to be of service.
The most beautiful part about our mamas is not what they do but how they do it. I have yet to see them without a smile on their face, and no matter what time of day I catch them - they simply radiate joy. These mamas love their job.
I know that people like me make a difference here, but we come and go. We receive compliments and support in abundance while these silent servants are doing the most important job of all. So I’m not trying to say that my job here isn’t important because it is, and I love it! But I at least want to make it known who the real heroes are
You can read the original article and more of Haylee's writing on her Blog