Posted: 11 August 2023
On Wednesday morning, we had a lovely walk from the hotel to the Lawyers of Hope (LOH) office in Kigali. When we got there, we took in the breathtaking view of Kigali from the office's front garden. Inside the office, we met the paralegals of the area.
We began the meeting with a word of encouragement from Jon based on Isaiah 61:3. The paralegals shared some of their work, highlighting the greatest issues in their community, among these being sexual violence and drug use among the youths and street children. We were deeply moved and encouraged by stories of how LOH paralegals and lawyers have worked together to achieve justice.
In the afternoon, we attended a youth training on drug laws conducted by the paralegals. Some of the youths' parents also attended the session. Again, we were welcomed in true Rwandan style with joyous singing and dancing. The paralegals conducted their training in a highly engaging way, using jokes and impersonations.
Afterwards, Jon brought a word of encouragement to the young people and their parents. He spoke on God's power of redemption. Daisy then shared a personal story of God's redemption. We then prayed with about 20 young people and parents who had responded to an altar call.
On Thursday morning, we met with the beneficiaries of LOH (members of the community who have been assisted by LOH paralegals or lawyers to achieve justice in their circumstances). They shared their success stories. For example, a young man shared how he had been wrongfully arrested for the murder of someone he was trying to save from drowning. LOH lawyers took up his case and the young man was released just in time to sit his secondary school national exams. In another example, a woman disowned her five children and took them to court in order to re-possess the house they were living in, which had been donated to the family by another human rights organisation. The LOH lawyers argued the case for the children in court and won. The children were able to retain the house. In a final example, a rape case was reopened after the offender assaulted three other young girls in one night, three years after the original assault. DNA evidence connected the him to all four rapes.
In the afternoon, Daisy, Mhairi, a LOH paralegal and 2 LOH staff members followed up and further prayed with 2 young people who had responded to Wednesday's altar call. The young people seemed strengthened and assured after the meeting, which was very encouraging for Mhairi and Daisy to observe.
Michael, Jon and Juves visited another genocide museum in the meantime. They later came to meet Daisy and Mhairi at the LOH office and we walked back to the hotel together, enjoying Kigali's evening breeze and its remarkable nighttime view.