Sunday, December 27, 2009


Tomorrow we head to Rwanda at 9:30am!!! A completely different and new culture, place, people, and life. don't have any idea who I'll meet tomorrow, the conversations I will have or even where exactly I'll end up... And it's absolutely thrilling. I pray that thru my actions and words, in every encounter, joy, humility, and the love of the gospel will be shared. Tomorrow is an adventure!!!

P.s. Im totally lovin my iPod touch with the hotels wireless right now... I won't be able to do this much in Rwanda!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

T - 4 days...

… and I board a plane for Rwanda! It doesn’t even seem real yet, and it won’t until I am buckled securely to the seat of a 767 and take off for Italy, then Ethiopia, Uganda, and finally Rwanda. While abroad, I will be using this blog to write updates about Rwanda when I can; however, I would like to stay true to the original purpose of this blog, that is, to express thoughts on various subjects and to hear your opinions and ideas as well – a conversation, if you will. For those who aren’t familiar with my blog, see the first post. For those who have not yet heard about my new adventure in Rwanda, see the previous post “Rwanda!!

This morning I just received my placement! I’ll be teaching at Rusumo High School, which is in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, right next to Tanzania! It’s a boarding school with about 800 students total. I’ll live about 4 miles outside of the town. There’s no grid electricity or running water, but these things along with internet and shopping are nearby! That’s basically everything I know right now!

Otherwise, everything is coming together smoothly as I prepare for my year of teaching abroad. It is truly remarkable to see how God is fitting so many pieces together and using so many people to shape this experience and to reassure me that this is the right decision. Here are a few stories:

A few months ago, when word began to spread at my church in Cleveland (Bethany Covenant Church) that I would be teaching in Rwanda, my friend Joe approached me and said he would like to build a kajom (a type of drum) that I could give to my community as a gift. He had been brainstorming this project for awhile, and was hoping the drum could be used abroad and had been praying for the right opportunity. I gladly agreed and we set to work on designing and building the drum!

In the meantime, I was tutoring math and science on Saturday mornings when I ran into a fellow tutor, Bill, who happened to be the father of one of my college friends. We began sharing stories about our experiences abroad in third world countries, and when he heard about my trip to Rwanda and my desire to promote sustainable energy, he introduced to me the Rocket Stove – an efficient and simple-to-build stove designed by an aerospace engineer and specifically for the developing world!

Back to Joe. A week later we were working on the drum when Joe said,
“It sounds like we have a mutual friend.”
“Who,” I asked?
Apparently, Joe and Bill are in the same men’s Bible study! When Joe had mentioned our drum project to the group and how it would be used in Rwanda, Bill made the connection! I now have a beautiful wood kajom as well as plans for making the Rocket Stove in my possession and ready to give to the community!

Wheew, there are several other good stories I could share, but for the sake of time and space, here’s the Campbell’s soup condensed version:
  1. My good friend, Somo, and her family are from Zambia, and they were kind enough to teach me how to slaughter and dress a chicken! Not only was this a very practical lesson, but it also makes you much more aware of where our food comes from and, for me at least, it instills a certain respect for life that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
  2. I’ve been introduced to a gentleman who is starting a micro-hydroelectric business in Rwanda. He graduated with degrees in engineering and medicine from MIT and Harvard and currently lives and works at a health clinic in Rwanda. Hopefully we can connect while abroad!
That’s it for now! If you’ve gotten this far, thank you for reading! Thank you for your support, your encouragement, your prayers, and for just being you. I’m excited to hear about what amazing things will happen at home, in Cleveland, Jamestown, or wherever you are over the next year while I’m gone. Keep me posted and keep it up!


In case you haven't heard, I am going to Rwanda! If you haven't heard the details yet or just want to be reminded, here's a little blurb I've thrown together:

"Recently, I have been accepted as a volunteer for WorldTeach (, a non-profit organization based at Harvard University, which places teachers in under-developed countries. Leaving the day after Christmas, I will be venturing to Rwanda to teach math and science for the next year to a year and a half.

Rwanda is a country most widely known for the 1994 genocide, but too often overlooked for its unprecedented strides toward healing and rebuilding. Its people are determined to become leaders in development for the rest of the continent. Yet, many challenges remain. With 60% of Rwandans living on less than a dollar a day and 42% under the age of fifteen, education and hope are essential to Rwanda.

As a WorldTeach volunteer, I will be teaching high school students in math and science. Outside of the classroom, I will be involved in the community through activities such as coaching soccer, organizing science projects, or helping at a local church. Furthermore, Rwanda’s focus on development, particularly in technology, is a perfect fit for me as an engineer, as my long term goal is to help implement renewable energy for developing communities!"

OK, more to come!

“The Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated.” Isaiah 61:1-4