Hey guys! I want to introduce a sweet friend today who could use our help.
This is Becka and her brand new husband, Zach. Aren’t they adorable?
Becka is a high school teacher English teacher, but her passion and heart is for Africa. Specifically, Rwanda. She feels so strongly for Rwanda that she got Africa tattooed on her hip:
Anyways, Becka and I are friends from college and grad school. We, along with a few other buddies, were part of what our favorite professor called “The Dark Corner.” Basically, we were the group having the most fun and asking the best questions. *ahem. At least that’s what we think it means.
She has the opportunity to win a trip to Rwanda to write stories for the people there. How cool is that? She needs our help, though. If you can help by going and voting as much as possible for Becka that would be splendid.
I asked Becka to answer a few questions about why this trip is so important for her—a newly married high school English teacher. Her answers are straight from the heart, and will knock your socks off.
1.) Why Rwanda?
My students asked me today, “What is it about Rwanda, Mrs. Applegate?” I told them it’s redemption.
Sure, most of Africa has seen poverty, war, rape, plunder, and human atrocities untold and unspeakable alike. But Rwanda has this raw beauty in the midst of her horror.
What I saw in Rwanda was the healing of a land, the exquisite allure of redemption. Things broken were being restored, hearts full of were being melted from hatred into forgiveness, lives in despair were being being transformed into hope.
What I love most about any story is redemption. God is redeeming Rwanda and I just want to be an eye witness, a testifier, someone used to both spur it on, and to spur others on to be a part of the bigger story of the land of a thousand hills.
2.) What is it that YOU can do over there that makes it necessary to go?
The last time I was in Africa, I knew I would go back, but for very different reasons.
On previous trips, I’ve been involved in education, teaching at a university, working with professors, or observing and exchanging ideas in secondary classrooms. That was all great, and I love it, and it fit so well with my existing profession as a high school English teacher.
Since then, I’ve pursued a masters degree, where I got to write about how colonialism and postcolonialism affected women, and it has changed my heart in so many ways. I’ve watched God widen my understanding of social justice, the marginalized, and advocacy. I’ve also seen Him use my writing more and more as a vehicle to discuss these issues.
I need to go because I think this is the answer to when and why I’m supposed to go back: to tell a story someone else couldn’t tell.
I feel like I have a few perspectives that make me both unique but also just ordinary as a storyteller. I’m just an ordinary girl who wants to be a part of something extraordinary. I can lend the perspective of the traveler who’s gone before, the journalist who loves to record, the average girl longing to do something bigger than herself, the academic, the fellow woman, the heart burning white hot for justice.
To put it simply, I can use the voice that God has given me as a writer, and the experiences and heart for Rwanda that He’s already groomed in me, to give the women there a voice back home in the States. I need to tell women here that there ARE things we can do sitting in America to change the lives of women all over the world, and to give hope to the places both near and far away.
Sisterhood knows no boundaries.
Becka’s trip will be sponsored by Noonday Collection, a gorgeous shop that works to empower women, find homes for orphans, and provide jobs. They have some real drool-worthy products like this necklace:
Their contest is looking for a storyteller. I think Becka would be the perfect candidate.
3 .) How are YOU a part of Rwanda’s story?
Something I’ve always felt strongly about being a part of Rwanda’s story is making changes that will have progressive, ripple effects. There are a lot of hungry kids in Rwanda, a lot of beggars. I could go and visit, and give them food, or a few dollars, but that does nothing to systemically change the cycle of poverty in Rwanda.
I want to be a part of the story of Rwanda changing from the top down, where the whole country is able to heal and resurrect because it has been wholly and completely changed. I don’t want to be a part of Rwanda treating symptoms, I want to be right in the thick of Rwanda treating the causes.
For example. when I went in 2008 and 2009, we worked with university professors, and then with university students because if we can affect the intelligentsia, the leaders and thinkers, the up and coming next generation of movers and shakers, then we can hopefully be just a small part of a much larger change that will spread like watercolor paint across the canvas of the entire country, touching everyone and everything, given time.
Working with Noonday Collection and the International Justice Mission (IJM) is just the kind of movement that works to change poverty pervasively, by empowering women with trades and jobs that enable them to feed their children, send them to school, and provide hope for the next generation of Rwandans.
So go vote for Becka! And shop or drool, or both over all the gorgeous things at Noonday Collection!