Author’s Note: A year ago today, I left for Rwanda. I originally posted my adventures elsewhere in an effort to revise an older blog. #fail. I realized these “reviewed” trips kind of qualified for Drew’s Reviews despite the lack of music. My wife and I continually reminisce about this trip, and in the words of Neil Peart – “I wish that I could live it all again.
I never win anything.
A lot of people always say that when it comes to trying to win something big, don’t they? And for the most part it’s true. I’ve won things but nothing ever this big.
A trip to Rwanda.
It happened in October. At a fund-raising dinner for Africa New Life. Well, actually it probably started about five years ago when my wife and I sponsored a child in Rwanda through Africa New Life and began supporting this non-profit that helps the people of Rwanda. In the last few years, taking a trip to Rwanda was broached but the idea of flying that far away from home and the near 20 hours of air travel was enough to say “thanks, but no thanks.”
But if I’m honest this little bug inside me kind of, sort of said, you’re going. Eventually.
No I’m not!
Well, at the fund-raising dinner, my wife and I bought a raffle ticket – just one of 500 available – to win the grand prize of a trip for two to Rwanda which included: airfare, overnight accommodations, meeting your adopted children (for those who had done so) – we have two now – seeing Rwanda of course, experiencing life in Rwanda as a native and witnessing everything Africa New Life has been doing for the people. Oh, an African safari too.
You can probably guess the outcome.
We won! We actually bought two raffle tickets and the winning ticket was the first one we bought. So, we only needed the one. When our name was called, my wife was in utter disbelief, I was more, uh oh, what have I gotten myself into. The raffle winner from the previous year’s dinner ran up to us, hugged us and said “God wants you to go.” Apparently this guy had bought A LOT of tickets to better his odds to go again.
Well, what am I going to do on an airplane for 10 hours? Then another eight!?
And who goes to Rwanda?
To be clear, I always liked the idea of long distance travel, especially overseas, more than the travel itself. I was marginally content to never visiting Europe though fully understanding I’d likely regret it when it was too late. But flying to Rwanda? Africa! Guess what? The apprehension I fully expected never really materialized. It was more like experiencing a peace beyond all understanding as I never endured the angst and anxiety that sometimes comes with doing something not only way out of your comfort zone, but something you just don’t want to do.
As it slowly panned out – I wanted to go.
In many respects, this trip was TOO BIG for me to fully comprehend. Was I really going? In some respects the lead-up to the trip never felt real. It still doesn’t. I kept waiting for the ball to drop. But, as the crescendo in planning began, things fell into place. I got the time off. We got our shots. Passports were already up-to-date and we happened upon a delightful house sitter who was there when we won the trip.
What more could I ask for?
Slowly, the excitement of going began to overcome the apprehension of leaving. Even the thought of sitting on a plane watching movies, writing or simply doing nothing began to take hold. It’s not the sardine can of a Boeing 737!
So, we’re off. Non-stop from Portland, OR to Amsterdam, then a pretty short layover, before heading to Kilgali, Rwanda. We’ll be there for eight days and see a country, continent and people I only ever hear about on the news. And rarely in a good way.
I don’t know what God has in store for us. But I think some big and exciting things are coming our way.
It already has, don’t you think? Because who wins a trip to Rwanda?