GITSIMBWE RECONCILIATION CENTRE
Having completed Kaburiro Health Centre in the Nyamasheke District – one of the poorest regions in the country – we were asked to support the building of a new Reconciliation Centre in Gitrsimbwe – the village from where Bishop Samuel Kayinamura originates.
An old building already existed and this was demolished and some of the bricks reused in the new building. It was once again a community effort – local labour under the guidance and watchful eye of a skilled builder. This is such a skills-building opportunity for particularly young men – as they now have experience for future builds. The Trust supported the purchase of new bricks and in July 2017 the outer shell was complete apart from the roof – which was the next step prior to work starting on the inside of the building. However, we all understood that to fund a roof of this size could take some time!
September and October particularly proved a very busy and successful time for The Goboka Rwanda Trust. Heather had about 10 talks lined up, we had goods brought back from Rwanda which were eagerly purchased as Christmas presents, the monthly Café Rwanda in Bakewell Town Hall was well attended and individuals and groups most generous with their donations. This included the collection from a Harvest Festival by Kirkoswald and Alton District Methodist Church in Cumbria – some members of whom had previously visited Rwanda and supported the purchase of livestock there – being as they live in a farming community here in the UK.
By early December 2017 our Treasurer informed us that we had enough money to fund the roof at Gitsimbwe – and within a few days of receiving the funds, work started on the roof.
The second picture shows the building and the congregation who gathered to celebrate Christmas Day in their new building. Whilst there is much work still to do on the inside and the need to purchase doors, windows etc. the roof enables the work to continue during the rainy season which starts in January – so we are all really happy to have progressed the work to this stage at this time.
This building will be used as a place of worship, a community centre, a building for health, education and skills training and a place where two schools on the adjoining site can meet for special assemblies etc as neither have a large hall on their sites.
This is a very special community – Gitsimbwe was a place of great sadness and slaughter during the 1994 Genocide as it is on the edge of Lake Kivu and there was nowhere for the local Tutsi community to flee when the killings started. Many lives were lost and reconciliation has taken many years of hard work and forgiveness. So to be able to support the building of this Reconciliation Centre to continue this good work makes us very proud as a Trust.