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By Rev Mutagoma Japhet, Northern Rwanda
In Rwanda, heavy rain and landslides have made life even more challenging for rural communities already struggling through one of Africa’s stricter Covid-19 lockdowns. Revd Mutagoma Japhet from the small rural Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda (EEBVR) network of churches shares his experience of helping communities affected by both lockdown and landslide.
The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has been a real challenge here in Rwanda. People have been suffering from hunger, the failure of their businesses and the loss of their jobs. Already we were seeing increasing malnutrition especially in younger children. This disastrous torrent has only worsened the situation.
The Bible says, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). This verse reminds us that God remains faithful even in tough periods.
This is our experience. With funding from APF, we donated significant grants that helped our communities fight against Covid-19. We provide soap and hygiene stations in four different communities. Using the bicycles we received from APF in 2018, we transported clean water from long distances to people living with disabilities during the lockdown.
Following the flooding, we led displaced people to safety, sheltering them in churches and schools. We provided basic items like cooking pans, blankets, food and clothing. Overall, we supported 73 displaced families in two camps in Musanze District with 200 kg of maize, and also provided fruit and toys for 63 children.
But the effects of the landslides have made worse the devastating impacts of the lockdown in one of the poorest parts of Rwanda where people live hand-to- mouth and face extremes of hunger and poverty.
After receiving food for her children, one parent, who had lost her home to flooding, said she now understood that you cannot separate your faith from your deeds. One comes out from the other like the crops from the soil.
- For marginalised communities in DRC, Rwanda, and Uganda that have seen crops, property and goods destroyed by torrential rain, floods and landslips • Give thanks for the local responses being initiated by APF partners that have received Covid-19 Relief Fund grants, especially Pastor Japhet Mutagoma, Revd Charles Munyamahoro and Revd Emmanuel Gatera, all in Rwanda
- As the lockdown begins to ease in Rwanda, pray for life to normalise with churches being able to gather safely, training conferences resuming before long and communities to remember the help they received from Christian neighbours
- For Pastor Victor, the new legal representative of Eglise Evangélique de la Bonne Volonté au Rwanda, as he combines teaching, ministry and academic