It’s not every day that you get to drive four hours over Rwandan hills to a remote village to visit your Compassion sponsor child. On behalf of Fed by Bread, who technically sponsors Gisubizo, it was a privilege to roll into the school yard and be receive this kind of welcome.
Clearly they knew a visitor was coming…but I had no idea I would be welcomed like the president. I’m not sure how I held it together in these moments.
Once I jumped out of the car, this little girl didn’t even hesitate running to me to give me a huge hug.
The next hour or so was visiting with the Compassion staff learning about how their program works and how the school is run. It was fun interacting with them…they were thrilled for me to visit since I was the first Compassion sponsor to ever visit their village. (Hence the huge welcome.)
It was beautiful for me to watch and then notice again after looking at pictures back home how thrilled the whole school was for Gisubizo. They were collectively excited for a Compassion visitor to come. I love the community collectivist spirit when it comes to celebrating things like this. We have a lot to learn from them.
We sat down and the Compassion staff went through Gisubizo’s folder showing me how well she’s doing in school, her health report, and other things. We had a snack and she gave me a little gift before we ventured off to see her classroom.
Gisubizo is making excellent grades and is in the top of her class. She showed me where she sits in class and introduced me to her teacher. Every time we walked outside some kids started dancing and singing. I can’t express how much I love this freedom of expression these sweet Rwandans have. Look at the joy on their faces.
Of course seeing themselves dancing and singing on my iPhone was one of their favorite parts.
We couldn’t stay too long at the school but I did need to use the facilities before leaving. All the kids thought it’d be fun to watch me walk out to the outhouse and wait for me to emerge from using the squatty. Oh the joys of simple living.
We loaded up and went to Gisubizo’s house to meet her family. I was super excited about this. On the way to the village, we stopped and bought about $40 worth of goods (over a month’s worth of rice, sugar, flour, soap, and snacks) for her family as a gift. I had also taken my kiddos to shop for some fun things for her family. I desperately wanted to make the connection for my kids that I was going to Africa to meet Gisubizo and show her love. Although we talk about why mama bakes bread for Fed by Bread, I desperately want them to connect all this to the children we’re loving. The bunny my daughter held in Texas is now with Gisubizo in Rwanda.
The Compassion staff had informed me before arriving that Gisubizo’s father had left a few months ago. I believe the family is still hopeful he will return but there has been no contact since he left. While this is common, it is heartbreaking. Feel free to pray with me that her father will return and love his family well.
The back pack we had packed had something for everyone in it. A sticky ball/mit set for her brother, paper and art supplies for her sister, kitchen towels and a few other things for her mother, and lots of fun things for Gisubizo (backpack, waterbottle, hygiene items, crayons, Uno) including a jump rope. One of the most meaningful parts of the day for me was giving Gisubizo her jump rope. While shopping and brainstorming fun things to fill her backpack, I became quite obsessed about getting her a quality good jump rope. (What little girl doesn’t love to jump rope?) I researched and bought it on Amazon. Done. When we were at the school going through her folder, the Compassion staff was listing off what she enjoys doing. Guess what? This girl loves to jump rope. I can’t tell you how powerful it was to me to see God love Gisubizo so specifically through that jump rope. He knew she loved to jump (and was good at it)…and He worked to bring her a new one from America. The beauty and simplicity of this part of this story still moves me. God’s love is quite extravagant.
After a quick tutorial in how to play Uno (this was hilarious), Gisubizo and her siblings danced and sang for me. I’ll spare you the video of when she invited me up to dance with her…but I loved every minute of it.
This is her sweet mom that is working so incredibly hard to provide for her family (she is a day laborer) and keep her kids in school. From one mom to another, I understand the value of providing your children a good education in a safe and loving environment. Over and over again she was so grateful for the support we give to her family and to Gisubizo. These are the moments that confirm to me that child sponsorship does work and it is powerful and it is serving families caught in the cycles of poverty.
While I wanted more time with this sweet family, we had to head back to Kigali since it was a four hour drive. I prayed for the family and got this girl to laugh her deep belly laugh. Gisubizo is a beautiful little girl and I’m grateful we have the privilege of serving her each month so she can go to school and receive the care and encouragement she needs.