Day 1 cycle - 50 miles from Kigali to Kayonza (where the East Africa Revival began). After a change of clothes we visited various Tearfund projects. I met with Ancilla, a single mother of 4 whose life has been transformed through a self support group set up by Tearfund partners. She can now grow sufficient food to feed her family and generate enough income to pay health insurance and build a toilet (with hand washing facilities) in her garden. We also saw a mill that several self support groups have built so that the community can process its own produce for personal use and onward sale.
Day 2 cycle - only 27 miles from Kigali to Bugesera. Thankfully the flattest of the 3 days (as it was really hot) but I dont think there is a genuinely flat road anywhere in Rwanda! On this day we met with church groups who set up self support groups with the help of Tearfund partners. Three church members gave their testimonies and told of how the support groups had changed their lives. One member was excited to tell us that one of the best results of being able to generate income is that he is now able to tithe to the church. We met another amazing woman bringing up a family on her own who is now able to contemplate sending her oldest child to university.
Day 3 cycle - a brutal 33 miles with over 3300 ft of climbing from Kigali to Muhanga. Definitely the hardest day of cycling. Possibly my worst moment was when a young boy decided to run along beside me on a big hill. At one point I thought he was going to pass me. There was much celebration when we reached Muhanga and were able to hand our bikes back to the Team Africa Rising cycling team. We learned about the local Rural Development Inter Diocesan (RDIS) service and saw more evidence of the transforming work being done through Tearfund partners.
Gorillas in the mist. At the end of our third day of cycling, 6 of us travelled north to Musanze and the following morning we did a trek up to 9000 ft to visit a family of mountain gorillas in their natural habitat - truly amazing. If you want to see the photos, you will have to come to the Lifebuilders update at BPC on Sunday 5th March after the morning service.
Our group returned safely to arrive in Belfast on Sunday 12th Feb. We took 16 cyclists over 100 miles over a spectacular landscape and the only trouble we encountered was two punctures and a few misbehaving chains. Our trip gave us an inspirational insight into the work Tearfund is doing in Rwanda and we were humbled by the way the people of Rwanda have chosen to move on from the genocide atrocities. Our desire is that the Cycle of Hope will inspire others to support Tearfund’s work in Rwanda.