***image1***Coloring books, soccer balls and tennis shoes were delivered along with other donations to an orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda, Oct. 27 by U.S. Air Force Airmen.
The donations were delivered by Airmen from the 86th Contingency Response Group, and C-17 Globe-master aircrews from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C. The Airmen who participated in the donation drop are in Rwanda to provide aerial support to the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operations in Darfur.
Although the mission comes first, the Airmen were very excited to have the opportunity to visit the orphanage.
“This is something I love to do,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Therrien, 786th Air Expeditionary Squadron commander. “It is a fantastic opportunity to interact with the local community and bring smiles to children’s faces.”
Smiles were found around the room. After the Airmen unloaded the donations, they were invited inside to meet and play with the children.
Airmen handed out candy, kicked around soccer balls and drew pictures using sidewalk chalk.
“It was a moving experience,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Droegemueller. “The kids were not shy at all. They were leaping into our arms the minute we walked in the door.”
As a token of appreciation, the children performed a traditional Rwandan song to thank the Airmen.
Several of the orphans who benefited from the donations are victims of the genocide war which occurred in 1994, said Sister Allison, headmaster of the Missionaries of Charity orphanage. Without the much-needed donations, the orphanage would not be able to remain open to the Rwandan community.
As Rwanda moves forward from the horrible atrocity that occurred 13 years ago, the donations represent global communities coming together to help each other out, said Sister Allison.