This is really the most beautiful country to fly in to: rolling hills and gleaming silver lakes, dotted with glinting roofs, red dusty tracks and trees, checked with small fields, the hills terraced right to their tops.
I arrived in Kigali yesterday afternoon (the rest of the team come tonight) to a warm welcome from my old friend, Rafiki Callixte, project manager for Les Enfants de Dieu, the centre for street children where we are running our project. So wonderful to see him again and that this is going ahead – I remember our first idea to do this when I was here in January. Thank you everyone who has made it possible!!
The boys are terribly, terribly excited, and preparing displays of their dance to show Pervez what they can do already! The rest of the team will meet them tomorrow afternoon, once they have recovered from their long flights.
This centre is so amazing in what it does for these kids, who are so often seen by many in their society as worthless – they are so not! They are resilient, resourceful and brave. All children deserve a full, happy life, but these children have come through so much already – neglect, emotional and physical abuse, rejection, illness, hunger, loss of parents, drug addiction – and have overcome so much in their hope to get an education and a better life. How amazing this centre is and what fun we can give them the hip hop dance lessons that they want so much!
Sadly, one of the boys, J-M, who is about 13, was taken to hospital last night, just after I arrived, with very bad stomach pains and oedema. Rafiki is very concerned about him. J-M is one of a large family, whose parents are very poor and do not want him back (the centre’s aim is to try to reconcile them with any family they have or within their community, once they have left the street and been rehabilitated). When J-M came into the centre from the street, he was very sad and aggressive. But since Rafiki and his team gave him a lot of care, counselling and attention, he is now a happy child who sings all the time. Rafiki was worried he would not make it, but says he seems a little better. We are all hoping so much for his recovery.