Beatha and her Boys

£292 of £900 goal

Raised by 16 people in 11 months
This is a photo of me with Beatha and her middle son, Mugisha, from when I last visited back in January 2013, over 5 years ago now. You can read more, and check out further memorable photos from that trip on the blog I set up at the time: https://beathaandherboys.wordpress.com/ 

I keep in touch with Beatha, and her sons Mucyo, Mugisha and Mugabe, at least once a month. We speak briefly on the phone, and I give her the details to pick up the money I've sent. Between myself and my mother, with additional support from friends and family, I have been sending Beatha an average of £150 a month for the last 8 years or so.  At times it has been more, occasionally less, but always something.

27951382_15194044420_r.jpegThis photo is from almost two years ago.

Beatha is like a sister to me. We lived together for two years when I was teaching English in Rwanda with VSO, back in 2001. I've been back to visit twice since. She is a remarkable woman, and bringing up three children alone, with all the challenges that entails. She left her husband when he began to get violent, and both of her parents and seven brothers and sisters were killed in the 1994 genocide. She still has distant cousins, but no immediate family. I am her family. She is my family.

The money I would like to raise will mean I can continue sending her a basic £150 per month for the next six months, while I focus on planning for the family's future. So what are the basics? The two older boys are at school, the fees for which now cost £40 each per term. Uniform and materials are extra. The house they live in costs £50 per month in rent, and any remaining money goes on food, clothes and medical needs. Mugisha and Mucyo are both doing extremely well in school, usually coming out in the top 5 of their class when it comes to end of term exams. 

Mucyo, the eldest, will be starting senior school next January, which will mean boarding. The majority of secondary schools in Rwanda are boarding, as there are far fewer than needed for the size of the population, and less that half of children of secondary age are able to attend. If this campaign raises more that the intended £900, I will put that aside to start saving for Mucyo's secondary education.

Your support will mean the world to me, and to Beatha and her boys. People don't associate Rwanda with hope, but having lived there for a total of three years, I do. And Beatha, and her sons, are a big part of why I continue to feel hopeful. Beatha in particular inspires me with her incredible strength in the face of ridiculous adversity. I know she's not alone in that, but she is my personal example of an indomitable spirit.

I look forward to sharing updates, and my great gratitude to all generous supporters. On behalf of Beatha and....27951382_15194033110_r.jpeg Mucyo, Mugisha and Mugabe -

Urakoze Cyane!

(Thank you very much in Kinyarwanda!
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This is a poem I wrote when I was in Rwanda. I hope you enjoy it:-)

Mass at the lake

People prepare
to go to mass
but me –
I have another way to pray.

The path knows me well,
my feet its friends,
whom I follow in a daze,
eager to arrive
at my own
private place of worship.

As I enter the woods
the wind calls to me
urging me on
with just a hint of
a promise of
still hidden beyond the branches.

Woodland doors open
to a view so divine
that I stop
and take a deep breath
as I enter
my own private
place of worship.

Here nothing stands
between me and the all
and from here till the sky
I feel the everything
surrounding me,
holding me,
protecting me.

Sacred place
with no ceiling,
no walls to set limits
to the number
or manner
of the congregation.

I begin my descent,
greeting on the way
those I pass
who remain unaware
that I too
am on my way to ‘mass’.

I arrive at the lakeside
searching for a pew
near the front
so I won’t miss a thing.

A smooth flat rock presents itself.
You’ll do.
I sit down to survey
life before me.

Ants begin to arrive
en masse
as the birds laugh loudly
in the trees
for this mass is informal,
laughter and joy
are welcome,
and I smile.

The ants have reserved
my front line pew
and move me on
to a seat further back.

And so mass begins,
and as my soul
gives thanks
flies dance and drone
right in front
of my glasses.

As I feel frustration rise,
spirit gently chides me,
reminding me that all
are welcome here.

I thank
I ask
I release my fears,
welcoming clarity deeply.

‘Muzungu we!’
and the mass at its end
I look at the lake
one more time.

With a lightness of step
feet find their way freely
to the path
that knows them so well.

I risk a look back
with a tickle of fear
at leaving
but no.
It’s ok.
My own private
place of worship
is always open,
and I am always welcome,
and mass is always…
just beginning!
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Let's play with some numbers
that's 4 chocolates (!) down
just £88 away
from leaving the brown
if 20 more heroes
donate £5 each
we're ready, set 'Green!'
and can burst into leaf
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Wow! That's one month covered already, and the tree is growing beautifully.

Is there any more beautiful way
to close a day
than to fill circles of
only to wake
to colouring in more
would that all days
were bookended so
if they were then who knows
what, together, we'd grow

Thank you!
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It's growing! Thanks so much to all those who have already poured their generosity onto the PotentialiTREE. Let's grow it some more, and assure this bight young family of a thriving future!
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Read a Previous Update

£292 of £900 goal

Raised by 16 people in 11 months
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Caroline Sherrard
11 months ago
Jo Schroeder
11 months ago
Jo Schroeder
11 months ago
Zoe Ward
11 months ago
Petra Mester
11 months ago
Tamar Groeneveld
11 months ago
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Ann Skinner
11 months ago
Rachel Davies
11 months ago
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