Ok so yesterday was our first full day at BFR. One thing you have to understand about BFR is they are very ceremonious. Every event includes a lengthy speech from Jean Claude, several songs, chants, and a share time with multiple kids. So things take a loooonnnng time. With that in mind, this was how our morning went yesterday:
We get off the bus and were immediately reunited with our “family” that we met the day before. My lil girl, Belize, found me before I even stepped off the bus. There are few feelings that can compare to looking out the window, making eye contact with that little girl, and watching her face light up with a giant smile and wide eyes. It made my heart sing, y’all. Maybe all you parents out there can understand that feeling, but it’s new to me, and it’s incredible.
Anyways, we all went to the Catholic school that allows BFR to use their campus for activities. We crammed into a little classroom, and the singing and dancing picked right up where we left off. We seriously sang and danced and jumped and praised for a solid hour. Then each of our team members introduced ourselves and shared a bit about our lives. Then many of the BFR kids got up and “shared their happiness with us.” Basically, it was a talent show, but I like “sharing happiness” better. They rapped, danced, sang, drummed, did comedy skits, and more. It was so much fun to watch! There were even little bitty kids getting up there singing and looking adorable. (We have some awesome videos to share when we get home.) It was so cool to see Confident Hope, BFR’s motto, so clearly displayed in these kids. They are the poorest of the poor, yet they exude joy in every way. Of course the whole time Belize is cuddling with me on the hard wooden bench, and whenever she took the stage for a talent she would always look at me, smile big, and wave.
Then, we had some free time to play. Everyone broke off into groups and played volleyball, soccer, catch, frisbee, painted faces, painted nails, colored in coloring books, and lots more. It was so much fun, in spite of the blazing midday sun. All of us went to lunch (hungry and probably also dehydrated), where we dined on potatoes, rice, pasta, and goat liver. Yup, goat liver. It tasted like a really tough pot roast. Officially my 2nd Rwandan food I can’t stand.
The afternoon consisted of more share time from the kids (with the standard speeches from Jean Claude, songs, and chants along the way). It was super sweet and all to hear them say how much they love us and appreciate us, but it was a statement from a 3 year old boy named Maurice that really made me thankful for what we are doing. He actually lives in the home on top of the mountain that we visited Friday. He got up (in his too long tshirt and his too short jeans), and said, “Thank you for visiting my home yesterday. I thank you for coming to us when we needed your help. I especially like the mattress. You make us so very happy. God bless you.” Oh my gosh y’all…he’s three. He’s had more struggle in his 3 short years than I’ve had in my 25, and he handles it with a smile and a blessing.
We also saw Jean Claude handle a “family issue”, which was pretty cool. It had come to his attention that one of the children who is 3 was living on the street with her mother. Apparently a couple of the older kids knew about it and didn’t tell Jean Claude. He was not happy. It was kinda like when you’re in class and suddenly the teacher starts scolding the kid next to you, and for some reason, you start getting nervous too. We all watched as Jean Claude (aka The Godfather) told his children that if they have a problem they should bring it to one of the older siblings to fix or to JC if they can’t fix it on their own. And if a child knows about his brother or sister’s struggle, they should also share it with him and not keep it secret. And this is where it gets really cool…he set on the floor a deflated soccer ball and took up an offering (yeah, an offering from poor kids). Then he sent out some of the older BFR kids to use the money to purchase shoes, toiletries, and any other necessities. He also wanted to know about her living situation, so they were to bring back a report about what they saw. It was encouraging to see the family structure of BFR at work. They really do act like a family, and they were totally transparent with us.
We came back to the hotel exhausted and FILTHY, but full of confident hope. 🙂