Sponsor humbled by the kindness of locals during Rwanda visit

World Vision child sponsor Tessa Davenport and her daughter Georgia recently travelled to Rwanda to meet their sponsored child Alphonse. As you also sponsor a Rwandan child, we thought you might like to hear about the trip.

“My daughter and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit our 12-year-old sponsored child Alphonse in Rwanda. Our World Vision guide Fred collected us at our hotel and together we set off to the Kisaro project - a two hour drive through green winding valleys and rolling hills towards the Ugandan border. I was surprised to see eucalyptus trees growing everywhere, which Fred told us are grown for use in buildings because of their strength and straight trunks.

Upon arrival at the Kisaro office, the map of Australia hanging on the wall gave it away that the children in the program are supported solely through Australian World Vision sponsors. The Project Manager Josephine and her two colleagues are clearly passionate and proud of what they are managing to achieve in the community with the support of World Vision. The breadth of their work is impressive, including disease awareness and prevention (particularly HIV/AIDS), education on reproductive health, training and technical support provided to farmers, the establishment of seed banks, the building of schools and provision of education amongst others.

We couldn’t wait to see the community for ourselves as we set off for another rough 20km ride on a dirt track followed by a steep walk on foot to the family’s hillside rural home.

There was quite a welcoming committee! It began with Alphonse dressed in his best jacket, jeans and new shoes, then his mother, numerous brothers and sisters with their spouses, as well as uncles and friends.

We did not speak the same language but the sense of occasion suggested they were very happy to see us! We were invited inside where Fred encouraged us to ask questions and translated for both sides. We distributed the clothes and sports gear we had brought with us, met the household cow and sheep and heard the family’s appreciation and prayers for us having made the journey to see them. They even had locally crafted baskets, a hat and souvenirs for us to take home – it was us who were humbled by their kindness!

We walked to the nearby school to meet the principal, teachers and students and see the new buildings under construction - all with the support of World Vision. The children are extremely proud to be educated and loved the paper, books and pens we had for them. Clearly school is a very happy place.  We were reminded through their beaming smiles that if children have friends and feel included and loved, they are as happy as any others.

We were honoured to share a buffet lunch with Alphonse, his mother and the friendly World Vision staff. I have never seen a child put away so many platefuls of rice, potatoes, curry, vegetables and fresh fruit as Alphonse did! I also managed to stuff a banana in his pocket for later on!

We were delighted to see that our comparatively small contribution makes a huge difference, particularly when combined with those of the collective Australian effort.

The team at the Kisaro project converts this into impressive efforts and results. It was a most interesting, memorable and rewarding experience for all of us involved and we are thrilled to see our contribution is making a difference.”