I have been interning at PFR for the last six months and with a week left to go you can imagine the building excitement of going home and being reunited with my friends and family. But last night it finally hit me, I am leaving behind another family. Over a leaving dinner at our favourite local restaurant sharing the usual jokes, brainstorming new ideas with Guma (my boss and PFR’s Communication Director), and tucking into a delicious meal, every member of the PFR team stood up a told me what I had meant to them. It was without a doubt one of the most touching evenings of my life, and why am I telling you this? Quite simply to allow myself the opportunity to put into words what this organisation means to me and why they are so worthy of your support. So how do I summarise the past six months without sending everyone to sleep? In three words...spirit, dedication, and love.
The PFR team have an unbreakable spirit, and when confronted with the numerous challenges they face they are not discouraged. They talk problems through in fast-paced Kinyarwandan (which then gets translated for yours truly) and everybody gets a say. They are some of the hardest workers I have ever met, finding time in their busy schedules to not only take care of families, but to attend prayer daily, to work 10 hour days, and even make time to socialise with one another...demonstrated by the fact that despite the birth of a new baby boy for our Project Manager Felix (congratulations!) he still made an appearance at my leaving dinner. You would think that with all this going on the office environment might, on occasion, be a little tense, with tired and irritable workers...I’m picturing a typical London office come Monday morning, but no, it’s smiles all round, constant upbeat chatter, and a ‘ready to face whatever is thrown at me mentality’, sometimes it’s hard to keep up! You certainly need a lot of what follows to maintain this incredible spirit...
PFR’s dedication to the causes it supports is inspirational. I honestly think that if no money was available, some of the staff would offer their time for free. It is refreshing to work in an environment where everyone is genuinely passionate about what they do, and the people they are championing....our HIV + women, the street children of the AAC, communities going through the long process of reconciliation, or prisoners who are repenting for their crimes. Every group and every person counts. Sometimes I wonder if PFR tries to do too much, to support too many people (this is normally when I am overwhelmed with tasks myself) but then I remember that everything they have accomplished so far...the six successful reconciliation villages, the 33 child sponsorships, the marketing of women’s goods, and the evangelising of once hopeless prisoners, proves that they can succeed at whatever they set their mind to. And moreover, they cannot say no, or turn away someone in need. And this leads me to my last point...
When you walk into the PFR office, whether as an old friend, business partner, or new acquaintance, you are greeted with a warm embrace from Jacqueline, and you instantly ‘feel the love’. Suddenly your language, your skin colour, your different culture, disappears into thin air and you are just another person, which is rather refreshing when you are having to adjust to getting stared at on a daily basis and chased by small children. In my time with PFR I have been described as many things but what I will remember most is being described as a daughter by our Executive Director Pastor Deo, who not only ensures I get the best treatment when sick (which inevitably happens rather a lot over here) but also offered me a room in his family home when he found out I was paying an extortionate rent. The staff show their love to me and to one another in so many different ways...from an invite to a family wedding, to visiting a new born baby in hospital. From teasing one another about boyfriends or girlfriends (sorry ‘secret friends’), to all chipping in to help someone pay rent on a new house. It is a pleasure to work with such wonderful, warm, and loving people. I will treasure every moment.
So there you have it. Three words that should assure you that supporting PFR is a wise decision. The team will work tirelessly to ensure your money is spent in all the right ways, no project or new idea is too much for them, and not only do they truly appreciate the kindness you show them but they will welcome you to Rwanda and into the office with open arms and hearts. To support us or share ideas with us please email firstname.lastname@example.org.