Heather spent some of Monday night / Tuesday morning up and down with an upset tummy. By the morning, she decided (wisely) it would be best to stay at the centre rather than risk travelling to the two parishes.
So, now there were two! Grace and Andy were picked up by our driver Christian and Archdeacon Fidel and we went off to Rutunga parish, cared for by Pastor Damascene, his wife Claudine and the catechists. There is a school and a pastors’ house, but no church building as yet. Thankfully a dividing wall has been removed to make two classrooms into one larger room which is where the church meets. In another classroom, the children had been joined by their parents as it was the last day before a two-week holiday. The children, aged between 4-6 years, showed off their singing skills and also counted in English. The parents were all very pleased and three children received prizes for outstanding work.
We then had time with the church leaders who introduced themselves and their various responsibilities. Andy wanted to share from Colossians 1:10, but before he did, the church leaders stood and gave an impromptu, but beautiful rendition of the verse as a song! We’ve posted it on Instagram.
Our journey to Gasura parish, took us up a hill and past the city refuse tip. The ‘road’ is very dry and dusty and with lorries going up and down every day, the amount of dust kicked up is almost unbelievable. Everything and everyone is covered with a film of brown dust. As lorries pass, a huge cloud of dust follows them and if you are travelling in the opposite direction, your have to stop as visibility is zero (see Instagram video). The leaves of the banana trees have changed colour and are no longer green but brown. For those living alongside this track, life expectancy must be seriously curtailed by respiratory issues.
Last time we visited Gasura parish, the church building was falling down (literally) and the land around was a bit of a wasteland. Only the pastor’s house had been rebuilt in hope of what was to come.
As we drove along the road, we were met by an amazing transformation. Four new classrooms; two water tanks; three further classrooms being built and a brand new church building that will seat several hundred people. The site is unrecognisable. As you might guess, there is a very positive feel within the leadership team and Pastor Alfred and his wife Claudette have built a strong team over the past five years since we first visited the parish.
After some more food we travelled back past the refuse site and down through clouds of dust to the relative clean main road back to our rooms.
Tomorrow we have to get packed up, then off to PHARP to collect some baskets and bags for Ubushuti before we travel to the airport for our flight back to Birmingham. So a final update will be posted once we are back at the DT office.
Thanks for reading and praying - and goodnight!