Rwanda Journal #9: Holy Mass, Coffee Growers, Genocide Memorial and Our Lady of Kibeho

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Mass, Our Lady of Wisdom, Diocese of Butare

Mass at Our Lady of Wisdom, Butare

Mass at Our Lady of Wisdom, Butare

This day started with an early wake up call — we were off to Mass bright and early at Our Lady of the Miracles, the Cathedral in the Diocese of Butare. As a gift to our group, our celebrant Father Jean Baptiste Kazinda said Mass in English. We were joined by the amazing “Good News Choir” with young people who had come from St. Dominic’s prayer to join us in praise and worship. I simply can’t wait to share the videos of their singing!

Huje Green Mountain Coffee Cooperative

Huje Green Mountain Coffee Cooperative

Huje Green Mountain Coffee Cooperative

Our second stop introduced us to two separate agricultural projects that Catholic Relief Services aids on in Butare. At the first site, Clemece, the leader of the “Let’s Get Out of Loneliness” group, introduced us to their cooperative agriculture program which aims to teach Rwanda farmers biointensive agriculture techniques. This group is comprised of a variety of ages and sexes working together in a communal setting to grow crops that are then taken to market. The techniques they learn in the community garden are then brought to their home gardens and replicated with fantastic results. We viewed multiple styles of gardening before moving on to the second group, the “Let’s have a common understanding” group. Again in this particular garden plot, we heard group organizers explain their techniques for growing a variety of crops. This group had already conducted a variety of tests in their plots and determined that with their advanced growing techniques — taught to them by Catholic Relief Services — that their produce yield had tripled. In addition, the presence of this communal garden has given them funds that can be reinvested in their community and has had a dramatic impact upon child nutritional levels among their members. Our final stop at this group took us into the coffee bean groves for a first-hand look at the way CRS’ involvement and support is enabling them to make drastic steps forward in production and yield.

My new Rwandan friends

My new Rwandan friends

As impressive as our visit with the farmers was in showing me the value of CRS’ work in Rwanda in providing Rwandans with tools and techniques that will change and improve their lives, my favorite aspect of the visit to these farming groups was the chance to be with their children. Perhaps it’s the fact that I look and sound so differently to them that attracts them to me, but regardless the joy of spending time among Rwanda’s future leaders is a true joy. They begin to learn English at a young age so they do know a few words, and have taught me a few Rwandan terms as well.

I’m running out of blogging time for the day, so I will share a few photos from our other visits to the Murambi Genocide Memorial and the Shrine at Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho and will follow up soon with complete posts about our next stops for the day — both of which merit full descriptions.

Wednesday's "selfies" with Rwandan kids

Wednesday’s “selfies” with Rwandan kids

Visit to the Murambi Genocide Memorial

Visit to the Murambi Genocide Memorial

Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho

Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho

Follow all of my Rwanda Journal posts here. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for additional updates from the CRS Egan Fellowship trip to Rwanda.

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. She blogs at multiple online venues including Patheos. Her articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and the Catholic Press Association tour of Israel as a guest of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. Hendey lives with her family in the Diocese of Fresno, California.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I loved seeing you with the children of Rwanda! Thank you for ALL your posts and the beautiful journey.
    Julie

  2. These articles and the photos of your journey are wonderful. I was interested to know if you were able to meet the visionary Miss Anges Kamagaju at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows. Much is written about her in the book Our Lady of KIBEHO. What an exceptional opportunity to see these holy places!

  3. Pingback: Rwanda Journal #12: What I’ve Learned & How I Feel

  4. Pingback: Rwanda Journal #12: What I've Learned & How I Feel | CatholicMom.com

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