From the Pharaohs to the Land of A Thousand Hills – Rwanda…

Our stop-over in Egypt was beyond our wildest dreams. To stand before the Great Pyramids of Giza and the mighty Sphinx was a childhood dream of mine. And Buck got to see it all on his 9th birthday.

There are no words that can describe the grandeur of the pyramids and to think, they were built by hand. Amazing! Going inside the Pyramids was something that Jack and Buck were excited about.

Claustrophobia is alive and well in Giza, Egypt. Holy Cow! The tunnel into the center of the pyramid is a crawl space at best, and the air gets thicker and thicker as you arrive at the burial chamber in the center…the size of a walk-in closet. Yikes!  With my heart pounding in my ears and having a full-on anxiety attack, I managed to celebrate Buck’s 9th, center pyramid. Talk about a quantum leap for me in the department of phobias.

Because of the revolution and political upheaval in Cairo, the tourist trade is way down… Way Down. And you can feel it in the desperation of the vendors. The people selling souvenirs around the pyramids and the guys hawking camel rides are desperate for your business and it’s a bit intimidating. “No Thank You” does not seem to make an impact. It was non-stop and the boys and I felt overwhelmed at times, but certainly felt for them. After the Elephant Nature Park, we had no desire to ride a camel.

On our flight from Egypt to Rwanda… get this…. Buck got to fly in the cockpit with the pilots for the entire flight. No lie. The pilots were American and said they would be happy to have an additional Captain. Can you believe it? That would never happen EVER in the states! Buck got to experience take-off and landing from the jump seat in the cockpit. Jackson and I were incredibly jealous.

And now we are in Rwanda. We arrived on a night flight but instantly noticed two things in Kigali (pronounced CHI-gali). First the streets are spotless, not one piece of trash to be found, which was refreshing after India. The second was the smell, best describe as the “Sweet Scent of Earth” – Red clay earth… Incredible!  You can’t help but feel the connection to the land… and yes, the ghost of the genocide still lingers.  That horrible event that claimed nearly a million lives.

We arrived at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village late that night and were shown to our room. This is a school built for the children who were orphaned during the Genocide here in Rwanda.

We woke up the next day to the sight of deep-green rolling hills with patchwork fields as far as the eye could see…. And the clouds, whiter than white… the kind you can see animals and angels in.

We had arrived in the REAL Africa. The breeze, the smell, the view, the people. Yes, woman dressed in traditional, colorful dresses with pots, bags, twigs, bundles balanced on their heads. The kids and I laugh and say, “Do you think they do that for our benefit, or is it actually something they do when we are not around?” Our friends here at ASYV assure us that they do it all the time.

The teens here were shy with us at first. And we were a bit shy as well. Ends up that they speak English beautifully and they are the greatest. They are all teens up to 21 or so. We are working with a group of 20 students writing a one-act play about the first High School of Performing Arts in Rwanda… which, by the way, does not exist. Sounds like it might be a calling…

The show is going great. We have intertwined the traditional music and dance with some of the interests of the students… like hip-hop, romance, and humor. We will perform it the night before we leave.

The boys and I have also been invited to meet the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda, His Excellency, Donald W. Koran. What an incredible honor. More to follow, as Rwanda unfolds before our very eyes.

20 comments

from specs of sand to blades of grass, from one extreme to…
it says it all.
what an unbelievable blessing!
mazaltov!

Andre, Andre – Thanks for your support. You are the best! x jd

Another WOW !!!! U r so great at describing
UR travels !!!! I will just share, my words would
loose something !!!
U look great with a goateee —–
Were U about the same age as Buck with ur dream of visiting the
Pyramids ? What a gift U have given ur children JD
The phobias , glad U worked thru them my friend
Be well & have fun , thanks for all the shares. !!!!!

Miss you, Francine. Couldn’t be doing this without your help. You are the best. Love you… jd and the boys.

smashing

You are smashing, mister. Love to you and your gorgeous wife. x jd and the boys.

I think I’ve said it a tousand times … I’m so very happy for you guys. I’m sure you’re enjoyng every single moment you’re living but … It’s later, when you get back home, when everything will seem like a dream … it’s then when you’ll really know, it was an experience not many people in the world can fulfill … enrich your mind with knowledge, as well as enrich your soul with the satisfaction of having helped so many people and contributed to so many causes and your.
May the grass look always green, on your own side of the fence, as well …!

Thanks, Roberto for the kind words. We really our having the trip of a lifetime. j

Just when it couldn’t get more profound and amazing…you spring Rwanda on us!!! Yet another brilliant dispatch that yes – once again – brings me to tears!!!! BTW – I have to say you look absolutely hot in that goatee and you look so content and just well…happy! I’m so beyond inspired – I know I sound like a broken record but…WOW WOW AND WOW!!! LOVE TO THE LEWIS BOYS AS THEY IMPACT MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WITH YOU SOULS! xoxo

Thanks, Kristina. And none of this could have happened without your continuous support. Thank you for believing. You are a saint. x jd

I know what you mean about the soil of Africa. It must be in our DNA. I felt it in Zambia and hope to go back one day (“Oh Earth, you are too wonderful for us to realize”). I am so grateful for your travelogue which often brings me to tears. It happened again when I read of Buck in a pyramid on his birthday AND riding in the cockpit! You are an amazing dad and I am so proud to have you as a friend. Just think, all you had to do to overcome a phobia was travel to Egypt.More fun than other forms of therapy! xxoo

glad to hear you are all doing well and continue to help people all over the world! how wonderful. i just love getting a notice about a new blog from you. sending much love and keep doing what you do!!! love, marcy, lance and max xoxo

Wow…..it does just seem to get better and better! Getting to experience it all through your blogs makes it all so real….and surreal!!! How totally cool for Buckford to celebrate his ninth in a setting so great…and it boggles the mind that it all was made by hand as you said, and we are so looking forward to seeing them ourselves after we are with you in Kenya and South Africa….just as I look at your pictures and read your words I can see how incredibly into this you are, and how at peace you seem and how happy you look being there with your greatest treasures experiencing life from all sides. Still my hero! So much done, so much to do……
XOXOXOBO

Thanks so much for the photos and your story… continues 🙂

How Fun! I just love reading along with your journey. So cool. JD, it’s so strange to see all your luscious locks gone : )

Great post again JD. Wonderfully vicarious. If you have the chance, may I suggest visiting the Botshabello ophanage in Sth Africa. Amazing people doing amazing work.
All the best from all the elephants.

J.D., it’s amazing to see the boys grow up before our very eyes on these amazing posts. I’ve run out of adjectives, but remember we are all so proud of all three of you. You’ve got to give many presentations on your experience when you get back home. Much love from Charlotte.

Hi JD!
I’m so happy you’re at ASYV! The village is so incredible, isn’t it? I want to hear all about it when you get back. Maybe post photos of your performance? We have our board retreat for ASYV this Friday and I’d love to share. Have a great time!
Liz

Hi JD!
I’m happy to see your all comments from RWANDA and specialy to ASYV.
how is ZANZIBAR and the kids? say hello to them and we miss you all.thank you so much and have a great time
Media

Wow…..it does just seem to get better and better! Getting to experience it all through your blogs makes it all so real….and surreal!!! How totally cool for Buckford to celebrate his ninth in a setting so great…and it boggles the mind that it all was made by hand as you said, and we are so looking forward to seeing them ourselves after we are with you in Kenya and South Africa….just as I look at your pictures and read your words I can see how incredibly into this you are, and how at peace you seem and how happy you look being there with your greatest treasures experiencing life from all sides. Still my hero! So much done, so much to do……
XOXOXOBO

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