Tag Archives: Christianity

Rwanda was, well, it was so many things.

I recently attended the Taizé Pilgrimage of Trust on Eart in Kigali, Rwanda. Before the main gathering I also had the privilege of going on the optional “culture plunge”: living with a family outside of Kigali and just experiencing life with them.

Rwanda was, well, it was so many things.

In the two weeks that I was there…

I filled up that blank notebook, and then another.

I felt my soul breathe at the sight of the beautiful landscapes of the country affectionately known as the Land of a Thousand Hills.

I learned about peace, and discovered that I’m not alone in dreaming of it.

I observed lives lived in a country that is developing in leaps and bounds while grappling with a gruesome, traumatic national memory.

I learned about crop cultivation in Eastern/Central Africa and I helped hoe the fields one morning, too!

I came much closer to the brutality that humankind is capable of. I stood in a church where thousands of people had hidden in desperation, only to be slaughtered.

I was blessed to win the confidence of two or three young Rwandans, who shared bits of their  drastically varying life stories with me. These conversations I will value forever.

I tasted a bit of Taizé and cried my eyes out at sheer relief that God has provided people who know Him and peace so much better than I do. I want more!

I experienced the joyful, abandoned and expressive worship of Rwandans and other Africans who joined us for the Taizé gathering. (I think it took the Europeans a lot longer to get used to than us South Africans!)

I heard stories of reconciliation… but not enough. Give me more!

I found myself living slower and with more time for reflection. This was awesome and it is something I want to cultivate in my normal life.

Even before departing for Rwanda, I discovered a new generosity in my heart, which I think is a result of trusting God for provision for the trip. It deeply affected the way I look at money and community.

I saw the value of officially acknowledging people’s suffering through justice, truth telling, memorialisation, reparations and restitution, and the inverse, the pain of not getting any acknowledgement for one’s suffering.

I got an idea of how much it sucks not having complete freedom of expression.

I learned about the idea of “Shalom”, which is not just the absence of war but complete well-being in every facet of one’s life which flows over into life-giving relationships with others.

On a lighter note, I ate “fufu” / ubugali which was made the right way, unlike our pathetic efforts at the fundraising dinners that I hosted before my departure J

I gave an impromptu South African history lesson to a bunch of rural Rwandan primary school teachers.

I forgot my shampoo and discovered that cold water and Dove soap works almost as well!

I carried a baby on my back, which I thought was, you know, cool but I wasn’t prepared for the total amazement of the locals!

I spoke massive amounts of broken French to people who not only often spoke equally broken French back, but also switch their ‘R’ and ‘L’ sounds around at will so that “J’aime les fleures” sounds like “J’aime réfrères.”

I took several trips on motorcycle taxis! You haven’t lived until you’ve felt the breeze as you cruised up and down the hills of Kigali.

I drank rosemary tea and “sosoma” – a soya, sorghum and maize drink. I ate cassava roots, cassava leaves, fried green bananas, cooked green bananas, dried fishies, and way, way, way too many beans!

The other South Africans and I showed sang South Africa’s national anthem and explained the significance of the flag to about 2000 young people. Feedback was that almost everyone would have preferred if we showed them a Zulu dance. Turns out Zulus are really famous…

God worked. People were blessed by Taizé. Rwandans felt honoured and affirmed by the presence of so many eager youngsters in their towns and cities.

My prayer for you is that you would feel God’s redemptive power in the world around you. Jesus died so that we can draw near to God.





My blog het verdwyn! It’s probably Matt’s fault. Gelukkig het Facebook hom gecopy na my notes toe voordat hy van WordPress af verdwyn het. Uittreksel:

Saterdagaand was Hillsongs se praise and worship aand.

Wat tot my deurgedring het, is dat ‘n lewe by God veilig is. Ek het besef ek wil iemand wees wat compassion het, meer as wat ek iemand is wie se check list stadig vir seker bevredig word. Daar was ‘n quote van Moeder Teresa: “I have found that paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, just more love.”

Gistraand het Hy weer op Sy ontsaglike gentle manier sy troos gebring. Dit was dalk nie genesing nie – dit, dink ek, gaan tyd vat – maar die dokter het my kom ontmoet, stetoskoop om die nek, en verduidelik dat ek niks het om oor bekommerd te wees nie. En ek glo weer daar’s hoop dat ek gesond sal word.


Hierdie hele WordPress blog het begin by my behoefte om idees uit te ruil met my sussies. Ongelukkig het ek nie baie reaksie gekry nie, en ek het ook nie regtig weer my gewaarwordinge hier geskryf nie al het ek baie baie geleer die afgelope ses maande.

Op die oomblik (15 September) is ek… moeg gedink oor vrouwees. Maar hopelik sal die lig weer helder brand, binnekort.

Hieronder is die debut blog van 2007. Chat weer as ek beter voel.

Toe ek jonger was (so tot min of meer gister) het ek gedink vrouedae, vroueverenigings, vrouetydskrifte en ander stuff met blommetjies en tee en control-freak-tannies in Woollies-klere is … ugh. Like, gaan weg. Ek verlang na my plakkies en my Alanis CDs.

En weet jy, ek dink nog dieselfde oor baie van hierdie goed. (Iris van Reenen bekeer my stadig vir seker tot Woollies… maar sover maak sy net vordering ten opsigte van hulle kos. Nie hulle klere nie.) Maar ek het iets besef wat my respek vir hierdie tannie-goeters ‘n bietjie herstel het, en dit is dat ek regtig nodig het om by ander vroue te leer wat dit beteken. Ek wil die Here regtig eer met hierdie lewe. En ek het al die wysheid nodig wat ek kan kry.

Nie al die commercial goed is noodwendig raadsaam nie – die Rooi Rose was byvoorbeeld nog nooit ‘n vriendin vir hierdie vrou nie. Maar soms kom ek in aanraking met vroue van God, van allerhande ouderdomme, wat my inspireer… en ek wil graag dit wat ek by hulle leer, en sommer dit wat in my eie kop aangaan, hier post.

GROOT asseblief, lewer kommentaar. Ek’s ‘n dogter van die Koning… en ek wil graag gedagtes uitruil met my sussies.