Kae Neufeld making a home visit.
The women that YEGO visits all have something in common. They all struggled with loneliness but now they have a community that cares about them. They are grateful for visitors because then they know they are not forgotten. They have all experienced love in their lives as a result of the retreats.
Carolyn interviewed four more people who are interested in computer-assisted learning. She is now compiling all the profiles so that that local staff can select proper programs.
Carolyn Neufeld interviewing students for computer-assisted learning.
Did you know?
The government of Rwanda gives vulnerable families a cow to help them with milk for themselves as well as the option to sell the extra. They are required to give the first calf to another needy family.
The distribution of cows outside the YEGO Centre provides a pleasant background “moosic.”
Closing day, 2019 women’s retreat.
Retreat leader Kae Neufeld says, “Even one story makes the trip worthwhile, but there are so many more.” Here is one such story.
One of the youth asked on Friday if she could tell her story to one of the leaders rather than in a group. On Saturday she was so concerned about what others knew about her, feeling so embarrassed, afraid of being known. Last night she made herself vulnerable to Carolyn who spent time with her. Carolyn discovered that this girl is a poet and encouraged her to share her poem. Today she stood up in the large group and recited her poem describing her challenges. It was so powerful that we had to pass around the box of tissues. This afternoon she got on the bus, no longer ashamed but beaming as she embraced her new friends. She now has a place where she is safe.
Everyone at the retreat gets a “mailbox” where others deliver notes of compassion, encouragement and support. These are brought home and treasured.
Emmanuel Gatera doing a craft at the healing retreat.
Retreat Day 2
It has been a full day of games, singing, crafts and storytelling. The women and youth are bonding, feeling safe to share difficult stories. They closed the day with singing and an evening blessing. Instead of heading for bed, the women sat in circle and sang. What a rich way to end the day.
In Kigali, a youth group of 18 girls has formed. They have all been part of previous retreats and stay in touch via social media. They meet together as well. Another 8 from this retreat will have a youth group to move into.
Tomorrow will be the last day of the retreat with this group. As Kae Neufeld states, “It is rewarding to know that, as they say, they now have a family where they belong.”
The women and girls arrive for the retreat.
The sessions started with singing, and the dancing followed. Tossing bean bags across the room in rapid succession had everyone laughing and ducking to avoid being hit.
Kae Neufeld taught two lessons separated by a tea break and then the women started telling their stories. It didn’t take long before the boxes of tissue were required. Kae says, “Having heard so many stories over the years has not provided immunity from having my heart broken once again.”
Tomorrow deals with forgiveness and finding healing.
As part of the evening blessing, Carolyn taught the group the song, “Angels Above Me.” A group of women gathered in the evening and continued singing this song. It was so meaningful to them.
Today included a visit to the genocide museum. What a sobering place. 250,000 of the nearly one million people killed are buried here. One theme that came through is that survivors who were betrayed by neighbours, friends, and the church now find it hard to love and trust. YEGO works with women who have been traumatized. We work hard to let them know they are loved and we surround them with a community they can trust.
Offering respect at the Genocide Memorial.
Meeting with students and facilitator for computer-assisted learning.
Carolyn met with five more students today as well as the facilitator for computer-assisted learning. The possibilities are exciting!