Bishop Thad Barnum Introducing the Project at my Eagle Court of Honor Sunday, Jun 19 2011
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New Pictures of Cisterns in action! Wednesday, Jan 19 2011
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From Peace, the diocese coordinator for Bigogwe:
People who were there when i was taking photos sent me to tell you that, you did a great job when you brought them water. There is one of the Church leaders who said that, " When heavy rains come, People and things are taken away by the floods in this area, and it is the same place that experiece water shortage problems." But he was thanking God who brought this thought in you. The water problem was solved.
God Bless you.
Defense Secretary Gates (an Eagle Scout) on Scouting Thursday, Jul 29 2010
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Boy Scouts Celebrate 100 Years Monday, Jul 26 2010
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Aaron is at National Jamboree in Ft. Hill, Virginia for the next two weeks. Fox News is following the Centennial Celebration as is other news outlets. check out these stories
Project Complete, But Continue to Support! Tuesday, Jul 20 2010
Uncategorized 10:04 am
Thank you, eveyone who has been viewing this blog! It has been a great joy to share my work with all of you, and thank all of those who contributed. I state that the project was nothing but a complete success, and now the school at Bigogwe can go on without fear of too little water or damage to their school buildings. But, please continue to support in projects lead by the Boy Scouts, Church of the Apostles, or any other organization working for the good of the kids, people, and teachers at Bigogwe, and elsewhere in Rwanda.
The full set of pictures and video clips are uploaded here.
Home! Friday, Jul 16 2010
Uncategorized 7:20 pm
We left Rwanda on a 7pm flight from Kigali on Thursday and arrived in Newark at noon today, so about 28 hours of total travel time door-to-door.
Thursday – visit Archbishop Kolini! Thursday, Jul 15 2010
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Emmanuel Kolini: The Unlikely Archbishop of Rwanda
By Audra Jennings
From the Killing Field to the Mission Field
A Prophet Emerges from Rwanda’s Pain
Any pastor will tell you that no church is immune to conflict, whether the issue in question is a central point of doctrine or the choice of new carpet. But imagine serving a congregation made up of both the victims and the perpetrators of the most brutal massacre in recent history. In assuming his new post as Archbishop of Rwanda in the wake of the 1994 genocides, Emmanuel Kolini faced huge challenges. How was he to turn a sick, confused, and broken society full of widows, orphans, and prisoners and their families into a reconciled, cohesive society?
Emmanuel Kolini: The Unlikely Archbishop of Rwanda by Mary Weeks Millard
traces the story of this remarkable man through the impoverishment and racial tensions of his childhood, the years spent in refugee camps, his life as a husband and father, and his ascent through the ranks of Anglican leadership. Based on their friendship of almost ten years, author Mary Weeks Millard shines the light on the inner workings and motivations of a leader who has inspired cooperation between Muslims and Christians, led the way in restoring a nation ravaged by genocide, and pioneered HIV/AIDS initiatives.
“Kolini felt the role of the church should be to pick up the broken pieces of a nation one by one and, by the grace of God, to put them back together. There would be no quick fix. It would be slow, painstaking work, but there could be no other way,” Millard says. “As he pointed out, no university could train a person to do such work; it was only through the grace of the Holy Spirit’s power that such a miracle could happen.”
Prior to his work in Rwanda, Kolini and his wife, Freda, had served for many years in Uganda and Congo. Much of their ministry had been focused on reconciling strained marriages, strengthening families, and training new pastors. These early experiences in the art of reconciliation would be put to the ultimate test in his next assignment.
As the newly appointed Archbishop of his native Rwanda, Kolini was the first leader from any denomination to offer a public apology for the failure of his church to respond immediately to the genocide of 1994-a murderous spree that was carried out with shocking, sickening efficiency while the rest of the world carried on with “business as usual.” Kolini inherited a region steeped in pain and bitterness, one in which many of the bishops had long since fled the country and the traumatized people were desperately in need of a shepherd. With God’s help, he has met every challenge.
Above all, the success of Kolini’s ministry rests on his unwavering commitment to obey the Scripture-a stance that many within the embattled Anglican church have been longing to see. He speaks with the voice of a prophet calling his people to return to biblical truth and is one whose example of personal sacrifice has earned the respect of the world. In a move that turns the North American stereotype of world missions on its head, a growing number of American congregations are choosing to place themselves under the authority of Kolini’s province and the missionaries he and other archbishops in the developing world have sent through the Anglican Mission in America.
Times of war, oppression, and adverse living conditions can break a man-or they can forge him into the leader for which the world has been waiting. From the villages of Africa to the gleaming sanctuaries of North America, Archbishop Emmanuel Kolini is that leader.
Emmanuel Kolini by Mary Weeks Millard
Authentic Publishing January 2009
Tuesday and Wednesday in Kigali Wednesday, Jul 14 2010
Uncategorized 5:35 pm
On Tuesday, we said goodbye to Peace and everyone at the Umbumwe Hotel, and headed back to Kigali. We were initially in a bit of a rush, because Archbishop Kolini wanted to meet with us and discuss the project, but just as we were about to be late, Jodi called to say that Kolini wanted to meet later. What a relief that was! In America, we say “Slowly but surely!” In Africa, they say “Slowly but slowly!” It certainly fits.
After we got to Kigali, we had lunch at the Hotel Des Mille Collines, which was the actual hotel that inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda. After touring the Des Mille Collines, we walked up and down a few of Kigali’s hills, and found a couple of interesting markets. But, we also saw that dramatic differences existed in Kigali, with the slums pressing up against the tourist district, and many people who looked like they might have lived in Bigogwe recently.
On Wednesday, we toured Kigali and the surrounding areas, looking at different memorials of the genocide. One of these memorials was within the city, because it commemorated all the people within the city to be victims of the genocide, many of whom were buried on the grounds of the memorial compound.
In the afternoon, we visited another site outside of the city, Ntrama Church. In 2007, I had visited the same site, and it shows the still-present marks of the genocide. Almost 5,000 people were slaughtered in and around the church. The bones, clothes, tools, and blood of the victims are still in the church, to show just how terrible the genocide was, and to show the Western World what happened to Rwanda as the rest of humanity turned a blind eye.
Monday – Last day at Bigogwe Monday, Jul 12 2010
Uncategorized 10:38 am
Today started out bad. On our way to the village had an accident right in front of us where a boy on a bike was hitching a tug from a big truck up a hill. He lost control of the bike and fell hard on the asphault. We tried to get out and help and a police officer came up. They called for an ambulance, but the people at the scene were already marking the spot where his body lay with stones. This is their way of marking the spot of death. The ambulance from Bigogwe health clinic rushed to the scene and got the boy. Later in the day we went to see him and he was in very bad condition but the doctor said he thought he would survive. We laid hands on him and prayed for his recovery.
After that beginning, we arrived at Bigogwe for the final day of work. Some of the local men surprised me by having already painted the foundations. This made the cisterns look awesome!
We also mounted the gutters on the backside of the buildings and got the final holes cut in the cisterns.
There are a few minor things that the local men will need to finish up in the next few days, but the project is practically done for all four cisterns now. I’m making a list of the last few items for the project write-up.
Tonight we meet with Bishop Augustin to debrief and say farewell. Tomorrow morning early we head to Kigali for a couple of days before flying home.
Uploading pictures will be hard now because my dad has handed off the computer to Peace so I can only update the blog via iPhone.
Saturday and Sunday in Gisenyi Sunday, Jul 11 2010
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On Saturday, we took a early morning hike up the mountain to see the sunrise. This was a wonderful experience, but was also very tiring, due to the thin mountain air.
It took a very long time getting back from Shyria to Gisenyi, but the views from the trip were gorgeous. We rode back a different route, and this one was along the side of the mountains, and the road was quite rough. We got back to Gisenyi in the early afternoon, and sent the rest of the day resting after spending days on Shyria.
On Sunday, we got up early and went to church with Bishop Augustin in Gisenyi. Church was amazing, and there were choirs from all over, one even crossed from the Democratic Republic 0f the Congo! I played guitar in church, and we recieved gifts for our work.
On Sunday afternoon, Dad and I went to Peace’s house to meet her husband, and see Baby Ken. It was really a blessing to see him, because we have heard so much from Peace.
Message Home Saturday, Jul 10 2010
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We sent this little video home and it was played in church on Sunday.
Friday – Day at Shyira Friday, Jul 9 2010
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Friday was supposed to be somewhat of a rest day, but turned out about as busy as any other. We toured the hospital and prayed with many of the patients. We also spent a lot of time with Caleb Jr. and his sister Lydia. They have goats, ducks, dogs, cats, and cows. I helped Logan show them how to make tie-die tee shirts and at night we had a big pizza party and sing-a-long. Reid and Caleb Jr had an Oreo eating contest that was both funny and disgusting!
It was lights out around 8:30pm because the electricity goes off again. By then we were exhausted anyway.
Thursday – More Work on Gutters & Off to Shyira Mountain Thursday, Jul 8 2010
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We spent the morning assembling and painting gutters and then left Bigogwe for Shyira Mountain to visit Dr Caleb and Louise King.
Mounting the gutters to the building is turning out to be a bit more complicated than expected because we are creating new a whole new way to mount them. Instead of mounting to the fascia boards, we are cutting a piece of metal and welding it to the pillars in front of the school. I’ll post some pictures later to show what I mean.
Around lunch time we took off for Shyira and stopped at the Les Palames restaurant in Musanze for lunch. Cheeseburgers!!! The food here is great, but it gets repetitive and the burgers were a great change.
We met up with Dr. Caleb at Les Palames and he had with him Caleb, Jr. and a student named Logan from UNC. Logan is spending the summer at Shyira and is studying public health (I think) at UNC.
We also met up with a team of 3 engineers from Memphis who were in Rwanda to help Dr. King survey the areas along a nearby river where he hopes to build some hydro-electric plants to generate power for the hospital and surrounding areas. We drove way up into the mountains to see the sites and spent several hours hiking along the rivers. It was well past dark when we got back to the cars and then we drove to the top of Shyira mountain and the guesthouse where we stayed.
Shyira is an amazing place with a hospital, 3 schools, and a very large church. Conditions there are pretty primitive, however. We had electricity for only two hours per day and no hot water. Still, we had a great time and made many new friends.
Wednesday – Second Cistern complete! Wednesday, Jul 7 2010
Uncategorized 5:15 pm
We made very good progress today and finished the installation of the second cistern. This completes the scope of the original project that was approved for my Eagle Scout Service Project. I later expanded the project to include two more cisterns and we are very near completing those as well. We got the lids on today and will start work on the down spouts tomorrow. These two will be much easier because the building that they are installed on is only about 10 feet high as opposed to the first two which were 25 ft high!
Scout knots came in very handy in lashing together two fifteen foot heavy steel ladders to reach up to about 25 feet to install the down spout on the 2nd cistern. Luckily we brought a lot of nylon parachute cord which did the job nicely.
We will work again until lunch tomorrow and then take two days off to visit Drs Caleb and Louis King at Shyria Hospital before returning to work on the project next week. You can read about them at http://thekingsatshyira.wordpress.com/
More pictures are uploaded to flickr and you can see the link below.
Tuesday – one cistern complete Tuesday, Jul 6 2010
Uncategorized 4:46 pm
Continued constructing gutters and painting. Took down old rusted out gutter brackets and got building reading for the new ones.
Most importantly, we finished installing the cistern on the community building! It was especially difficult because the building was about 18 feet up and we had limited ladders. Jon climbed on top of the building and was able to reach underneath and get the downspout pvc pipe on the gutter downspout.
Another major problem was cutting the hole in the cistern for the downspout pipe to enter. These things are extremely hard to cut! Just cutting a 4.5″ hole took way over an hour, but we think we have figured out the best method so the rest should not take as long.
Monday – work starts Monday, Jul 5 2010
Uncategorized 4:25 pm
Today was actually a public holiday in Rwanda because their Liberation day was in on July 4, just like our Independence Day, but the 4th was a Sunday so they get Monday off just like in the USA.
So, all of the kids were not in classes and therefore we had tons of help, maybe more than we needed!
One of the main parts of the project was getting the gutters painted. We had a welder help us weld the joints together and then we painted them. It will probably take a few days to get all of the gutters ready to hang on the school building.
Here is a picture of the homemade welding machine that the guy used! We were amazed that it would weld but it did the job.
We also mounted all four cisterns on the concrete foundations. Mounting them was difficult because they are very large and hard to maneuver. To complicate things, we had a bunch of little kids that wanted to help roll them so we had to be careful not to roll over them!
A lot of progress for the first day! We also had a blast meeting many of the kids in Bigogwe schools and got to know several of them pretty well. I struck up a friendship with a kid named Joseph who worked really hard at painting the gutters and also helping to mount the tanks. Also, Florence is the leader of the Boy’s Brigade and he worked pretty hard as well. We gave all the kids that worked hard new baseball caps!
Sunday in Bigogwe Sunday, Jul 4 2010
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Very busy day in Bigogwe! Worshipped at the church and then had lunch with the staff.
The church enlisted the Bigogwe Boy’s Brigaide in the church processional, which is Rwanda’s version of Scouts. Was really nice to get to know them and they will be helping with the project. Here is a picture with them! They are teaching me a high stepping march!
Visited the genocide site in Bigogwe, which is just a few km from the school.
Work on the project starts tomorrow. More later.
Good day Saturday Saturday, Jul 3 2010
Uncategorized 8:54 am
Spent the morning on Bigogwe and inspected the supplies for the water project. Tanks are massive, gutters ready to go on. Concrete foundations are all set. One will go on the church, two on the primary school, and one on the community building at the church.
The dinning hall building is almost complete. They are using it now for dining. Kitchen will be ready when classes resume in August. Someone from the US recently visited and saw that they needed chairs for the hall and gave them $1000 to buy 100. The building is very comparable to the dining hall at Sonrise. Awesome design with storage and a small office.
In the trip in 2008, there were dozens of house foundations laid out. Many of them now have mud brick houses on them now. We will walk deeper into the camp during the week and see if this is true everywhere or just around the school.
Will be going to church there tomorrow so will see lots more locals. We can’t wait!
Will upload more pictures soon so check flickr.
Aaron and Ken
Team arrives in Rwanda Friday, Jul 2 2010
Uncategorized 9:38 am
I got a call from Ken this morning and they have arrived safely in Rwanda. They spent the first night in Kigali and then drove approximately 4 hours to the northern part of Rwanda where they will be staying. Four of their bags did not arrive but they expect them to arrive on Saturday. They are doing great and are excited about the project! Ken said the only problem is keeping the four boys fed! (Especially Reid)! They send their love from Rwanda to all of their families and friends in the States. I will post more information as I receive it, so stay tuned . . .