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Tara’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 25 Aug 2009

Location: Rwanda's the 25th already?!!!
Hello all! What a trip! Yesterday and today we started building the home for the family. It is a Mother of three. She is a widow and has recently, on July 26th lost her child of almost two years old. No, this is not uncommon. It is very labour intensive and we are completely RED at the end of the day. (The mud here is red)
How you build a home: Two guys with shovels and other sharp objects, dig a VERY large hole in the ground. In the hole they add water and dry grass. However, first, you have to walk the 10min with water jugs to fetch the water. Also, you use a machete to cut the grass. So...once this is done, you can start. Once this mud is made, they shovel it up onto the ground where we are (as this hole is about 8 feet deep..well, it eventually gets that big) and we use our hands to make "mud balls' and then slop the mud into a mould. Once the mould is full, you take the mould off and start again. So a group of us are in charge of filling the moulds, some go and fetch water. There is also a large footprint of the house dug out of the ground. This you have to fill with large rocks. So some are in charge of carrying rocks over to the footprint and filling it.

A very labour intensive project. We start in the morning, leave for lunch and come back again after lunch until about 5pm. Quite the learning curve though. So that, my friends, is how you begin a home in Rwanda. All the local children help and the really little ones stand around and watch. I gave them a few of the blow up beach balls today and they loved it! I also handed out some of Emily and Cam's old clothes as ALL the children's clothing is literally falling off their bodies. It is the only clothes they have other than their school uniforms. I love the children of Africa. As much as I love our children and all of have never seen a smile like these children can smile. Yes honey, there have been many of them I would take home in a moment.

The other day we visited the memorial. I didn't think it would be that difficult as it was like a museum. I was desperatly wrong. I will tell you, I had a complete meltdown that night as I was alone in my room. I have not sobbed that hard in a long time and as I have mentioned before, the things these people have done, been through and put eachother through is despicable. However, many of them are now friends. How a human being can forgive the way they have and live among eachother everyday, knowing that person has killed their parents, siblings and even children. Babies. All of them. No one to be spared. Our driver made me feel the top of his head yesterday as he told me his story. He has a dent in his scalp literally about an inch deep. It is from a machete. How he survived is a miracle. Anyhow. Many lessons learned here and many to be shared. On a positive note, I will meet Emmanuel and Gilbert this week!! It will be a nice break from building! I'll let you know how it goes and as always, I miss you all so very much.

My family...I am so sorry to not be calling. It is very expensive and I"m tired of getting cut off every time I talk to you. But please know it's not because I"m not thinking of you or missing you desperatly. I truly am and I can't WAIT to hold you all again. Please, know I'm sending LOTS of hugs and kisses to you!! Mommy loves you so very much babies.

Lots of love and thanks everyone for your kind messages and checking up on my site...I love it!!

Take good care,