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One of those days...

Have you ever had one of those days that nothing significant really happens but yet everything happens? Valentines day this year was one of those days for me. My wonderful mother in law sent my husbands favorite “cake” with all the ingredients in a box. So naturally I planned on making that for valentines day. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to be romantic when you have no electricity, everything’s dead and you can’t even get fixed up. So I was already in a bit of a frazzle. Jarod was sitting out on the front porch talking with one of the neighbor boys (whom he spends a lot of time with daily) so I was getting frustrated because I wanted to plan this special something (of which I still have no idea what I wanted to do) but was frustrated he had been out there talking a long time. Then, I was baking the cake in my make shift oven and trying sooooo hard to get that stinking thing to rise. Our little neighbor who always comes over and hangs out (he’s seven) was helping me “gucana” which means to light the fire. It was already going but he loves to blow the flames and make it bigger. Well, the hotter it is, the better chances of me getting my amazing cake I was wanting. So I said bring it on. So picture me, as always fretting around about something and he and I are making small talk. But then that moment comes…when you feel like the biggest idiot and God just slaps you right in your face. He said “today I went to school, and then I went and drew water, then I played with my sister, came here and now I’m helping you…oh and I’m hungry because I haven’t eaten today.” Bam. Slap so hard I nearly cried. This precious precious child of God is 7 years old and it is 6:00 at night and he hasn’t eaten. Nothing. My heart broke and I felt like God was like you idiot…stop fretting over a stupid cake and feed that kid! So…not how I intended to end up spending my valentines day…but I got so much more out of it than just a dinner with my husband. I ended up cooking sasoma for him, his sister and a few other kids. It then turned into a big deal because they were here after dark and his parents came home drunk and he wasn’t home but we got it all worked out and it made my day to help him. I’m attaching a picture of them eating…

Oh and the cake was the bomb-diggidy!

Another interesting thing that happened is as you all know, it is HARD to get eggs in our village. We have been trying every since we got here and the most at once we got was 10. However, jarod decided to “make a deal with God”. He “told” God that if he’d bring us 11 or more eggs at once then we would not proceed with buying chickens. We were wanting to buy chickens and I felt it would be bad because we’re helping the village people by buying all they have when they have some, so he makes this deal…and I say ok that sounds good. I kid you not, within 24 hours we have over 40 eggs-FORTY- eggs brought to our house. It was jackpot…egg style! This week has been the best week for protein yet as we had 6 cans of tuna from a package, eggs and milk! WOO HOOOOO!



This and That!!!

Hello Everyone,

Jarod here.  I apologize in advance.  This blog may be rather lengthy as (believe it or not) we actually have a few things to write about.

First thing first…I am sorry for the delay in getting this out but I want to thank all of you who helped out with the clothes drive around Christmas time.  The clothes were dispersed and the children were very excited to have a new pair of clothes, especially around Christmas time.  Most of the kids wear their new clothes everyday now.  Thank you so much for making this happen and for making over 100 children in our village a little happier around the holiday season.  If it wasn’t for you, they would have never had a new pair of clothes to wear on Christmas which is a Rwandan tradition. 

Also, last month I was able to work with a school to start a water catchment system.  The school has had no source of water for hand-washing or cleaning since it was built several years ago.  The water must be drawn from a creek a good distance away.  But, thanks to a little help, I was able to raise around 500 dollars to start a water catchment project.  The great thing was, I pretty much explained my thoughts for the project to the head master at the school, had him sign a contract that he would finish within one month and handed him the money.  The school ran with the project and made it their own which is what I wanted.  Instead of the initial 1000L tank I had proposed, they added some of their own money and purchased a 2500L tank.  The system was constructed and finished a week early and has been working great ever since.  The tank even filled up in less than two hours recently from a steady downpour (I guess it helps that we live in a rain forest). 

Anyway, I think the best thing about the project was that I felt I finally contributed to something and saw something tangible that I knew was going to help many people.  Now, more than 400 people have readily available water to wash their hands and clean the school.  And, the teachers told me they would soon purchase the water treatment chemicals to make the water potable so the children can have something to drink throughout the day…A simple project with a big impact…good day for everyone!

Changing gears to something totally, we were on the way back to our site a few weeks ago when I saw some birds fly across the road and just miss the front of the bus.  Unfortunately, not all of the birds made it.  One ended up flying right through the barely opened passenger window of the bus.  It barely missed mine and Sarah’s heads but sadly, it didn’t make it out the other side.  It was a pigeon and as you can imagine a little dazed but it seemed to be okay.  It got interesting when the lady sitting behind me decided to put it in her bag.  I thought surely they would let it fly out the window but I guess this lady wanted a pet…or so I hoped.  Within 5 minutes she had that dude plucked and yes, still alive, tucked away in her bag.  I don’t think I need to finish this story.  Moving on…

Oh, another thank you goes out to Sarah’s Mom.  Thank you Elizabeth for sending all the tooth brushes for the kids.  We were able to purchase the remaining few so all 300 nursery school kids and the 35 vulnerable on the feeding program could have their own brush and learn the importance of good oral hygiene.  Some of the kids from the feeding program can be seen here brushing away.  After their porridge every day they must brush their teeth before they can leave.  I can’ tell you how much the kids love it…even though their gums bleed like crazy because they have never done this before.  After a month or so this bleeding will stop.  Most of them will brush for at least 5 -10 minutes and one girl the other day even broke the 15 minute mark…I am not sure that is a good thing or not but needless to say, her teeth were clean that day.            

Probably the biggest news in the life of Jarod and Sarah is the new addition to the family.  Yes it is a little puppy maybe 7 weeks old.  Our friend who lives on the other side of the country found him stuffed in a burlap sack and several kids gathered around kicking and beating him.  She paid the kids 500 francs (less than 1 dollar) and took the little guy.  Unfortunately though, she had no place to keep him and her neighbors didn’t want a dog around as well.  So, after trying for several days to find a new home and with no takers, we decided to take him off her hands.  He is a golden color and since he came from so far away we named him Mvuyekure (I come from far) Izuba (Sun).  We call him Zuba and since Rwandans love shortening names, the kids just call him Zu pronounced like Zoo.  The great thing is, since he has been outside his entire life, he only knows to pee and poop outside and since we have taken him, he lets us know every time he needs to use the bathroom or the grass.  Sarah is extremely excited as you can imagine and I am secretly excited as well but don’t tell anyone…you can’t not love this little dude. 

Okay, last but not least we want to leave you with a little section I like to call, “Differences between Rwanda and America”.  Sorry if I put something in here that has already been mentioned in a previous blog…can’t remember that far back.

-         Hair: As far as I know, in America people try to make their hair extensions blend in as mush as possible to look like it is actually their real hair.  In Rwanda, women love to show off their new braids and hair extensions regardless of how unnatural it looks.  To be able to have hair extensions is a sign of wealth in Rwanda maybe sort of like having a Louis Vutton bag or Channel glasses.  You can always point out a newcomer in our village when you see a woman strolling through town with her shinny new braids. 
-         Also, when it comes to school, students are not allowed to have long hair.  And, when I say long I mean like ¼ of an inch long.  The other day we were walking home when I noticed almost every student that passed me had a large area of hair missing from their head.  Turns out, if the teachers deem that you hair is too long, they take some sort of razor, cut a 1 by 4 inch line out of the front of your hair and send you on your way, marked as one who must get his head shaved.  As sad as the whole situation is, it is kinda funny to see kids walking around with their hair like that.   In America, well you know with hair, pretty much anything goes.
-         Radios: In Rwanda, if you have a radio you are instantly hip.  And, the radio must go with you everywhere you go carried in your arm cradled like a book or on your shoulder like something straight out of the 80’s.  It doesn’t matter what language is being spoken on the radio or even if they can understand it.  As long as there is some kind of noise coming from those speakers then everything is awesome. 
-         Hot vs. Cold: So, I think I am in the same boat with everyone when I say we like our food hot and our showers even hotter.  In Rwanda, that doesn’t fly.  If you get hot food at a local restaurant you must count yourself blessed.  It is usually served cold and they don’t mind to eat it that way…they actually prefer it…at least most of them that I have found.  And the showers, if you mention a hot shower in Rwanda you can expect some funny looks.  Hot showers are about as foreign to Rwanda as an IHOP would be in my village.  Man I miss IHOP…rooty tooty fresh and fruity get in my belly!!!  Anyway, moving on.  
-         Giving birth:  So, I hope I don’t get in trouble by all the lady folk for this but I would say that the majority of women in American love their pain meds when it comes to child delivery…I said the MAJORITY.   I don’t think you can find a Rwandan woman who has taken pain meds to give birth anymore than you can find a double quarter pounder with cheese growing in my pathetic excuse for a garden…man I gotta get off of the food…I might cry.  Anyway, in our village, the women decide “hey I am about to go into labor, I should probably start walking” then they walk the 3 hour walk to the health center and deliver their baby…if they make it and don’t have their baby in the road first.  Once everything is done and the necessary precautions made, within a few hours, she packs the baby up and heads back on the 3 hour walk back to Banda.  And, the next day you can see her in the field working with the baby wrapped in blankets sitting to the side under some shade tree.  I think we can all see the differences here.  American women…don’t take for granted the health care at your disposal.  True the women don’t pay more than a few bucks if any for the whole process but let’s be honest, if you had your choice, which would you choose.  – Hot

I could list more but this is getting too long as it is.  We hope you are all doing great and as always, we miss you all.  Hey, it is one year to the date that we left the good ole US of A to come here.  Wow, how time flies.  Okay, take care and we will hopefully write again soon. 

Jarod and Sarah



Hello hello…


I just wanted to let everyone know we have about 7 blogs we want to type and will do that soon. They all require pictures and unfortunately we can’t upload pics from our site because the modem doesn’t work quickly enough (256mpps)…so I promise we’ll do it soon! Don’t give up on us, we’re still here!!!!




Just an update...

Hello everyone,


We just wanted to update everyone on the postal situation. There seems to be some chaos with sending packages from Rwanda. For a while we thought it was receiving and sending  but have recently learned they shut down all sending from Rwanda to the US/Canada until further notice. The US doesn’t accept any packages from other countries without an “x-rayed” approval. Rwanda doesn’t have the capabilities to do that and routes all their mail through Kenya. Kenya recently had problems and is really backed up with all mail. SO, until further notice we will not be sending anything to you such as letters, packages etc. Also, anything we’ve sent since the beginning of December is probably going to be returned to us. That explains the missing letters, packages, etc. Thanks for your patience and we’ll talk to you soon!



Oh man. Can I just say that today we had the experience of our life. I mean, I’m sure we will experience many other things that will be pretty stinking incredible but today….this takes the cake.

Let me start you off with our journey. Yesterday was national elections. So, we start our hike up the mountain at 6:30 am. I get to the top and I am waiting on Elise to return on the moto with Jarod. He finally gets there and we start trying to find a bus. Since they’re having elections (or “erections” as they call them because they interchange their l’s and r’s freely), the buses aren’t running. We finally got a ride with a friend who is an engineering consultant for several rice mills in Rwanda. He stopped and offers to take us to Kigali with a quick stop at his rice factory that is generally about 15 km’s off the main road. On this day though, he needed to check out all the equipment and walk around talking to the workers. It ended up being about 2 hours of work. Then, on the way out we were all talking and he took a wrong turn. So, we added lost to our day. We were fretting as we absolutely had to get to Kigali and then on to Musanze. However, we made it at 3:12 to Kigali and literally ran to the bus stop to catch the bus to Musanze. The buses were all booked. Of course right? Well, we ended up getting one and before it was leaving we absolutely had to go to the bank. As we started using the ATM it starts to spit our money out and just stops. So, we ran to the other ATM and the same thing happens. I am literally almost in tears, sweating and stressed that we’re not going to make it and our money is going to go down the drain. So, I go sit down to order some food at a really nice place called Bourbon. It’s a coffee shop with great great food and drinks. So, I order some food for me and Jarod, she returns to tell me they are out of my food. So, I order 2 of the same thing that I had ordered Jarod…but then she comes back and says they are out of that too. At this point, I was not a nice person and yelled “well what do you have?” Not my best and shining moment. But, then I felt terrible and apologized and just asked for a drink. Jarod makes it back and we go to the bus stop. As we’re waiting…the bus doesn’t show. It ends up being over 25 minutes late and then everyone got into a fight trying to shove each other out of the way to get on. As we’re leaving town he stops to fill up with gas. I’m stressing because PC has a new policy that we can’t be out traveling after 5:00 pm. Safety reasons. So, then as we’re stalled on the road because a new road is being built Jarod says “if we aren’t mellow by the end of these 2 years, we didn’t learn our lesson”. I said “well it’s been a year and I am not feeling mellow right now in one single way.” Haha! So finally, we arrive…..we get up early and go to the gorillas!

We finally saw the gorillas. It only took 11 months and 10 days of waiting and can I just say that it was worth every single moment. We started out walking thru the forest and less than probably 15 minutes after starting, our guide stops us to tell us that we are here and that soon we’ll see them. So we walk single file behind him thru the huge bamboo shoots and suddenly we see this little guy playing. Then, we turn past this big bush of bamboo and there sits the giant silver back, the chief. He’s just hanging out and vegging on some bamboo leaves. He doesn’t even take a break to look up at these 10 people who just stumbled upon him. Clearly this isn’t his first rodeo. As we stand there, I’m thinking this is insane…we’re like 21 feet away and our guide just keeps going until we’re literally less than 5 feet from him. Again, he never even moves. So we start taking photos and a momma turns around and has the cutest little guy on her lap. He was adorable. 6 months. Adorable!

While we’re sitting here just ogling over these beautiful apes, they are just eating, napping and playing as if we aren’t even there. This little baby comes over curious to see what I’m doing. He gets probably 2 feet away and is totally just staring at me as if he knows me. Of course, the guide then grunts at him and does a little semi charge to get him to back away because they don’t ever want them touching the humans. I completely understand this with all the diseases we could pass to them, but at this moment….this adorable little baby coming to me….I definitely wanted to pick him up and cuddle him. It was all I could do not to just scream from the cuteness. I mean, even Jarod said that experience could “melt even the hardest heart”. In total we probably stayed with the gorilla’s about an hour and 10 minutes. Our guide said we needed to go so unfortunately we had to say goodbye…but we will probably visit again.

It was truly the most wonderful experience and I recommend it to ANYONE visiting this country. I’m going to post pictures on Facebook and a few on here too.


More to come...

Hello everyone! Again, it has been a while since I’ve written but here I am. So not a lot has happened but I’m trying to find some things to type about.  Jarod recently did a project with the small primary school here in our village. He applied to this organization and they gave him $500 US dollars to put towards a project here. They wired the money, the school took the project and they ran with it! You can read all about his project on their website. If you click Rwanda, scroll down and you can find his project with pictures. I am about to apply to do a project with the larger Primary school here. Hopefully that will be on the website soon as well.


We’ve pretty much just been trying to start projects and get something going here. We are working with a supermodel who is wanting to develop a bracelet here that would be sold around the world. She’s here this week and we’re meeting with the craft group to start working on that…wish us luck! Hopefully, we’ll find something she’s interested in and start turning out beautiful bracelets.


Here’s just some random funny thing that have happened the other day: I went to take money out of the ATM and as I previously mentioned, Rwandans confuse their “R”s and “L”s. They interchange them as if they’re one letter. So as I am waiting for my money to pop out, at the bottom of the screen it says “To end transaction, press Cancer”. Haha! I started laughing and barely caught my money as it fell out of the slot. I couldn’t help but remember I am still in a developing country even though I am using an ATM in the capital.


So in other news, we’re extremely bummed about the recent civil unrest in Egypt. I am glad, for Egypt that it is happening as it has been deemed “proper revolution”. If you don’t know, basically (from what we’ve been told as we still don’t have a radio) the young people of the country that are “in” with the times are sick and tired of a crappy and corrupt government so they’ve taken it upon themselves to form alliances and march until the Prime Minister steps down. He fired all his cabinet and they’ve cut internet access with the entire country until something happens. This is awesome, but we’re sad because that means that until things calm down, Peace Corps “forbids” us from going there and as many of you know…we were planning this huge trip to Egypt and Israel for our 3 year anniversary in April. I’m so bummed but also so thankful that we hadn’t bought our tickets yet. We’ll figure out something else to do but we had a kick butt itinerary and now I’m bummed it isn’t going to be happening. Ahh!! Why can’t we all just get along???


This weekend we are going to see the gorillas. I am sooooo excited. We will definitely be posting pictures and writing a blog about our wonderful experience. This is said to be one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences and so far, not one of our friends that have went have been let down. So, we’ll keep you updated.


I need to give a shout out to all my January peoples:

January 4th-Happy Birthday Landon. I hope it was wonderful and that God is continually blessing you and Cortney. January 25th-Happy Birthday Nanny! I misss you so much and will see you as soon as possible. January 31st-Happy Birthday Daddy. The big 50!! I can’t believe you turned 50…I think I’m supposed to send over the hill balloons and stuff but well, I didn’t think they’d make it from here. Haha. I love you and hope it was great Also on the 31st-Happy Birthday Amanda Kelley-Ewing. I hope your day was wonderful .


I miss you all and we look forward to seeing you. We love you guys and pray for you all continually!