Friday, March 28, 2008

First Full Day

This was my first full day as a resident of Rwanda,... and it was FULL. I won't attempt to recount the entire day, but we drove from Kigali to Musanze (Ruhengeri) and spent the day with Bishop John at Sunrise School, the local hospital, and elsewhere.

What I must briefly detail is the enchanted dinner we enjoyed: We were joined by Sophie and Melonie Von Trap (the great granddaughters of Captain Von Trap and Maria, about whom The Sound of Music was written). I have been carrying on e-mail correspondence with Sophie about them working at Sonrise School, and ironically they beat me here and are living in what they refer to as my house. (They will be joined by two more of their singing siblings tomorrow.)

The Von Traps live in Montana. All are home schooled. All are musically gifted beyond description, although very humble and sweet. They have been touring the world for the past 7 years singing with symphonies. Sophie deferred her first year at Berkley to come to Rwanda. Well, after desert (bananas and pineapple), they happily complied with our request for song. In a small room they sang acapella: Amazing Grace, an Irish ballad, How Great Thou Art, and of course, Edelweiss. I have never before heard such a sound, and I will never forget it. I now know what the audio part of Heaven will be like (but must still wait for the rest of the mystery to be revealed). Seriously, it brought tears. We were all blessed.

I was foolish enough to propose that they compose the school song for Sonrise School, and they advised me that they were already working on it and proceeded to sing the chorus.

I am most enchanted by the beauty of the Rwandan people, but I must also acknowledge that the expats here (though a very small group) are among the most fascinating, passionate, full-of-life people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.