Update on Les Vulnerables
Back in 2007, I took a side trip in Kigali to interview vulnerable students at the Friends Church secondary school. My report of that trip is here.
After that report the fabulous Friends in Portland Oregon and Northwest Yearly meeting raise $10,000 and sent 40 students to school for a full academic year. Four of the six students in my original report finished high school because of this generosity.
When I arrived in Kigali this year I contacted my friend, a former GLST student and he informed me that some of the students had heard that I was coming through and had asked him to bring me for a visit. We arranged a time.
I was met at the Campus by Twagirayesu Venuste. If you had asked me which of the six I had met before was in the worst shape and most likely to fall, it would have been Venuste. He was a very traumatized young man with almost no outside support. He had not been able to make a smile for the picture (see link). That's what I would have said, and like so often I would have been so wrong.
Here was Venuste, bounding across the campus, looking smart in slacks and stylish shirt and white loafers. Here is Venuste grinning from ear to ear at the sight of me. Introducing himself to me, as if his image had not been seared into my unconscious and prayer life for these last three years. Here was Venuste reporting that he was working as a waiter and attending university nights. He is making good progress in his second year. (Only a very small, single digit, percentage of students get scores high enough to be admitted to University in Kigali).
Venuste had organized a party, paid for the drinks and food and bought a present for me - socially required. Five new vulnerable students were there to greet me - a group is also socially required. And Venuste had prepared a speech in English - Africans are like Hobbits about speeches at important occasions. When I said I would videotape it and bring it to America he got very serious, but agreed.
Here is the speech of Venuste.
You may have a little trouble catching his English - it is really quite good. He thanks those who supported their students. He calls them "Our parents" and sponsors. In good African style he asks for the moon in terms of additional help.
But hang to the end, because he will treat you to the most brilliant natural smile you have ever seen.
Some readers of this blog contributed to this young man's future, with no expectation of knowing the outcome.