Just read this on Brooke Fraser's site, which I heard about through Frank.
I recommend you all go and have a look! www.brookefraser.com
In June of this year I travelled to Africa, visiting Rwanda and Tanzania. Spending time with my World Vision sponsored child Anna and her family in their home near Arusha, Tanzania was pretty darn special, but it was the nation of Rwanda that got under my skin and into my heart.
It has been five months since that trip: a long time to have allowed to have passed without writing about it. I think I was waiting to recover. But I still haven't and kinda hope I never do.
I will always recall walking through the village of Kabuga on my second to last day in Rwanda, thinking about the things I had seen and the people I had met and formed relationship with. To be honest, the selfish part of me was afraid, because minute by minute a weighty sense of responsibility was growing and I knew that my time in Rwanda wasn't something I could just cross off a "valuable life experiences" checklist. If I thought of this trip that way, I would simply be a voyeur and a tragedy tourist, as guilty as those who stood by in 1994 as a million Rwandans were mercilessly wiped out by their neighbours, teachers, community leaders in 100 days.
I know this sounds pretty heavy... and it is. But as I've since written in song form? ?now that I have seen, I am responsible? (Albertine). Here I had been handed a task for my life and it scared/scares the crap out of me.
So what can I, a little 21 year old girl from Lower Hutt, do? I've sold some albums and I've had some songs on the radio in a nation half the size (population wise) of Rwanda? I sure as heck don't have global influence or millions of dollars. But I don't need those things to help another person. And neither do you. We just need to care and make that care tangible through action.
Next year I have the privilege of being involved in an initiative called Hope Rwanda: 100 Days of Hope. Beginning on April 7, 2006 and concluding on July 15 the global community, in conjunction with the Rwandan government and church leaders across all denominations, have been invited to get involved in bringing practical hope and healing to the people of this nation.
UNICEF will be immunising children, World Vision and Compassion will be feeding the hungry and beginning long-term assistance for families and communities through child sponsorship. Professionals in the building trade and education/medicine will be offering their services. AIDS education will be offered to women and there will be prison visits to the 800,000 incarcerated. Homes are being built for widows and child-headed families, and a team from the Sydney Adventist Hospital will be performing open heart surgeries in the King Faisal Hospital of Kigali. Many from around the world have expressed their interest in contributing to 100 Days of Hope? Habitat for Humanity and the International Justice Mission among them, in addition to renowned photographers and musical artists.
Within the 100 days there will be two youth focus weeks, wherein permission has been granted by the Government to host a musical festival and other activities in universities. This is where I will personally be involved. If you are interested in getting involved, find more info at www.hoperwanda.org.
Additionally, next year World Vision New Zealand will be the support office financially assisting child-headed households like the ones I visited in Kabuga and taking on the sponsorship of 800 children in the Kanombe region. I hope to help in raising awareness of this opportunity for everyday Kiwis and Aussies to put compassion into action and practically and radically impact a life through child sponsorship. I have seen it first hand. The difference we can make is completely, overwhelmingly real. To sponsor a child or get more information about the work of World Vision, check out their websites, which I've listed for you below.
Thanks for caring.
WV New Zealand www.worldvision.org.nz WV Australia www.worldvision.com.au WV United States www.worldvision.org WV United Kingdom www.worldvision.org.uk "