Saturday, June 18, 2011
Theoneste and his beautiful wife run this catch-up school for street kids. When Theoneste first began following the call of God and his heart in educating a generation wandering the lonely and dangerous street during the school day, there was no building- just a dream and a handful of kids who had lost everything.
At our visit, the school boasts three classrooms and some administrative space. A few years ago funding materialized to build the present facility. As a man of vision and faith, Theoneste knew his school needed three classrooms, so he laid a fitting foundation, knowing he would run out of money before there was a roof. As a testament to his faith, there is an obvious seam two-thirds of the way up the wall, where completion of the school had waited for the rest of the necessary finances, which eventually came.
We had the privilege of visiting each of the classrooms, where bright-eyed students stood to greet us in crisp English. On the chalkboards there was evidence of geometry, physics, and grammar. In one of the rooms, a member of our team shared from his heart about his brave son, who had cheated death and overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in his pursuit of life, dignity and education. The students leaned into the story and I saw a few of them crying.
These kids, many born after the genocide, have nonetheless been sucked under by its destructive wake. The obstacles before them are real - casting long, hungry shadows, eager to swallow them at every turn. They could relate to the pain of the young man’s life story. They were also ready to hear its corresponding message of hope and dignity. When the speaker shared, through tears, that these students reminded him of his son, there was a ripple of moist-eyed smiles and a visible straightening of collective shoulders.
Thank you, Lord, for Theoneste and his wife and the three brick rooms of educational promise provided for the students who find refuge there. And thank you for our friend, and his son, and the ways that you are able to thread our joys and sorrows with those of even our youngest brothers and sisters around the globe.