How do good works get started? By two people saying
“let’s do something”.
In 2005 and 2006 Brian Anderson, an experienced leader
of Habitat for Humanity builds around the world .. in addition
to week ends spent working with Habitat for Humanity wherever
he was, became an integral part of the Rwandan community in New
Hampshire where he was living. The Rwandans were refugees from
the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, and they wondered what it would
take to get a group to Butare, the capitol of one of the provinces
of Rwanda, to help rehabilitate the primary school destroyed in
Beata Umugwangwali and Immaculee Niwemugeni, sisters, followed
a sister and brother in law to Dover, New Hampshire after the
genocide. Beata is a nurse specializing in gastroenterology and
Immaculee is a French teacher at Portsmouth High School, and the
two sisters moved into a house built by Habitat. Brian relocated
to Miami for his profession, but he visited New Hampshire often,
and the dream of restoring the primary school in Butare was never
away from BrianÂ’s mind. He took the plunge and traveled to Rwanda
over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2006 and made the commitment to
organize a group who would help build the dream.
Brian reached out to all of his former Habitat for Humanity
participants and found 31 people who would pay their own travel
expenses and contribute $1,000 towards the rebuilding of the school.
Volunteers came from all over the world .. from as far west as Hawaii,
from as far south as Miami, from as far north as Pittsburgh and
even a couple from England. Everyone met at Heathrow Airport on
July 21 for the Kenya Airways flite to Nairobi, connecting to an
Air Kenya flite to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Volunteers came
from all walks of life veterinarians, CEOs of companies, postal
workers, retired executives, marketing executives, internet experts
to help restore education to about 300 primary students,
most of whom are orphans.
Accommodations at the Hotel Mont Huye in Butare were quite
adequate, and the meals nourishing. Rwanda is a lesson in doing
things as economically as possible. The Hotel Mont Huye has solar
heated water, and the tank is sufficient for all of the rooms to
have hot showers if the showers are taken the proper way. The
hotel has power and indoor plumbing, but blow driers test the
The Ecole Primaire de Butare didn’t have running water until
it was brought in for the 2007 project. The cesspool for the
latrine was overflowing, and a new latrine was build. All but
one of the classroom buildings had been abandoned, and the children
were holding in class where the bullet holes from the 1994 genocide
were still very visible.
One 6-classroom building was completely restored, with walls
and floors refinished and repainted, windows and doors replaced,
the roof replaced, and the children gratefully moved into the new
classrooms just 4 days after the volunteers left.
But that’s just one building .. there is another 6-classrioom
building that needs the same repairs : new roof, new doors,
new windows, new finish and paint on walls and floors; so
another group is volunteers is heading to Butare on July 18,
returning August 2.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the effort to
“Educate the Children”, call Beata Umugwuangwali (603) 988-2411 or
Friends of Butare, Inc. is now a
not-for-profit organization. Please click the “donate now”
button to use your credit card to help one child at a time.
Let’s help one corner of the world expand their horizon
beyond tribal affiliations through education.