First Times

Rebeka has experienced a few new “firsts” in the past couple week. It takes me aback sometimes, like “You’re ten years old and you’ve never _____?” Like her first time in a box fort.

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There just aren’t giant boxes in Bugesera that are at a kid’s disposal, with total freedom to create whatever they like. With some duct tape and a little saw, Benji and his cronies built a four-room house with windows, a draw bridge, and a skylight that opened and closed. It was enjoyed by all.

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Rebeka and friend Kate explored the new digs.

This past week, I can claim it was the first time Rebeka fluidly read a book. Those of you who have helped a child learn to read know the patience it takes, before the light bulb comes on and they start picking up patterns. It’s even harder since Rebeka is learning English at the same time. Many of the words she’s sounding out are words she doesn’t know. Once she began to see the patterns, she no longer had to sound out every single word every single time. If she’d read it on the previous page, she remembered it. Once she learned an ending, like “et”, she could apply it to “wet” and “get” and “set” . . . I was there for that moment this week, when the light bulb clicked. Reading got a whole lot easier. I’m telling you, I almost cried.

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And then there was this.

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Her first footprint, right foot. I took her to the lake one day while the kids were at school. She pines for the lake, we all do, and we finally had a free day to play. The water was cold but she didn’t care. She donned a swimsuit and plopped down, to collect shells and brave the boat wakes and feel little fish nibbling her toes.

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Each day we are seeing huge progress as she walks farther, and faster. For those of you who are into charts and numbers, here’s a snapshot of our past couple week’s walks. Keep in mind that when she walks without an AFO (a brace) she goes much slower, and for shorter distances. She’s still improving, but it’s tough going. Just recently she’s begun walking with no braces and no walker, a big step. She’s rocking the walks with the braces on, increasing distance and diminishing time with every walk. She rarely uses her walker anymore when she’s wearing braces, and we haven’t used the wheelchair in weeks!

Distance (each marker =1/10 of a mile

Time

Date

With or without AFO

Marker 1

13:23

4/13

with

Marker 2

26:00

4/15

with

Marker 2

25:57

4/17

with

Marker 1

35:30

4/18

without

Marker 3

34:40

4/20

with

Marker 1

26:30

4/21

without

Marker 3

32:50

4/22

with

Marker 2

51:23

4/23

without

Marker 4

28:15

4/24

with

Marker 5

40:18

4/25

with

Marker 2

45:17

4/27

without

And for those of you who aren’t numbers people, here’s a picture of her taking a little break. That “look at me ma’” smile says it all.

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We follow her in a jog stroller and every tenth of a mile she sits and takes a quick rest before carrying on. This is a big shout out to all of you who have honked, cheered, and walked with us, whether literally or figuratively. You can see from our chart that we still have a ways to go, but we are heading in the right direction and it gets a little easier each day. I close this post with two pictures I’ve been dying to share, ever since the day she arrived. The first was taken in Rwanda last year, and the second was taken Monday, April 22, 2013. Praising God for miracles.

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7 thoughts on “First Times

  1. What a huge miracle you have been able to witness first hand! I LOVE your blog of Rebeka’s progress and your “intervention” in her life. She is adorable. You are amazing. Keep writing!

  2. Oh my! Her “before” picture is hard to look at, her “after” picture is AWESOME! Yippee! Thank you for sharing!

  3. The before-and-after photos are… breathtaking. Wow. Just… wow. Thank you for sharing these, and the whole journey.

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