Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New Kindred Spirits

I cannot describe the special joy of meeting and getting to know Rwandans, beautiful and fascinating people whose history will break the hardest of hearts. But neither can I adequately describe the unexpected joy of drawing near to the "expats" here. To be sure, "your average Joe" is not likely to be here (...only me). These "expats" (expatriated folks) are very passionate and unique people, each in their own way. I am making new BFFs (a term used by the indomitable expat Maggie Ritchie, which she explains stands for "best friends forever"). Chief among them are:

Matt Smith: 27(?) years old, from Texas, responded to an internet plea to help Cards from Africa, and came to Rwanda to provide them business guidance. Check them out at Matt lived without running water for months! Just as he was preparing to return to Texas because "I ran out of money", Dale Dawson met Matt pursuant to divine appointment, and persuaded him to come on board the fast moving Opportunity International/Bridge2Rwanda train. Matt is a great guy AND a great resource. He is unfazed by the many unanticipated challenges that arise each day, and he always has a solution or knows just the right person to resolve any problem. He is very generous and patient in teaching me the ropes.

Jessica & Todd Brogdon: Both Arkansans, who met at Baylor University. They agreed to move to Kigali with their children, Rebecca (7) and Ben (4), so that Todd could serve as the President of Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda,... which was not a professional promotion, but rather a decision to serve sacrificially. They were instrumental in founding Kigali International Community School (KICS), and their home (in which I am writing this very post) is always full of expats who feed off of their gracious "Southern hospitality" (and ever present food and beverages). It is always "a happy place". Last night we celebrated Jessica's 35th B-day, and the von Trapps put on a wonderful performance, including a very unique "Happy Birthday" song. After 2 years of service, the Brogdons will return to Little Rock in June. Just can't be away from the grandparents any longer.