Eventually I will introduce you to the team, and to the Food for the Hungry staff that we met, but I don’t want to wait too long to share a special story from our visit.
On the seventh day of our trip I got to accompany one of the girls on our team to visit her sponsored child. Another friend and I were manning cameras so that she would be free to meet the family. This visit was unique because the father of the sponsored boy had invited his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, and even their local pastor. In Rwanda it is polite to invite a visitor to pass the night. When the father ended his welcome speech by asking us to pass the night with them, the family broke into laughter together at the thought of these Muzungo’s (white people) spending the night with their family member.
The boy was shy at first, but when his younger siblings came in the room, he proudly shepherded them in front of the camera, and kept saying their names over again - a good big brother. Heather had brought some crayons and paper and other small gifts for the boy, and he drew a picture for her to take home. The family prayed for Heather, and she prayed for them as well.
At the end of our visit, our interpreter, Andrew, asked the boy to sing a song. He sang a song in Kenyarwandan, and then began a melody I recognized, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” At the end of his song, Andrew turned to me and began to explain what the song was about. “I know this song, Andrew, my children sing it, and I sang it when I was a child,” I said. Andrew lit up, and explained to the group that I was a singer and was going to sing with the boy, each in our own languages.
It is hard to describe the backdrop for this duet, and this is a moment when I wish you could have been there with me. We are in a mud brick house with no furniture, crowded together with a tight knit family. There is the stress of cultural difference, the surprise of commonality, and the simple reality of ‘all the children of the world’... and there is a boy with a sweet high voice. It was akin to pictures of Earth from space, to sing this song that I have sung since I was a child with this small boy from Rwanda.