The drizzling rain and grey skies reminded me of Oregon as the rain stung my bare arms and blurred my vision through my helmet on my moto ride home. For the first time in a long time, the weather fits the season. It will always be difficult for me to recognize it’s January when it is 80 degrees outside (but I’m not complaining). Today, the chilly, grey rain feels fitting to a mid-March day for both the Oregon springtime and the Rwandan rainy season.
The newness of spring has been so evident to me lately. I witness new things springing up to the life all around me and sense that the newness is just a rhythm of life.
I sense newness in me, too. A stability and strength that is surprising, but good. Part of it might be that I am mere days away from visiting my Oregon home, and the excitement of embracing my family and eating sharp cheddar cheese again so soon is driving me forward. It could be, too, that I am finally fitting into my role here and feel comfortable in the work, life, and community that God has been drawing me to over the last year and a half.
Two weeks ago we stared an entrepreneurship training with our women’s group in Kangondo. A friend of ours from another organization has been leading it. I sit in the back and write down things I hear or words I don’t know to look up later–an exercise to improve my ability to listen and hear Kinyarwanda. I don’t lead the training at all, but leave each afternoon feeling exhausted. Listening to a difficult language and the small attempts at conversation with my friends stretch my brain in an unfamiliar way.
The women, too, are stretched during the trainings. Most of them dropped out of school before reaching 6th grade, so it has been a long time since they have been in a classroom setting. All 18 women show up everyday though–notebooks and pen in hand for those who have the ability to read and write–also driven by the promise and hope of new things that could come from this. We sit cramped together on sturdy wooden benches in the courtyard of Immaculee’s house and enter in to the hard work of transformation.