A travel narrative:
Describing an experience that makes you fearful yet fascinated, awed yet attracted- the powerful, personal feeling of being overwhelmed and inspired.
We just got back from a numinous trip to the Eastern Province of Rwanda. After three hours on a cramped bus winding through gorgeous hills, tea plantations and small villages we finally arrived in Mutara.
We were greeted at the bus stop by an amazing Canadian lady, Amanda, who lives and works with the poor and needy of the Mutara region. Amanda, her husband Mike and one and a half year old daughter, Beatrix, live in a small house on a gorgeous piece of land. They love the people of Rwanda and have big dreams for this area. We were so inspired by their big hearts, big vision and even bigger passion to “bring life” to the people of Mutara. They work here alongside a team of YWAMer’s who moved out there from Kigali to build a medical clinic, farm and medical garden as a YWAM outreach center. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the entire team but we did get to stay with Amiss, a volunteer who is also working on the project with them.
They have a huge plot of land for the development center and it’s gorgeous. Mike has created a huge beautiful garden and orchard where he is growing all sorts of things; chia, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, beans, Irish potatoes, bananas, mangos, radishes, carrots, sweet potatoes, you name it! We walked through the huge garden as he described his vision behind growing so much chia. Chia grows easily year-round in Rwanda and is a nutrient rich superfood that he believes could help add much needed variety and nutrients to the diets of people in the area. He has also started a small medical garden where they are growing Atrimesia annua anamed, Moringa oleifera, Aloe Vera and Carica papaya. Atrimesia is a plant that treats malaria and easily grows there. They plan on sustaining the financial needs of the medical clinic through selling produce and chia seeds.
They keep a few pigs too! Usually in Rwanda, people keep pigs in concrete pens but Mike has built a light-weight wooden pen that can be moved so that the pigs can dig and fertilize the soil for the garden.
The medical clinic is still in progress, they have just recently finished construction on the building itself and are waiting on the government to approve the project so that they can open to the community. They plan on focusing on prenatal care, midwifery and children’s health.
We had a great time exploring and talking with Mike about all his plans and vision for the area.
We are inspired and excited about all of the wonderful things that they are doing. We plan on going back to stay with them longer. You’ll definitely be hearing more about the Mutara Development Center, hopefully soon! To support this project, check out their GoFundme page.