sponsor a child

The land of a thousand smiles

The visit I will never forget.


Smiling children in Rwanda

We left the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum feeling shell shocked. It’s our first day in Rwanda and we’re trying to get our heads around the events of the 1994 genocide which led to the death of more than 800,000 people.

There are pictures in the museum I wish I could forget, stories that I’d like to unread. Despite this, these won’t be my lasting memories of Rwanda.

There’s an image that overpowers these.

The image is of a lady called Angelique. She’s one of Compassion’s Child Survival mums whose home we had the privilege of visiting.

 

Family in Rwanda

 

Having scrambled up a steep, dusty path, we reach Angelique’s home where we're invited to sit on the only furniture the family has. Two narrow benches that didn’t feel like they should support the weight of three people. Despite being eight months pregnant, Angelique choose a spot on the floor in the middle of us, refusing our offers to take one of the seats: these were for her guests.

 

Landscape in Rwanda

 

As she sat, surrounded by red mud walls, the sunlight casts through the open doorway and illuminated her face. Spots of light seem to dance around her, created by the small holes in the corrugated iron roof. It’s here that she shares her story with us.

Her life has not been easy. Her last born, Ange, arrived prematurely when she was only six months pregnant. For months after, Ange’s life hung in the balance. Born so early the chances of her surviving were slim. While her daughter stayed in hospital, the Child Survival project supported Angelique, teaching her income generating skills which helped her provide for the other children in her family. She also received spiritual and emotional support from the staff and mothers at the project who prayed that Ange would survive.

At this point, Angelique looks over at Ange and smiles. There were no more words, her smile said it all. It said, look at my healthy girl, look how she’s grown, how she’s blossomed. Ange is a lively little girl who loves to sing, enjoys skipping and is better behind a camera than me.

Now five years old she’s graduated into the Child Sponsorship Programme and shows none of the side effects of premature birth.

While Ange is well and healthy, Angelique’s worries are not over. She is more nervous with her current pregnancy after giving birth so early before. But the tough times have strengthened her faith and she has learnt to put her trust in her Heavenly Father. She also has the support of Compassion working with her local church that gives her security and a reason to smile.

It’s the picture of Angelique’s smile that stayed with me. This courageous, beautiful woman has a deep joy that radiates from within. While the family have very little materially, and face numerous challenges, there was a wonderful sense of peace within their home. Angelique’s smile is not unique; as we travelled around we found that Rwanda really is the land of a thousand hills and a thousand smiles.



WORDS : Emily Laramy

PHOTOS : Emily Laramy


 

Article Comments

Rwandan smiles!

Thank you Emily. I have recently returned from a Muskathlon in Rwanda, where I was able to meet my sponsored child. I can relate to all you have expressed so well. Land of a thousand smiles indeed... It is such a privilege to see first hand what an impact our support from thousands of miles away does have. What a great blessing to meet the beautiful Rwandan people and be the recipient of those smiles. It was a humbling experience for me and I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to go there. I hope to return!
7 July 2017 |  Author : Elizabeth Jane Dunlop
Article Comments

ARTICLE COMMENTS

Rwandan smiles!

Thank you Emily. I have recently returned from a Muskathlon in Rwanda, where I was able to meet my sponsored child. I can relate to all you have expressed so well. Land of a thousand smiles indeed... It is such a privilege to see first hand what an impact our support from thousands of miles away does have. What a great blessing to meet the beautiful Rwandan people and be the recipient of those smiles. It was a humbling experience for me and I am so thankful to God for the opportunity to go there. I hope to return!
7 July 2017 |  Author : Elizabeth Jane Dunlop
Leave a comment

Leave A Comment

Leave A Comment

MORE STORIES FOR YOU

14Nov

The Tear-jerking Meeting 11 Years in The Making

“She appeared out of nowhere, I didn’t see her coming! But she just threw herself at me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.”


13Nov

When Charitable Giving Makes a Demonstrable, Proven Difference

Committing to a charity is an important decision. With all of the choices available to you, it can seem bewildering.


8Oct

Free Baby Knitting Patterns: An Autumnal Gift To You

Get ready for winter evenings with these stunning free baby knitting patterns.


10Sep

What to Expect When You’re Expecting in Togo

“I know my baby will not have the same life as me; he or she will face the future with more hope.”


10Sep

Keep Praying for Child Survival

Serving a village 70km away from a medical centre, Jorplakee Child Survival project will bring vital care to vulnerable mothers and babies.


3Sep

#SponsorSelfieDay is September 15: Join the Global Movement!

On Saturday, September 15, post a selfie or video on social media with a photo of the child you sponsor.


21Aug

Inspirational Quotes by Mother Teresa

As we honour Mother Teresa’s birthday, let these inspirational quotes about mothers, children and compassion remind us of God’s call.


25May

They Tried to Kill My Daughter Because She Was Different

Grace was born without legs and with only one fully developed arm. And yet, nothing can stop her.


18May

How God Provided When I Was Left Alone to Battle Depression

One brave mum from Brazil shares her story of overcoming poverty and mental illness.


23Apr

World Malaria Day: How a Mosquito Net Can Save a Child’s Life

For the first time in 10 years, global malaria cases are no longer falling.


12Jan

21 cute baby photos with smiles to brighten your day!

We’ve added more incredibly cute baby faces to bring you January joy.


Nov2017

From abandoned baby to miracle

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”