The following report is from Susanna Grannis – St. Michael’s, Brattleboro:
At the suggestion of the Outreach Team at St. Michael’s, Brattleboro, our children Skyped with children in Rwanda! It was March 1 and cold here in Vermont, but warm in Kigali.
CHABHA, Children Affected by HIV/AIDS, an organization founded in Vermont and supported by several churches in the diocese, partners with several grassroots groups in Rwanda and Burundi that help children whose parents have died from the disease or whose parents are ill. CHABHA provides health cards, school costs, after-school programming, fun-filled gatherings, home visits, and skills training. St. Michael’s furnishes CHABHA with office space and, for some years, has contributed financial support.
David Loewenguth, CHABHA Director, was finishing his three-month work with staff in Rwanda on March 1. In the afternoon, some 40 children of one CHABHA group came to the classroom rented for weekly gatherings. David and Mary Lindquist, our Rector, got the connection working. Children asked questions of one another. The first, from Rwanda, was, “Do you believe in God?” Then there were questions about animals, subjects in school, and the like. Each group sang a song to the other. The St. Michaels children sang, “This little light of mine.”
When they saw the huge icicles hanging from the eave of our classroom, the Rwandan children said, “Sorry, sorry.” We had to explain that winter could be fun, too.
After the skyping the St. Michael’s children saw slides that included photos of parishioners who have gone to Rwanda to help out. Later, our children spoke of ways to help the children they had just met more than we already do. They want to continue the Coin Rolls. Nathaniel Johnson said about the call that it was, “cool” to talk with kids so far away. He was amazed that it was so hot there, as the Rwandan children were about our icicles. Nathaniel’s older brother, Jonah said he liked it that the children are like us because they “believe in God. They also play soccer.” He noted the differences, too. “We have what we want. They don’t. So we want to help. They don’t have computers, and they need to buy food, have houses, and have fresh water.”
The following are photographs from home visits with the same partner St. Michael’s Skyped with:
CHABHA Director David Loewenguth shares a hug with Anna Marie, the leader of the organization. David adds, “Anna Marie is a wonderful caring individual who provides support and encouragement for the beneficiaries and their households”