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Jarod here. So, once again it has been a while since we have written…sorry.  It seems that lately not too much has been going on so I will see what I can conjure up. 

Oh, first of all, yesterday I was inside while Sarah was outside trying to soak up some rays of sun when I suddenly hear her say in a very much concerned/freaked out voice, “Jarod come here now.”  It seems that during her tanning session one of our little mouse friends decided to share the mat with Sarah and then ran across her leg.  When I made it outside I saw the little dude hunkering behind some nearby rocks.  The little guy and I had some words and end the end…it is sad to say…but, he is no more.  I am not one for hurting animals but when it comes to them keeping us up all night running in, around and all through our house making all kinds of noise…they gots to go!!!

I don’t know if we have mentioned this in any previous blogs but our organization is in the process of starting an Eco-Lodge here in our village.  There is still much fund raising to be done before any real construction takes place but recently the money was raised for the land and it is in process of being purchased right now.  The land is a beautiful 6 or 7 hectares, maybe bigger (I think a hectare is quite bigger than an acre) which basically consists of two mountain sides.  Once of those mountains overlooks the beautiful rain forest while the other overlooks the village with views all the way to the picturesque Lake Kivu…some 30 – 40 kl away.

However, there have been people living on that land for many years now and since the lodge will be built where they now live…they have to move.  This may sound unfortunate for these people but I can assure you, this is God send for them.  Some of these people are living in the worst houses I have yet to see in all of Rwanda…6 or 7 in one house…not to mention the goats, guinea pigs and rabbits they share it with.  As you can see from the picture of the house (which has 7 people living in it and not including the many animals) these are not the best conditions to be living in. 

So, these people are very excited as they will be getting a rather large chunk of change, especially by Rwandan standards to rebuild further down the mountain and closer to town.  With the money given to them for their land and house, they will be able to build a house 2 or 3 maybe 4 or 5 times nicer than their previous one and also purchase a good piece of land to farm on which as you probably know is basically the only source of income for our village.  If you don’t have land here, you don’t have anything.  Let me relate that to American standards…not having land would be like someone not having a job, car, phone, etc.  But, since giving a Rwandan 2,000,000 francs (roughly 4 thousand USD) at once can lead to bad things: a lot of banana beer purchased for one, it being stolen from thieves, as Elise our counterpart always says, “they can eat the money and have nothing left,” their money will be deposited into a bank in the Sector office and small withdrawals will be able to be made.  I think it will be good for everyone.  One thing is for sure, I am happy to see these families get a nicer home for themselves…especially because we know many of these families well as they are some of our sponsored children.

Umm…last but not least I will leave you with a funny story.  So, a month or so ago we were sitting a wedding when I notice an old man sitting across the way from us.  I could not but help notice that he looked just like a chimpanzee.  I didn’t say anything at first but as I kept looking, his facial hair around his mouth, expressions, everything kept drawing me back to that thought.  I told Sarah and she instantly agreed.  So, we decided to ask Elise our Rwandan counterpart, “what does that man remind of you of?”  Without hesitation Elise said, “A chimp”.  He said, “We even call him chimp” and then he proceeded to tell us another interesting story about the man.  Elise told us to look at his hand.  He said that several years ago a chimp came to his field to steal some crops and the man tried to fight him away but the chimp grabbed the mans hand in his mouth and bit off his thumb.  As we looked over, sure enough, the man was missing one of us thumbs.  Anyway, I thought that was interesting so I hope you enjoyed that story.   

I think that is all I have for now…if there is anything anyone would like to know or anything you would like us to write about while we are here…just let us know.  Email or Facebook us and we will be happy to do that.  I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Be blessed! 



So much to be thankful for.

Man. It seems that so much has happened this week that I want to write about! First of all…Happy Late Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope that you had amazing feasts and wonderful time with family or friends. Jarod and I had a wonderful thanksgiving! There is a volunteer here from New York and I cook up a scrumptious meal for the 3 of us. We had deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, cabbage salad, cinnamon glazed carrots, pork and a YUMMY pineapple upside down cake. I cooked ALL of this on my camp fire stoves. I tell you…I’m becoming quite the little betty crocker. J My nanny will be proud. 

Then, we went to Kigali to spend some time with other Peace Corps Volunteers. It was the best thanksgiving we could have asked for complete with homemade sweet rolls, pumpkin and pecan pie and MANY other fabulous dishes!!! We ate so much AMAZING food that I literally thought I’d die of fullness. I laid on the floor for like an hour recovering. It was heavenly. We also had unlimited internet and hot showers. It was the perfect relaxing time. We talked to our families on skype and the phone…it was just more than we could have hoped or asked for.

 Today, our health center finally treated kids for worms!! It was so wonderful to be a part of it. Jarod and I handed out 391 pills for worms to children aged 6-16. We (our health post nurses) also probably treated between 100-200 children aged 0-6 with worm medicine, vitain A supplements, and the polio vaccination. It was so wonderful. We have it again tomorrow and Thursday. It feels so nice to be helping change childrens lives. I felt like we were making a difference today by giving out medicine. These children have worms so badly with generally no access to worm medicine…it was a breath of fresh air for us.                                   

Also, I wanted to list some books for a good read. Jarod and I have read many books while being here and I definitely recommend them!
·         A Thousand Hills by Stephen Kinzer (Rwandan/Kagame’s History)
·         We Wish To Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gouravich (Rwandan History)
·         In the Kingdon of the Gorillas by Bill Webber and Amy Vedder (Rwandan History) DEFINITELY A MUST!
·         Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
·         Dead Aid by (forgot her name but it something like Mambosa something)
·         The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz
·         Shaking Hands with the Devil-documentary
·         Sometimes in April-movie
We’ve also been reading just random books and I finally read Wuthering Heights! It is a classic written in the 1800s. I loved it. Tragic but good.  We’ve read many more but they would probably be boring to you guys.

I know it’s the last day of the month but I forgot to do November shout outs! So…
November 9th Happy Birthday to my little sis. 20 years old!! Also Happy Birthday to my father-in-law Terry. Jarod and I hope it was awesome! November 30th, my bestie….Julie. Happy 26th-as everyone told me…it only goes down hill from here. J  We love you guys all so much and hope your special days were wonderful.

Ok…I think that’s all for now. I hope that everyone is feeling the Christmas spirit and listening to their Christmas music. Jarod and I have been rocking out for a while. We love you all and thank God you’re all in our lives!! Until next time…