After my visit with Mama Gasaro, the woman who lives across the valley from my house, I talked with some of the orphans in Extra Miles Ministry (a ministry to genocide orphans). Extra Miles started a benevolence committee that meets weekly to help vulnerable women. Mama Gasaro is one of many women who often go to ATN (our local non-profit organization) facilities on Saturday mornings for help and counseling. I asked if one of the orphans on the benevolence committee would accompany me to visit Mama Gasaro. It was decided that Gertrude would go with me. Gertrude is a genocide orphan in her mid-twenties. She attends a university here in Kigali. She is one of seven children in her family, however, her parents and all of her siblings were killed during the genocide.
Gertrude and I set off for the 1 hour walk to Mama Gasaro’s house. We had no way to tell her we were coming, she has no telephone, and I was not entirely certain I would remember the way. I did remember and Mama Gasaro was at home when we arrived. She was distressed because her baby was sick.
The baby has a heart problem and is often sick. We talked about her immediate needs to take care of the baby. Then I asked her if she had any ideas about what she could do to change her current situation. She told us that she wanted to study hairdressing. She had already researched and found a salon where she could study for three months. I asked Gertrude if she thought this was a good idea, she said yes. Gertrude told me that if Mama Gasaro knows hairdressing, she can find a job or perhaps even work out of her home. We prayed together, gave Mama Gasaro some money to take the baby to the doctor and made a plan to go together to the salon the next week.
During the week, I saw Mama Gasaro in my neighborhood. She was there to take the baby to a clinic. We talked for a while and I asked her if she would pray for the following two days. I asked her to ask God to give her an idea of how she could also help pay for the fees to study hairdressings. Her immediate reaction to this request was not positive. She said she had no way of helping. After she calmed, I told her just to ask God and see what happens.
Today Gertrude and I walked across the valley and met Mama Gasaro near the hair salon. Together we went and talked to the owner, a woman named Mama Fredy. Mama Fredy assured me that Mama Gasaro will be able to find a job or at least some clients after she finishes studying. I paid the fee and Mama Gasaro will start tomorrow. On our way back toward the valley, Mama Gasaro told us that she had prayed in the past two day. She told us that the idea God gave her is that after she finishes studying and finds a job, she is to help others. Praise God! I wanted to cry right there on the path. That is the kind of heart we are seeking. I have learned not to get excited early but to keep praying. Time will tell if Mama Gasaro will finish studying, find a job and help others. However, today I am encouraged and feel blessed that mine and Mama Gasaro’s paths have crossed.