Rwanda: Meeting Bonette was an amazing experience

By Judith Shepard, Rwanda Child Sponsor

My daughter, Holly, and I had an amazing seven weeks travelling in Africa. On the morning of our visit to see my sponsored child Bonette we were met at our hotel in the capital city Kigali by some of the World Vision staff. We travelled for a couple of hours to the Kinihira district where the local World Vision office was situated. We travelled through beautiful mountainous countryside. The area surrounding Bonette's community and the World Vision project is surrounded by tea plantations.

When we arrived at the World Vision project we were warmly met by all of the staff on site that day. We were shown a presentation about the area, the problems faced by so many Rwandans, and the ways in which World Vision is helping to alleviate these problems. The staff were obviously passionate about the work in which they were involved and were committed to changing lives. They were eager to tell us about the improvements in health and education levels within the community since World Vision had come to the area, and about the numerous programs they implement.

We were very eager to meet Bonette and her family! With the official part of the morning finished we travelled to Bonette's community. The whole family was waiting to greet us - Bonette, her mother and father, her younger sister and two little brothers. Bonette and her sister performed a song and dance for us which had us all clapping and moving to the beat. What an amazing experience to be sitting in the company of these beautiful, humble, happy people.


When it was time to leave we went to see a well that World Vision had constructed to make clean water easily accessible to the people in the village. It seemed that the entire community had come out to see us! As we walked down and back up the steep dirt path to and from the well we were surrounded by curious, thankful people.

We went back to the World Vision office and shared lunch together with Bonette's family and the staff. Saying "goodbye" is always hard, especially knowing that our meeting will probably be a one and only occasion. I told Bonette's parents that I have a picture of Bonette on display in my home to remind me to pray for her (now I have one of her whole family). Bonette's mother asked me to send her my picture so that they, too, can remember to pray for me and my family. I also made a decision to write to these precious people much more frequently than I had in the past!

We had such an awesome time away. While our visit with Bonette and her family was only one part of our amazing trip, it was such a blessing and will be an experience we will not forget. Sending a small amount of money each month to help support a family in need is great. But now, having made a connection with that family and seeing the hope that they have because of our small monthly donation, it all seems so much more real. Seeing where our money is being used, seeing that it really does make a difference, and seeing the gratitude on the faces and in the hearts of the recipients makes it so worthwhile.