When Crystal (my wife) got back from Rwanda in February, she told me, “Let’s move to Rwanda, babe!” My response was hesitant to say the least. I asked for an opportunity to experience it myself, merely because the idea of moving to a third world country seemed silly to me.
This is my first time in about 18 years to travel out of the country, and myself along with some of my fellow team members felt a little nervous about the trip, but never could we have expected what awaited us in Rwanda. We visited a city full of grace and redemption in Kigali, we met some of the brightest students in the country in Kayonza, we had breakfast with baboons in Akagera, and last but certainly not least, we sweat with the people in Kageyo.
From the moment we arrived in Kageyo, we were met with high fives and hugs and lots of embrace. My biggest surprise was my girls, Nema and Jessica waiting for me upon arrival, and shortly thereafter we made our house visit. The great thing was that Jessica and Nema were close by at every garden we built. Every chance I got, I played games, I danced, I sang songs, or just hugged them.
As much as I fell in love with my girls, I also fell in love with the moms at every garden, the men that helped us build the gardens, the kids I kicked the soccer balls with, the grandmas that hugged me in the church, and the complete strangers that embraced me in the streets. We traveled across the world to empower and encourage these people in whatever way God wanted us to do so, but they showed us what it means to love thy neighbor, to live in community, and to love unconditionally. Kageyo was all heart.
Theo, “The Organic Man,” called us a blessing, Momma Grace said we were “an answer to her prayers,” and the kids called us “Mozungus” (white man). Whatever we were called, I know we were never without love. Leaving was the hardest part of the trip, but i know this is not goodbye. My heart is still in Kageyo, with Jessica, Nema, and all the loving people of that great town.
I see now why Crystal asked me to move here, and all of a sudden, it doesn’t seem like that crazy of an idea.
Written by Henry Escobar, KGP Team Member