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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Months Update - AGLI Volunteer in Gisenyi / Goma

Dear All,

I haven't sent out a large email for a few weeks, although I have posted some items to the blogs, and blogs of others that I have giving tech support and other assistance.

Check out:
  • My personal and general blog:  Posts here include translated testimonials from newly trained HROC facilitators living in Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, as well as images of a proposed site for a training center/office building for Zawadi' and Levi's CPGRBC organization of women survivors.
  • The fellowship / consultation blog:   Posts here include the translated-into-Kinyarwanda video of kids at 15th St. Meeting greeting kids at Gisenyi Friends meeting.  I have a backlog of 25 response letters to scan and get translated.  There is also some adult correspondence posted on the blog too!
  • The JeunesPaixGrandsLacs blog:  We've been getting together youth groups (four youth groups so far, from Gisenyi and Goma) to talk about peace, different kinds of peace, what it means to them, and how they themselves can help build peace.  This group is being built to last, so that the individuals can publish with mail2blogger themselves, and so they can operate on their own funds until they impress someone enough to get funding for bigger works.  I think this will work out, and Peace Corps volunteer Porsche Washington has also shown interest in helping out!
  • Dave Bucura's blog and Levi's (first) blog:  Dave Bucura is pastor of a church in Kigali Rwanda, as well as other responsibilities with FWCC, AGLI, Mediation, etc.  Levi is pastor of a Quaker church in Goma, and also works with Zawadi's CPGRBC.  They're just getting started, but this will not be difficult for them once it kicks in that people want to read their posts.  Both of them are practical and effective professionals that use email often.  And, the mail2blogger system means that posting to the blog is the exact same process as sending an email.
In other big news, two weeks ago, I heard that I was accepted to the economics PhD program at Boston University!  The 5-year program is ranked #11 in for development economics among the PhD programs in US News' rankings.  I will start officially in August 2011, but I will be cramming all summer to get ready.

I am currently sitting on the computer all day to do design work.  Here is a link to the simplified earthquake-resistant masonry house design manual that we're working on translating into Kinyarwanda and French.  I also worked up a truss design spreadsheet, and design drawings and quantities tabulations are forthcoming.

Johnny Johnson, I haven't forgotten about you!  I'm going to personally go poke my nose around the Lake Kivu shore looking for information about your friends Yvette and Kazuko's orphanage next time I cross the border! 

Hope everything is going well with you, thanks for your interest!

-Steven Bhardwaj
Rwanda phone: 0784114209
USA phone (transfers to Rwanda): (+1) 917-725-5122 
USA fax: (+1) 347-416-6273

March 1 Letters from 15th St Kids to Gisenyi Kids

Late posting, but I have a few more late-postings to do here.  I don't have the kinyarwanda versions, but all this was translated verbally a couple times, as well as written once.  We didn't print the color versions, but I showed the kids the color versions on my laptop on March 19.  (Unfortunately we're running about a 2-week lag to turn-around the translation and cross paths at the right time to show off the letters.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Hello Gisenyi" Video from 15th St. Meeting (Kinyarwanda Subs)

Here is a re-uploaded version of 15th Street Meeting's greetings video to the kids at Gisenyi Friends Church, that we viewed on Saturday March 26, 2011.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

video and letter responses

Dear Lisa,

Myself, Jeanne-D'Arc DUSABIMANA, and Aime MUDATEBA KAMANZI finished captions and translation of the video today, and we showed it to the younger group of kids.  They enjoyed it very much!  We also received about 20 letters with drawings from the kids, and I took another round of pictures.  I am wondering if I should scan/email again, or if I should set them up for postal mail which could take many weeks to deliver.

Let me know your thoughts.

-Steven Bhardwaj
Rwanda phone: 0784114209
USA phone (transfers to Rwanda): (+1) 917-725-5122 
USA fax: (+1) 347-416-6273

Friday, March 25, 2011

Clarification of the "Criche" and the plastic milk containers

Dear Kenwood and Pat,

Your pen pals Etienne and Damange mentioned plastic milk containers and the lack of a "criche".  Pastor Etienne explained that the criche is some kind of metal container used to store or transport milk, that has recently become required from Rwandan milk distribution, kind of like a sanitation code requirement, I guess.  So, Etienne may be dodging the code requirement by using plastic containers, that is my second-hand understanding.  Hope that helps.

-Steven Bhardwaj

Etienne Harerimana responds to Kenwood Dennard

Dear Loved Friend,

I wish you the peace of Jesus, and blessings from God.

When I received your news from Steven, I was happy that I received a good friend.

Now, my business is to sell milk.  But, it is very hard to keep the milk in plastic containers.  

But, I love to sing.  I saw that you are a teacher, and I wish that you can be a singer to God also.  I greet you warmly, and am happy that God gave you to me as a friend, and I wish you peace.

I received your email, and in a few days I will send you my email address.

I wish that you might come to our country that I might see you.

May God bless you.
Thank you very much

Kenwood Dennard responds to Etienne Harerimana

(February 23, 2011)


Whassaaap!  :-)

I am happy to contact you.

I visited the quaker church in ny with my mother and my sister on feb 13th and was given your blog address.
It looks wonderful and I wish you much love and success...

I am a music professor at Berklee College of music in Boston.
I am a Buddhist.

I would like to be a pen pal of etienne harerimana.

Can you give him my email please if he is interested?

Peace :-)

and my website is

Thank you :-)

Damange Chantal Responds again to Pat Donahue

Dear good friend who is in America,

Peace be with you, in Jesus.

After I received your letter, I was very happy.  Now I am well, but I have a problem in my stomach, because of my operation.  (Complications of childbirth.)  Here in Gisenyi, it takes time to recover and be well.  Sister in Christ, greet your husband and child Daniel.  Tell them that I love you so much, and I would like to see you face to face.
  I know God gave you a good job.  For us, we have the problem of a distribution business, because we have no Criche.  The government allows you to sell milk if you have a good Criche.  My husband does not have the money to buy a good criche, and I am not well so that I can help my husband.  Please pray for me so that I can get the Criche.

My husband and my children greet you.  Be with peace and blessing from God.

-Damange Chantal

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Letter from Gisenyi - Jeanette Mushimiyimana

February 2, 2011

Hello, my friend,

I am very happy to have the opportunity to receive your letter with your correspondence.

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.  How is the news with you?  My news is good.

Even though I have not met you, I am happy to find that there are people thinking of us and I pray that I might begin a frequent and continuing correspondence with you.  

May God bless you in all things.  Greetings to you and all your family.

Jeanette Mushimiyimana


Note the picture of Jeanette's family: from L to R:
Vanessa Uwera (Jeanette's daughter)
Francine Munezero (Jeanette's younger sister)