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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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A Note About Future Donations

September was a glorious month, but before we dive in to some great stories, I should let you know of some changes.

All donation checks should now be made out to "Hope Made Real". Please make a note of it.  You were previously making them out to Spiritworks, but we now have our own completely separate non-profit to call our own.

You can now donate online. It is now possible to donate to Hope Made Real online using any credit or debit card.  It's safe and secure, and the funds are available to us faster than traditional paper checks.  The best part is that Google is covering all of the fees usually associated with credit cards, so Hope Made Real receives 100% of your donation.  Just go to HopeMadeReal.org/donate to learn how.

Now read on for this month's adventures, goals and the good work we are all doing.

We Sent 250 Children to School in 2008Can We Send 300 Children in 2009?

(Aline and Natete enjoying biscuits and tea outside the office in the morning.)

It only costs $15 to send a child to school in Rwanda. No matter how many times I hear that, it is always staggering to me. $15 is so little compared to the impact of an education on a child.

We fund the education of children both inside Urukundo Village and in the larger community. In late 2007, you proudly gave scholarships to 250 children who otherwise would not have been able to go to school and those children have had the benefit of schooling. If you sponsored a child last year, please think about renewing your scholarship gift again this year and perhaps an additional child if you can afford it. For 2009, let's aim for 300 children, 50 more than last year.

Please make sure your scholarship reaches Hope Made Real by December 1st. Thank you again for all you have done.

Vision Made Real: A Roof is on the Girl's Home

The roof is now on the girls home, with face boards still to come. It is an interesting roof. During the morning and evening it is bright red. At other times it has silver stripes running through it that reflect the sunlight, making it all the more beautiful.

We hope to finish the inside, the wiring and the plumbing, and move the girls into their new home before Christmas. Our vision is to have all the children in one place by December.

It is incredibly exciting to say the least and I thank you all for making this idea an incredible reality. There is so much left to do, but it's great to see the results of all our efforts so far.

The Bricks that Build Our Homes, Also Build Our Community

Building homes for our children takes a lot of bricks for the walls and tiles for the roof and we have been buying many of these supplies from the Women's Tile and Brick Association. Many widows of the genocide have been working hard to build a new and better life and this small business is a great example of that.

John received a call from a woman at the Association offering to bring us a load of bricks and she came to meet me herself. She said:
"You have done so much for me and my business. Your work has lifted us up and we have been able to care for our families and buy a bigger truck. We will always be grateful to you. We will deliver to you all the bricks you need and you can pay us whenever you have the money. God bless you for what you do for us."

It was a wonderful surprise and it's great to see such hard work along with such a strong sense of community. It's at moments like this that we know we are having a real impact in this struggling part of the world.


Planting Crops, Gifts from a Marriage, and a Cow Named "Flower"

An Experimental Seed Garden

After trying our patience, the rains have finally started and so is my first American seed garden. This is an experimental garden and, yes, I got down on my knees in the soil and planted the seeds. A young woman helped me and thought the way I planted my seeds was very strange. Next month's update will bring with it news as to whether this little experiment is successful.

A Gift of Trees

Talking about gifts from God. Hope, a house mother at the boy's home, told a family member we were having a hard time getting timbers for building our roof. Trees are scarce here. He called and gave us 300 trees from his property and will help pay the labor to have the trees harvested and prepared for our use.

A Gift of a Cow Named "Flower"

As you may remember, last month Mary Claire, one of our first mama's, was married. Well, in Rwanda, they still practice the tradition of a dowry, and as such, Claire's parents were given two cows. Claire's parents consider us family as well. They brought us gifts here at the village. We were given a large mat woven by hand, two cases of Fanta, a beautiful wooden lidded bowl filled with candy, and lastly and most importantly, a cow named Flower. What a wonderful gift.

The cow is young but a very good breed and will give us a calf and much milk in the future. Out of materials we had on hand we were able to build her a house with enough space for a second cow and a baby calf. We are expecting a second cow from the kind delegates of People to People who visited us in August. That cow will be fresh and will have milk for our baby David.