Of all the children I’ve met in Rwanda Yvette is the shyest. I could see she wanted to hide behind her mama, but she bravely took a seat between Kevin and me on the sofa. But while she would sit with us, she spoke only a few whispered words. When asked she whispered she is in P2 (second grade) and math is her favorite class. As we pulled the gifts one by one out of the bag (and there were many, because if anyone has a bigger heart than my friend Shea, I haven’t met that person), Yvette stared but no smiles. Yet. Finally we took out the football, the American football, and in my expertise developed over years of watching Boise State football I demonstrated how to throw and explained, “You throw the ball to your teammate and then everyone on the other team runs after that person and tries to knock them down!” This brought her first smile.
But what really got her laughing was my husband. The always willing to be laughed at Kevin whom children adore because he is silly. He is really good at silly. He took the drawing pad and crayons sent by Shea and Michael and drew a self-portrait. As he finished the drawing she began to laugh, and her mama Rose laughed.
|The Master of Silliness|
As our visit came to an end Kevin prayed for them. He prayed for many things but he prayed they would have enough food. I’ve not visited a family in Rwanda who were so obviously food insecure. These were hungry people and so grateful for the food pack of maize, beans, oil, and soap Shea and Michael sent. When I asked where Yvette’s papa was Richard, Yvette’s social worker, replied he was out looking for food. The area of Bugesera where Yvette and her family lives is not easy living and the ground is not good for growing food. And while the future in Bugesera looks encouraging, as industry and factories are setting down roots, for now life is hard.
As we walked outside and said goodbye, I knelt beside Yvette and told her when I was a little girl I was the shyest girl you would ever meet, and I never wanted anyone to talk to me. But I grew up and now I’m a mom and I’m bossy (she laughed) and I’m not shy anymore (mostly). She smiled so big and I hugged her goodbye.
When we walked back to the car, Yvette and Rose followed us all the way. As we drove away, Yvette and I waved and waved and waved until we could no longer see each other.
|Two Shy Girls|
|Our newest friends, Rose and Yvette|
I’m so grateful Michael and Shea sponsor little Yvette, for I would never have met her otherwise. I would never have seen her smile or heard her laugh at Kevin’s silly antics.
Poverty is hard. Most of us in America have only the smallest understanding of poverty, because we haven’t looked into the faces of it. But if you want to take a stand against poverty. If you’re willing to look into the face of poverty, into the face of a little girl or boy like Yvette, please join Michael and Shea and sponsor a child. Bring one of these children into your family. You will be rewarded with a joy I cannot really explain as you receive letters and photographs from your child. The days when mail arrives from Africa New Life with photos and letters from our own sponsored child Umulisa (whom I cannot wait to see in two short days!!!), my heart feels bigger all day. I smile all day! I read her letter over and over (usually while crying) and think, “How is it possible to change a child’s life so easily?” Yet it is. And you can.
Do not be overwhelmed by this world. Changing the world is really not that hard after all. It is just a click away.
Africa New Life Ministries Child Sponsorship is available right here.