“I don't know anything about being in tune or a singer’s ability to harmonize, but the children who sang to us sang beautifully, and hearing their lovely voices stirred my heart.”
Kigali, Rwanda, finally!
The airport was the smallest international airport I had ever been in, and there was only one baggage claim. Robert's bag came very quickly. Unfortunately, Emily and mine did not. Perhaps it was because of the plastic Emily and I had wrapped our bags in while we were in Belgium, but then again, who could really know? We waited and waited, and Robert waited patiently with us.
While we were waiting I went to look for someone holding up a sign for us. Needless to say, I did not see anyone. Then I started to look for Patrick and finally spotted him standing with the Director of the orphanage. After introducing myself to Patrick and the Director, I went back to Emily and Robert and told Robert that he could leave since our ride was here and did not want to hold him up any longer. Immediately, I prayed that our bags would come quickly. I really did not want to wait stranded at the airport alone until they arrived. Within minutes of my prayer, however, all five of our bags miraculously appeared, and both Emily and I were hugely relieved.
We loaded our bags into the bed of our right-hand drive Toyota Hilux. It was crazy beat up and looked really old and untrustworthy. It was more trustworthy than I realized, and before long, we were on our way. All of the roads had been paved except for the last 6 km, which ended up being a dirt road that literally could have been straight out of Indiana Jones. The positive side of such a long drive was being able to talk to Patrick and get a feel for the orphanage during the ride.
After about a three-hour drive, we finally made it to Gakoni, to the orphanage, and our new home. It was really strange to arrive in the dark. After our arrival, we went straight to the Directors house, met his family and then were offered food. Dinner was banana omelets and tea, which smelled and tasted just like Apple Jacks cereal. After dinner they sang to us in Kinyarwanda – the official language of Rwanda. I am not musically inclined: I don't know anything about being in tune or a singer’s ability to harmonize, but the children who sang to us sang beautifully, and hearing their lovely voices stirred my heart. I felt extremely welcomed and happy to be there.
Finally we were taken to where Emily and I would be living. Surprisingly, even though it was night, everything looked how I thought or maybe even hoped it would from the description in the e-mails. Although we were tired, Emily and I stayed up and started unpacking and began to get settled. Shortly after we started, there was a knock at the door. It was the director’s son, Ntwali David, and he was standing in the doorway with one of my suitcases. Apparently it had been stolen out of the back of the truck. The worst part was that I hadn't even realized it was missing.
As I spent my first night under a mosquito net, thoughts swirled through my mind, and the reality of finally being in Africa began to sink in. I reminded myself to have no expectations, just to be grateful to have gotten this far.