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Saga of Betty...continued

Hello All,

Jarod here again. So for those of you following the Betty story, I am sorry to inform you that Betty no longer is employed at the Ring house. After being caught in a few other lies and things that just didn't seem to add up, we had to let her go. Well, actually our counter-part let her go without really asking us even though we would have done the same. The sad thing is, for the next several days after the whole debacle, she was waiting outside our gate in the morning to ask for her job back. She apologized many times, said she wants to start over and try again, that she is sorry she lied and will do better. The even more said thing is...we will probably end up taking her back. To be honest with you, it is probably just foolish but we really like having her around. She is an amazing cook, amazing at cleaning, is always happy and fun to have around and she understands our sketchy Kinyarwanda as well as we can understand hers because she talks slow for us. Who knows...we will see what happens. So for those of you rooting for Betty, don't give up hope an she still has a fighting chance. Okay...that is all for now. Later!



Hello all! Sarah here. It's 1:14 am and I should be sleeping but it's Friday and I took my malaria pill today so that means no sleep for me! I just wanted to update everyone on the package situation. First of! You guys are insane. We are so blessed to have all of you in our lives.

Today we went to the post office to get our packages. Another PCV called and said she thought we had 2 at the PO so we needed to go and get them. When we arrived they were trying to charge us this huge amount and we were really confused so we went and got our supervisor. After they explained to him what they were charging us for he said...they are 600 a piece and we were like ok but we only have two...and he said no you have 6. That's right. 6. I just stood there and I was like no we aren't taking all of the PCVs boxes...just ours. The lady said "ok but you have 6." I said ... no, you are mistaken...we have 2. She said no, they are all Jarod Rings. I just stood there. I had my hands on my face and I was almost in tears and I said "WHAT". We have six!! Seriously. We are TOO blessed by you guys. I had packages from people I didn't even know had time to send packages!! I am amazed. an update we got packages from the Strieglers, family worship center, my grandparents, and jarods parents. wow!! You guys are so good. We haven't opened them all yet as we are saving most of them for opening in Banda. :)

I also wanted to update our list...we do NOT need anymore spices or seasonings.I mean wow...we have ever spice/seasoning known to man! I've been cooking up a storm with them all. Also, we have enough deoderant, toothpaste, toothbrushes and chapstick to last for at least 6 least!

We decided to add a few things to spice it up. Any kind of nutri-grain bar. Wasabi peas. Salsa. Rechargeable batteries (specifically AAA and AA). The church got us this handy dandy solar battery charger but we can't buy rechargeable batteries here! So any of those will be helpful. I think that's all for now. You guys already do sooooo much for us.

We are so thankful for everything you guys have done for us. I can't even put it into words. We love you all and realize more and more everyday how incredibly blessed we really are!

Also...little update for anyone with an iphone...turns out it isn't free for me. So....unfortunately I won't be texting really anymore. I will text our parents but that's about it...sorry!!!

Ok...I love you all but should really get some shut eye! Have a wonderful evening.

Again we're alone...


Man! Once again, we’re the only white people in our village. The group left this morning. They were pretty awesome. It was a group of 10 students from the US Virgin Islands. They have been fund-raising for 2 years to come year and they were so helpful. I really enjoyed getting to know them. They were aged 16-19. They helped the community so much. Just the smallest things. They bought ALL their food here which helped the market tremendously. They bought ALL their fabric here and had dresses and skirts made which helped the vendors so much! They also bought lots of souvenirs from our small gift shop which is always something they need. They helped paint the walls in the nursery, plant trees in our agriculture fields, and so much more. It was really awesome. We thoroughly enjoyed their time here.

On a personal note, one of them totally surprised me when she gave me a pair of 7 jeans. Those jeans are soooo expensive and she just gave them over. They fit perfectly too. Oh happy day. I was sad too though because the girls were talking about watching Eclipse… and of course I haven’t seen it so it made me very sad. All the little things I’m missing makes me a little sad but I know I’m helping so many people that makes up for it. The rumor around the mill is one of the girls here had her brother send Eclipse as well as a million other movies that are brand new on a hard drive and it should be here soon so we can watch it. And of course, as soon as my movies come out on DVD I’m going to be buying them!! I can’t wait.

Man, nothing really exciting has been going on. Well, I think I have bed bugs. I’m not sure because I wake up every night itching TO DEATH and Jarod is sleeping away. He hasn’t been bitten by a single thing the WHOLE time we’ve been here and I am bleeding from whatever is sleeping with me! It doesn’t make sense….we wash our sheets every week, and put our mattress out in the sun frequently (which is a requirement here in Africa). It doesn’t make sense because if it was really bed bugs…Jarod would be bitten but NO! Just me. Who knows. Maybe I’ll claw myself until I have no skin left….maybe not. My counterpart says I have parasites. Maybe? Who knows! Oh the perks of Africa.

We are actually leaving here soon. By the time you get this, obviously we’ll be out of Banda but we have an In-service language training the 14th-18th so we’ll be back in Nyanza where we had our 10 week training. Maybe we’ll have a good internet connection…but also we’ll be in Kigali that weekend because of Jarod’s birthday. I haven’t the foggiest what I can get him here in Africa. It’s so different! Ok, I think that’s enough for now. I’m gonna go cook or something. Have a wonderful Sunday and I’ll talk to you all soon. I love you guys!

A Bunch Of Randomness and A Whole Lot Of Nothingness....


Packages!! Woo hoo. We got some packages today from the church and from nanny! They were amazing. I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to receive 3 packages at one time. They had the most scrumptious items in them! We got some really delicious and yummy things from the church. We got books! We are SOOO grateful but I know Jarod wanted to write about those so I’ll talk about my nanny and papaws package…we loved it!! We are so grateful. It was amazing. My supervisor picked it up and was like, “what is this? It is so heavy? Who are these people who keep sending these boxes?” My nanny packed over 20 pounds into one of those boxes! We had pens, paper, balloons, crayons, stickers, a jump rope, Frisbees, etc. It was incredible. I can’t believe so much fit into one of those boxes! One of the other PCVs called and said we had more packages too at the Post Office! You guys are spoiling us rotten!!!! We can’t even express how grateful we are to be receiving these packages. We miss everyone and every package is like getting to talk to someone or be close to them even if only for a short time. Thank you thank you soooo much!!!! We love you all.

Oh…funny story of the day. So Sunday, we were sitting in church and I felt something crawling up my arm (under my cardigan) so naturally I think it’s a spider and start slapping at my arm. All of a sudden, right below my armpit something starts BURING like crazy. Of course, we’re sitting at the FRONT of the church over looking everyone (because we’re always considered the guests of honor) and I’m like what do I do, to Jarod. My arm is on FIRE! Finally I can’t take it anymore and I rip my cardigan off and there sitting on my arm is a bee. What! I know. How in the world a bee flew up between my shirt and cardigan, I can’t understand but he did and then he stung me.  It wasn’t fun. So now I’ve gone from never being stung in my life to being stung 2 times in 2 months! Man, so after I squirmed like a little girl and I saw EVERYONE was staring at me….I just got up and walked out. Man. It’s always something here! Ha.

It’s time to do a shout out to all our Augusters…..
Happy Birthday to my Laila Bug! August 2nd….I can’t believe you’re 6 years old. Dassah. Happy Birthday on the 5th….1! Aunt Dana and Uncle Gary…congratulations on 18 years. It’s wonderful in todays society to make it past just a few!! We’re proud of you. My amazing hubby! August 20th, happy birthday! I love you soooooooo much and wouldn’t want to be spending this time with anyone else. Dustin…happy birthday on the 20th as well. Hope it’s great. We love you guys and think of you so much.

Let Us All Take A Moment...


Today is a sad sad day. We need to all take a moment and remember today. It is a day of great loss and tragedy. We all have these days in life where we lose something or someone that means everything to us and we must take the time to slow down and remember. Remember what they meant to us and how much better our life is because of having them for whatever amount of time we did. So with that being said…let us all take a moment to remember.


Thank you! What you may ask are we remembering? Today, on this 29th day of July…I consumed the last of my vanilla oreos. May they rest in peace. They brought so much joy for the 2 weeks I had them. I stretched those dudes as long as they’d last and man were they ever so delicious!

Ok ok maybe that was a bit dramatic but lets be honest…did you expect anything less from me? So wow. Life is insanely busy these days. We actually are working. I think pretty hard. We have started updating the sponsorship program which has proved to be a pretty large challenge because so many of these people don’t know their own birthday or even birth year. Many of them have never written their names either, so however it sounds….that’s how they spell it-phonetically. So it’s a process but we’re working away. I can’t believe it’s already August! Wow. We haven’t been able to update since June so I apologize for the delay in posting the blogs. As soon as we get internet…you’ll be reading this! 

We have a group coming from the US Virgin Islands soon. It should be pretty good and I’ll let you know how it goes. I miss you all and hope you haven’t forgotten us! We love you….

Work Has Finally Arrived!


Hello All…Jarod again. I feel like all that we ever talk about are our awkward situations and funny predicaments we routinely find ourselves in here in Africa. I have totally forgotten to mention the nature of the work we are actually starting to do. Besides, I don’t want you to think the only we do here is play with the children and make blog stories produced from our daily weird situations.

As I mentioned earlier, a few of our bosses visited from America a few weeks ago. During that time we really began to see the nature of the work we would be doing. After they left, we sat down with our counterpart and supervisor and made out a list of things to start working on so that we would at least feel a little productive.

Side bar: During training we were repeatedly told that the first 3 months at site, you will be doing a lot of watching, listening, learning and pretty much being the target of weird stares as to why we are here. We were also told not to plan on having any big projects within the first 3 months and possibly within the first year. Rwanda is a very complex country yet simple at the same time. The life of the people seems simple but they seem tough to figure out on the other hand. The first three months at site are designated to integrating into the community, improving language skills, trying to understand the community, their way of life, learning about your communities needs, assessing how you might be able to help the community meet those needs and also allowing them to learn why you are actually there, a foreigner, in their land. And also to convince them you are not a spy (don’t laugh, many Rwandans think all white people are spies).

Anyway, some of the things we already are and will be working with include: tracking the progress of the malnourished children on the feeding program to see if the program is running effectively, updating all of the information for the sponsored children, conducting routine home visits of the sponsored children to see their status, new needs and/or concerns they may have and conduct an overall assessment of their condition, Sarah will be working ironically enough with the Kageno Nursery School for vulnerable children, one of the only 2 or 3 nursery schools in the country (definitely the only one for vulnerable children…I think). The school has 300 3-6 year olds (4 classes of 75), has only been open around 5 months and has no curriculum in place yet. She has already stolen the hearts of the kids and they much more hers. She will be helping implement a curriculum in assistant with the 4 teachers and 4 TA’s incorporating things like sanitation, environmental protection, nutrition and health into lessons and nursery rhymes. We will also be helping with surveying, selecting and enrolling the upcoming new class of 75 students that will start in January – all 3 year olds. We are also both teaching various health lessons at the community center several times a month; family planning and nutrition are big ones. The other day we met a lady that had 12 or 13 children and 5 have died of malnutrition, and she is pregnant again. It seems the average mother in Banda has 4-8 children, sometimes more, and they are trying to feed their family on around $1 a day…crazy! We are also responsible for updating the Kageno blog, teaching computer skills to our staff, collecting newsletter and grant related information, teaching English to the Primary school teachers so they will be prepared for the children who are more educated than they are used to coming from the nursery school, working with the crafts cooperatives and a few other minor things.

So, now I hope you can see that we actually do have some work to do and are excited about doing it. But I don’t want to leave you without at least one funny story. So here it goes, the other night we were walking back from the guest house, around 9:00pm, the night sky pitch black from the lack of the full moon and of course, street lights when we stumbled upon a man laying motionless in the road (a very eerie thing at the least). We were with another volunteer who was visiting and her boyfriend who just recently completed medical school. The man was conscious but barely. We tried to ask him what he was doing but he was clearing not responding to my sketchy Kinyarwanda. He tried to answer the questions but his answers had no relevance what so ever. Then, the doctor friend starts doing some doctor things on the man to see how he responds, like pushing on certain pressure points. After much concern and after one of our fellow staff members walked up, we determined that the man clearly had a little too much banana beer. We tried to help him up to his feet which was a chore in itself and we quickly realized that he could by no means stand up, let alone walk anywhere. We lowered him back down on the side of the path where he seemed very content and comfortable. He told our co-worker that he would just sleep there for another couple of hours and then get up and walk home…so we left him be…peaceful, quite and tucked away on the side of the road as we walked home and had a few laughs at the whole situation in the process.

Okay…that is all for now…oh wait, I killed another rat the other night…the end!!!

Drama In The Jungle...


Jarod here…So, in usual fashion, this week has presented its fair share of awkwardness and now drama. This story may take awhile so hang with me. Also, I want to preface this by saying that before Rwanda, I would have never in my life considered having a house lady or “umukozi”. Sarah and I had decided we didn’t think we would even need one. Well, when we arrived in Rwanda, both our perspectives changed. We quickly realized that to get any work done, you must have…well…time to work. And, time is few and far between when you have to wash clothes by hand, draw water from a well 10 minutes away, cut fire wood to attempt in building a fire to cook or boil water to drink…not to mention all the other things that Rwandans deem important, like having clean shoes (which in the dry season requires washing them every couple days), keeping the weeds pulled, washing the floors, washing dishes, etc. Also, having a house lady in Rwanda is not seen as an occupation that is looked down upon by any means. It is simply a means to an end like any other job. Also, we took it as a chance to help out a family that we knew deserved it and could use the money. Okay…continue…

As you may already know, we recently let our first house lady go to hire another one because we knew that her family could much more use the money. Also, the new house lady has done this type of work for 7 years and is very good at what she does while the old one had no idea what she was doing. She was pretty much placed at our house and told to work and we had no say in the selection. Plus the new house lady had been building herself up to us since we arrived. She would sometimes come over and tell Sarah about all the plants in the yard, what vegetables were doing well and what ones wouldn’t produce, how much she enjoyed cooking, cleaning and washing clothes, etc. She also mentioned on a few occasions that our current (at the time) house lady didn’t know all these things like she did. Needless to say, we could see that she really wanted to work and both of us really wanted her to work as well So, we let our current one go on good terms and brought on Betty. Although we had sensed a tiny hint of something mischievous about Betty, we new she was well qualified and would be an excellent worker. 8 days into the Job Betty was an all-star house lady…everyday she would teach us something new or find a way to impress us and go beyond our expectations. She found lemon grass growing nearby that Sarah had mentioned she loved but didn’t have it here in Banda. Betty quickly plucked some out of the ground nearby and before you knew it, she had cooked us probably the best tea I have ever tasted (outside of good southern sweet tea of course). She was happy, always laughing and cutting up with us. She was more of a friend than a house lady although she worked very hard each day. It wasn’t uncommon for her to be at the house from 7:30 to 8:00 that night. We gave her the option of how often she wanted to work and she said every day, all day. I told her that she must take Sundays off for church but that she could work the other days if she wanted. We also quickly raised her salary by nearly 50% in the first week because of how good she was doing and hard she was working. Plus, Betty’s 63 year old father had volunteered to watch our house every night even though we told him that wasn’t necessary. He is the most precious man.

Anyway, things were going great until a couple nights ago when we noticed some things were moved around and out of place. No big deal, we have American food and I am sure she was just curious and wanted to see all we had. Then the next night, we noticed that she tried to sneak an empty bottle of water out and we said nothing trying to give her the benefit of the doubt (oddly enough, empty bottles are a hot commodity here and if you have one every child in the village will ask you for it). I mean why would she steal from us, we already increased her salary tremendously, constantly gave her things like American food, Sarah gave her some shoes, anything that she asked for or we thought she needed. Then came yesterday. At this time Sarah was very curious and concerned about Betty stealing from us while I tried to stay optimistic (some might say that I am the definition of naïve but I say that I just always hope for the best in people until they prove me wrong).

So, yesterday we had a visit from our Peace Corps Assistant Country Director as she made her rounds on site visits. She seems pleasantly surprised to see our site and seemed very happy about the work we and the organization are doing in the community. Upon arriving back home is when things got sticky. As we walked in the house, Betty quickly picked up a rag that was lying on the table. Sarah noticed that two plastic baggies fell out and that she tried to scoot them out of site with her foot. She then put the bags under table and proceeded to tell us she found the bags in some other bags while cleaning. The problem was what was inside the bags. The bags were clearly PC medical pill bags and had our names, the medicine and dose amount typed on it. So, we called the APCD and asked if they had left some Mefloquine (malaria meds) for us. She said she hadn’t and had no idea where they came from. Also, the pills in the bags weren’t mefloquine pills so something was up. Finally Sarah pieced it together and realized she had taken some vitamin pills from the bottles and put them in bags (which was not smart to begin with because she has no idea what the pills were). So, at this point, Sarah was furious because she knew now she was stealing from us and also lying about it. So, I went to get our counterpart so we could have a talk and we could tell her effectively what we wanted through him. After much time, she finally caved and admitted to taking the pills. She said that her period pains her and thought they might help.

Ohh…what to do know? My initial reaction was okay, you are done, you can go now. We explained how disappointed we were and how tough this was for us because we loved her and wanted her to be there. Sarah explained to her that she rarely trusts people (a trait I can only imagine passed down by her father) and that she was one of the few people she really felt she could trust. Now, it would be very hard for her to trust again. After all, we would leave and Betty would be at the house all day with our stuff. She could take anything at anytime. But, stealing and lying is just unacceptable. She apologized many times and we could see from the look on her face that she was very ashamed of herself especially when she found out how disappointed Sarah was. After much scorning and what I can only imagine for her was humiliation it got even worse for Betty. We called her father in to the house so that he could know what was happening. Our counterpart explained the whole ordeal to him and you could see the disappointment come over his face. Then her father explained how disappointed he was, how nice of people we are to come here and work, we greet everyone, have fun with everyone and to know that his daughter would steal was unacceptable. Then it got weird. Her father insisted that she, in traditional Rwandan history, kneel before each of us and apologize. We told our counterpart that it was unnecessary and would be a little weird but that we wanted to be sensitive to Rwandan culture and if the father insisted, we would allow it. So, Betty kneeled before us and apologized sincerely with tears in her eyes. This whole thing was especially hard on Sarah because she absolutely loved Betty and Sarah was devastated. At one time she had to leave the room because she couldn’t stop crying.

Betty proceeded to ask our forgiveness and said she wanted to continue to work for us and that she deserved a punishment. After much thought, and probably against everything a normal couple would do, we decided to let her stay after reducing her salary back down to what it started at with the possibility to grow once we feel we can trust her again. We really feel and hope this was a changing moment for Betty and that she will never try something like that again on us. Call us stupid, naïve, gullible or just plain foolish but we wanted to give her another chance. Besides that is what forgiveness is all about.

On another note, while Sarah was feeling concerned that Betty was stealing from us, that same morning, before all this happened, she opened up the Bible to the passage she was scheduled to read for the day. It was the passage where Peter asked Jesus how often you should forgive a person who sins against you…7 times he asked, thinking he was already going beyond the norm and was being gracious…to which Jesus replies no, 70 X 7 times. So, this decision to keep her just seemed right. We all deserve another chance sometimes right? Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes…big or small.

Anyway, sorry that story was so long but thought you might enjoy it. We will continue to keep you updated on the status of Betty throughout our two years of service. Be blessed!

The Rings

You Just Had To Be There...

7-18-10 B

I do apologize for the delay in writing. I’m sure you guys noticed nothing since well it’s always awhile between updates but I fear we will have far less entries next time we get internet. I feel like that last few weeks have been rather calm. I mean yes, we’ve had probably 6 rats killed and yes we’ve had a ton of awkward moments….but all in all…I feel it’s calming down.

Let’s see. I think the neighborhood children have finally come to the conclusion that I love them and I am a sucker for all things children. I’ll walk outside and I’ll have like 7 kids sitting on my tiny little porch whispering. It’s adorable. Or I’ll be cooking and hear someone whispering outside and think someone’s in my back yard (which is completely enclosed) and it will be a group of kids going to use our latrine. It’s adorable! I think my counterpart’s son has a crush on me. He’s 7 and ADORABLE!! He stands outside at the far end of our walkway, behind a pole and slowly sticks his head out until he see’s me and then ducks back behind it. It’s awesome. I love that they all know me by name and have stopped calling me muzungu!

Meg and Seth…we FINALLY got your package. It was in Rwanda for seriously a month before we were able to get to it. When we opened it…we were SOOOO surprised. We thought it was filled with toys and what nots for the children but honestly were pleasantly surprised to find you had seriously packed that dude! We are STILL enjoying its products and it’s been 3 weeks since we opened it. Thank you so much!

Our yoga friends have come and gone. We had a great time getting to know them. I have never sat down and had a conversation with a bunch of New Yorkers before. It was great. They were all so educated. I tried to help our boss, Frank, cook every night and that was so much fun. We prepared the most outlandish meals. From green pea risotto to quinoa to sushi. That’s right people. SUSHI. In the middle of the forest…I rolled sushi for the first time. It was something. They had brought all the food with them; I know you’re wondering where we got that food. They brought probably 3 or 4 huge suitcases of food!! Crazy…it was good though. Now back to the simple life of Banda.

As Jarod mentioned, we got rid of our umukozi (house lady), Charlotte and hired a new one, Betty. I am soooo thankful for this! Betty is AMAZING. She has been an umukozi for over 7 years (she’s 19) and knows how to cook the most delicious meals from what they have here in our little village. I fear weight gain is in my future.  She knows so much about everything. From every type of tree to plant to herbs, etc. It’s been wonderful. She picked some wild lemon grass for me and made the most delicious tea. I am so thankful! We had heard before that our other girl, her family wasn’t so great and yesterday we were told that supposedly her mom was called out in church. There were these traveling missionaries who “prophesied there was a witch among them” and then they grabbed her and tried to “force her to give up her poisons she puts in food.” CREEPY! Who knows if it’s true, but still raises the hairs on your arm…?

Yesterday, we attended our first gusaba. It is a pre-dowry ceremony. In America (this only applies to us traditional peoples); we have the asking of the father, the engagement, and the wedding. Here it’s very similar but yet different. Basically, the man and woman decide they want to be together. The woman then tells her family and they decide yes or no. If they say no, that’s it. It all stops. Mostly though, they say yes and that’s where the gusaba comes in. The man brings buckets and buckets of food, beer and fantas to the girls’ family. His friends and family help carry it singing all the way. Then, the man has an appointed speaker, for he is not allowed to talk the whole day (the woman is also not allowed to be seen). The speaker then tells the woman’s’ family what the man wants and then the appointed speaker for the woman agrees and tells the man what he is to give. Traditionally it was a cow. Now-a-days it’s 200,000 RF or 400,000 RF if she’s educated. They bring out drinks. After drinks, they bring out food. Yes, they feed everyone. Then, they bring out the beer. The woman’s family offers the beer the man just brought (Two, 5 liter jerry cans) to the man. His speaker then stands and accepts but gives 1 back as a sign of sharing and family. Everyone drinks. (We were told that the beer yesterday was non-alcoholic but I’m not sure if this is common everywhere or what). Then, after the beer is gone, the “close family” goes inside the house and the woman is brought out FINALLY to hug the man. Next will be the dowry ceremony in which the man will pay the woman’s family. After she is “bought” they are free to begin planning the wedding. It’s a long process since 200,000 is A LOT here in Rwanda. Especially in my village where people have a hard time paying 100 RF for soap. So, when we finally attend the dowry I’ll let you in on the details. On a much different note, I experienced something very different during that ceremony. The part where they feed everyone. Of course, they brought out plates for all the adults. Well, there were probably 30 kids just standing around and as the adults became full, they passed their plates to the children. I wasn’t hungry in the first place so once I noticed this, I quickly passed my plate. I can’t even use words except, picture a shark feeding frenzy. They children literally were grabbing the food and SHOVING it into their little mouths. At one point, one of the girls holding the plate dropped it and without missing a beat, the children were on their knees eating the rice and beans from the floor. I almost lost it. Our counterpart told us they never even get rice because it‘s so expensive…mostly only sweet potatoes every single day. It completely broke my heart. So of course I handed my Fanta over quickly, which here EVERYONE drinks Fanta. The children started actually fighting over the Fanta. I don’t know if they’d ever had one but it was heartbreaking. We contemplated taking it away just to stop the fighting but we ended up just walking away. I don’t even know how to describe it to you. You just had to be there…..

Long time no write!


Jarod here…Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve updated. We have actually been somewhat busy lately (at least I think so). Work is slowly starting to take on some form finally and things are looking good. The past 2 ½ weeks have especially been busy. Recently we have had the chance to get to know a couple of our other bosses. Lyle who is the Operations Manager for Kageno who travels back and forth between the Kenya and Rwanda sites when she is not back home in Colorado and Frank, the Executive Director of Kageno. We really enjoyed getting to know them and feel like we have a much better perspective of our roles here in Banda and are excited about what the next two years have in store.

Anyway, to recap the last 4-5 weeks, this is what has been happening: rode a wooden bike, broke the wooden bike (it’s okay, it fixes really easy), almost lost my soccer ball to an outraged neighbor lady with a machete (it’s okay Meg, I saved it), had a forth of July party at Ryan’s site with HOT DOGS and MUSTARD and KETCHUP…amazing, killed a half a dozen rats, let one house worker go, hired another one (great decision by the way), ate vegetable sushi…in the middle of the forest, hosted our first Peace Corps visitors, helped paint a house, set up tents for the Kageno visitors, cut grass with a had tool that you swing back and forth like a golf club (brings a whole new appreciation for weed eaters and lawnmowers), slid down the mountain in the rain, all the while holding on to the arm of a 50 year old man as I pulled him down sometimes as well (talk about a booster for your ego), slid down a hill on a piece of banana tree stalk peeling, did yoga, yes yoga with hundreds of Rwandans as they stretched and laughed all the while in their skirts and with babies on their backs…the babies faces where hilarious…from their faces, in my mind they were saying, “what the heck are we doing and why am I upside down), witnessed my first African baptism services (this was no baptism ceremony for wimps…when the Pastor dunked it was with so much force that their feet came up out of the water. Oh and they also made the baptism pool from a creek behind the church but they dammed it up first so the water would be deep enough), helped doctor the finger of a co-worker that was nearly cut off with a machete, shared a bench with a monkey (that was fun), and much, much more.

I think it is safe to say that Sarah and I are continuing to fall more in love with Banda. I think every child in this village already knows Sarah’s name. If they ever see me without her the first thing they ask is, “Sarah ari he he (where is Sarah)? Oh and I have another somewhat sad but also funny story…so there is a kid named Thomas in our village who had an infection or something that resulted in him losing his eye. He is only about 3 or 4 years old. Recently, Kageno has been trying to help and has been taking him back and forth to the district health center in hopes of getting a new eye put in (one that is just for looks obviously). This past week he was given a new eye but unfortunately, the hospital made a mistake in perfecting the correct size of the eye. My supervisor told me that they were having problems with it falling out. I said, “What…his eye…it’s falling out???” So, yesterday I was at the feeding program and I saw Thomas there. I could see that he had his new eye in but after the next swig of his porridge, the eye was no longer there. Yup…that is right, his eye feel right into his porridge. His mother calmly picked it up and cleaned it off…I don’t know what else to say. That’s all for now…be blessed

Pretty Boring!


It feels as if it has been forever since I last posted…but I guess its only been a week. We’ve been so busy this week! I love it. Our boss from America, Lyla, came to Rwanda. We’ve been chatting with her pretty much every day since she arrived. It has been wonderful. Although our counterpart and supervisor speak English, it’s so comforting to speak with another American. There’s just no comparison. We have a large group of Americans coming on Sunday and will be here four days. They are going to be working with the community and doing all kinds of yoga, gardening, etc. We’re excited to meet them all and get to know them. Today we painted parts of the guest house and rearranged furniture to make sure everything is ready.

In other news, we got 2 more packages! My mother-in-law is just amazing! I can’t even tell you how excited we were to get those. She sure knows how to hit the spot. DR PEPPER! Woo hoo. Megan, your package has arrived here in Rwanda at least 4 weeks ago…and a friend picked it up for us. He was supposed to bring it the next week after he got it but well, he had bus issues and so now it’s been 2 more weeks. I’m sorry! It’s here…we just haven’t received it yet.  I promise we’ll let you know when we do.

My sister found an app called that will allow blackberry’s and iphones to chat for just the initial $1.99. SO…if you have an iphone and are interested in chatting with Jarod and I-download it ASAP! It’s wonderful. I finally get to talk to my Julie and Tiff!! Yay. Totally random but I missed Eclipse last night. I’m very sad about this. All my friends have seen it and I have to wait till it comes out on DVD or is somehow shown here in Rwanda. Poo!

I think that’s all for now. I’m pretty boring today. Nothing really exciting has happened.

Here’s a shout out to all our July’ers!
July 1st-Happy Birthday Papaw! I love you so much. Happy 4th of July! July 14th-Happy Birthday Uncle Mark. July 23rd-Happy Birthday Philip! July 24th-Happy Birthday to my sweet little Cademan. Caden is 5 and I’m so sad to be missing it. I love you cadester!