Karen Gebhart, Jo Ellen Peterson, Tina Reames and Susan Goss, affectionately known on our trip as “The Spouses” had opportunities to volunteer elsewhere in Rwanda while their husbands were working with Kigali hospitals. It sounds like they really touched some lives while they were there. We asked Karen Gebhart to share some of her photos and experiences, and she was happy to oblige. Read for yourself, below. Thanks, Karen!
On the first day, we were invited to visit a program called “Duhugurane” which means, “Let us learn from each other.” It is led by Jamie Boiles, Oklahoma native, living in Rwanda. The program aims to help young women 18-25 years old discover and utilize the strengths and abilities they have within themselves in their personal and professional lives to obtain sustainable livelihoods. The young ladies are very impressive and have great aspirations. The spouses enjoyed their time visiting with the young ladies, encouraging them and sharing goody bags filled with personal hygiene products.
On the second day, the spouses had the privilege to meet the incoming Oklahoma Christian Presidential Scholars from Rwanda along with some current OC Rwandan students. We enjoyed sharing about life in Oklahoma, discussing concerns of traveling outside of Rwanda along with answering questions about being a college student in America. The students were given “Thunder” basketball t-shirts, Sonic gift cards along with Mercy lip balm and hand sanitizer. Afterwards, the spouses treated the students to pizza at a local restaurant while getting to visit with them one on one.
On the third day after meeting with President Kagame, the spouses were invited to visit a farm outside of Kigali. A couple named Faith and Roger Shaw own the farm. They provide for several orphans by meeting their needs for food, shelter and education. Gifts of diapers, formula, clothes, candy and toys for all ages were given to the family provided by the spouses and Mercy employees.