Ramstein Airmen help Rwandan children

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

Large smiles, chewing gum bubbles and high-fives were the scene Sept. 22 when Ramstein Airmen gave donated goods to orphans and school children in Kigali, Rwanda.

The 787th Air Expeditionary Squadron consists of 20 Airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing, 86th Contingency Response Group, 86th Operations Support Squadron and 700th Contracting Squadron, and is deployed to provide airlift to Rwandan troops serving with the African Union in the Darfur region.
The 787th AES delivered blankets, clothing, school supplies and bubble gum, which were donated by several Air Force and Army units in the KMC to Rwandan children.

***image2***“Our orphanage would not be able to keep its doors open if it were not for donations,” said Sister Allison, headmaster at the Missionaries of Charity. “The U.S. Air Force always helps us out by donating every time they come to Rwanda.”

After the servicemembers offloaded boxes, the children, who sang songs in Kinya-rwanda, the national language of the country, thanked them. The songs were followed by tours of the facilities and the opportunity for the Airmen to interact with the children.

As the Airmen toured the dirt-floored facilities that were illuminated only by natural light, children showed appreciation for the donations and their visit by offering high-fives and hugs. 

“Our priority is the military mission; however, we are thrilled to have the chance to give donations collected from our local community to Rwandan schools and orphanages,” said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Renner, 787th AES commander. “The smiles on the children’s faces provides us with an unexplainable feeling that we will not soon forget.”

Several of the orphans and students benefiting from the donations are victims of the genocidal war that occurred in 1994, said Sister Allison.  
“Rwanda continues to move forward after the atrocity it experienced only 12 years ago,” she said. “These donations are an example of the world coming together to help make Rwanda’s future bright.”