We own our own land!
Posted on October 25, 2011 by Sean
The Rwandan Orphans Project has never had much to call our own. In the early days the Center was nothing more than a half-built, abandoned warehouse in Kigali’s dingy industrial district where hundreds of street kids came in search of food and a place to sleep. Fast forward to the present and the ROP Center occupies what was once a boarding school that sits on a large piece of land in a peaceful area called Nyarugunga. As wonderful as our current home is, it doesn’t belong to us. We only use it thanks to the generosity of a wealthy Rwandan couple who own the property and allow us to use it rent free.
The dream of all of us at the ROP has always been to have our own purpose built center on our own land. For years that was nothing more than a pipe dream, as our greatest priority was, and remains (we are facing tough times now more than ever) raising enough money to continue providing the care, education and other needs of our nearly 100 boys. To be frank, we put the dream of even owning our own land in the back of our minds; hopeful but not very optimistic about it happening anytime soon.
That all changed after a visit from a group of Australians back in July. Jenny and I were on holiday in Bujumbura, Burundi, but Jenny cut her vacation short, taking a six hour bus ride alone back to Kigali in order to meet this group. Jenny had been in touch with one of the group before their visit, who was keen to see the center, and particularly our quilting project. The day they came Jen gave them a tour and explained our project and what our goals were. They had kindly bought some quilt batting with them from Australia to help our project, along with some gifts for the boys. They all seemed very enthusiastic about our work and they spent a couple of hours with our boys. One of them even bought one of our quilts.
Not too long after their visit one of the members of the group, Tony, contacted Jenny and informed her that he and his wife Carol wanted to help the ROP to buy our own land. We were pleasantly shocked at the offer and told him we already had a plot in mind. In fact just a few weeks earlier we had been told about some land that was for sale in our own neighborhood. This land was being sold by a local family at a very low price considering its size and location. Tony asked us about the price and within days he had made a donation to cover the full cost of it. All of us at the ROP were thrilled. For the first time in our existence we would OWN something. As an organization we have been making great strides for some time now, but having our own land would be a giant step forward for the ROP.
Read complete story at ROP Stories.