06 Jun – 19 Jun, 2019
07 Jan, 2019
Experience once. Remember forever.
Compassion Insight trips offer you the opportunity to explore the road less travelled. You will meet new friends, and experience life in another part of the world. You will come face to face with God’s work through His local church and Compassion, ministering in areas of debilitating poverty—and you will be forever changed by the experience.
If any country knows hope and healing, it’s Rwanda. Over the past two and a half decades, local churches have played a leading role in the nation’s recovery from the horrors of genocide. Share their stories and see God’s peace infiltrating the lives and hearts of children, even in the ongoing struggle of poverty.
“We went to visit our sponsored child Beatrice, who was about to graduate … we had her in our lives for 10 years. [Visiting] was one of the most significant events in our lives. Compassion looked after us very well … just awesome! Beautiful people, inspiring country!” —Janet Schultz
Every Insight Trip is a unique experience, from the people you’ll meet to the places you’ll go. Your trip’s itinerary is customised to meet the needs and interests of the final group of travellers, and you will get all the details with time to spare. In the meantime, check out the example itinerary below, based on previous Insight Trips to Rwanda. We hope it gives you a taste of what your Insight Trip will be like!
Day 1: Depart Sydney, Australia for Kigali, Rwanda
There’s anticipation in the air as you connect with the group at Sydney Airport, swap stories of wrestling suitcases and say goodbye to your loved ones. Your trip leader helps with the process of checking in and makes sure the group sticks together.
With plenty of time, you take the chance to stretch your legs, and then get to know the group with a cuppa. Before you know it, you’re buckling your seat belt, checking your travel pillow, and watching Sydney Harbour drop away beneath your feet. You breathe out slowly. You’re off to Rwanda!
Day 2: Arrive in Kigali, Rwanda
It’s been an epic journey. You’ve bonded with your fellow travellers, and, after many hours, you’ve bonded a bit too closely with your seat. As exciting as it is to touch down in Kigali, you’re longing for a shower … and some sleep.
Compassion Rwanda staff greet you with big smiles and help you load your bags into the bus. To the hotel, where you are very grateful to lie down and close your eyes.
Day 3: Compassion Rwanda office, Kigali
Up early. Compassion Rwanda staff meet you for breakfast, before you pile into the bus to go and visit the Compassion Rwanda office and see for yourself what it’s like to partner with more than 350 local churches serving more than 100,000 children.
The office is awash with activity, which seems to ripple behind you as each team greets you, shares a laugh and describes its role, and then gets back to the task at hand.
Compassion Rwanda Country Director John Nkubana welcomes you and gives a brief overview of poverty in Rwanda and Compassion’s work in his country. He praises the local churches for their leadership and strength in bringing about reconciliation in his nation following the 1994 genocide: an event that is no longer an open wound but has left a significant scar on this nation’s history.
Day 4: A child development centre in urban Kigali
Kigali is known as a modern city, and its broad boulevards and high-rise buildings give it an open, modern feeling. The local staff explain, as you drive to a local church centre, that wealth is concentrated in such a way that urban slums persist. They collect the down-trodden, the young villagers who flock to the city and effectively trade a life of rural poverty for an urban despair, the old and sick, those who’ve never had opportunities for education.
As you progress from broad bitumen to narrow muddy streets, the staff give you some basic advice—be friendly and polite, don’t ostentatiously take people’s photo—and you’re soon lost in the maze of closely packed shanty homes.
You hear the local church’s child development centre before you see it. Children shout a song of praise at the top of their lungs, lined up at the entrance. The church’s humble walls shake with the sound.
The children welcome you with song, dance, drama and speeches. Their talent is only surpassed by their enthusiasm, and it’s easy to forget the desperate circumstances so many of them face outside of these walls. Only when your group walks back through the narrow alleys to the bus do you remember that most people here are fighting to survive on less than a dollar a day.
Day 5: Church in Kigali
Today is Sunday, and that means church! Hundreds of people pack into the building and spill out into the street. There’s colour and movement everywhere—bright dresses, children running, people stamping, clapping and singing.
Time has no meaning when it comes to church in Rwanda. The singing goes on, only gathering momentum; the preacher gives a passionate sermon and the congregation hangs on his every word, shouting and applauding their agreement. At the end, you feel wrung out but uplifted, as if you’ve run a marathon and been baptised at the same time.
Day 6: Visiting homes in Kimisagara slum, Kigali
You return to the same centre for a second full day with the children, joining them in classes, playing games and serving their lunchtime meal.
In the afternoon, you walk to visit Promise, one of the sponsored children, in her home with the centre staff. A gaggle of children follow you. You enter Promise’s tiny home and greet her parents. Her mother shushes three younger boys; her father speaks softly and carries a serious air. There’s no work in the city, he explains. The family moved from a nearby village when drought caused their crops to fail, but work here is not as easy to find as he’d hoped. Every morning he wakes before sunrise and walks to the market, hoping to be hired as a delivery man or labourer on one of the city’s many construction sites. If he’s successful, he can feed his children. If not, they go hungry.
When you ask Promise what is the best support she has received from the church and Compassion, she says she only eats a portion of her lunch each day so she can bring the rest home for her brothers. She also has books and pens now, and she shares her school lessons with them, too.
Back at the hotel that night, in your debrief of the day, you share about Promise and her family. As you go to bed, you say a prayer for them, that her father will find regular work.
Day 7: Rest day
After such an exciting start to the trip and action-packed schedule, you’re happy to slow down and spend a day with a bit more time up your sleeve. Most of your group visits the Kigali Genocide Memorial in the afternoon. As you wander through and read the stories of people cut down in the midst of their daily lives, a heaviness settles on your heart. How can people do this to each other? It’s impossible to fathom how this can happen; how God can allow this to happen. How He allows families like Promise’s to barely scrape by when so many others have so much. You’re still wrestling with these questions as you travel back to the hotel. You realise you will still be wrestling with them as you travel home. There are no easy answers.
Day 8: A day at the Child Survival Program
You drive to the outskirts of Kigali to visit a Child Survival Program. The buzz of the city gives way to a semi-rural setting. The church is quiet. When you arrive, the registered mothers are gathered in small groups, bouncing their babies on their knees and discussing a Bible passage. Your group spreads out and sits, not wanting to interrupt.
After prayers, the mothers break and come back to the mats on the floor with you. Lots of smiles and nods—and cuddles!—and then the instructor begins sharing about bathing a baby, using a doll and a small plastic tub. She gives the mothers the opportunity to practise and ask questions.
A few of the mothers share their testimonies of daily life before and after they became involved at the church, with a simplicity that belies their hardship. They emphasise their sense of belonging to the program, the peace that prayer now brings them, the hope that they have dared to dream over their babies. It seems fragile, this hope, but later, as you think about it and debrief with your group, the picture that comes to you is of slender saplings—bending with the wind but not breaking, putting down unseen roots.
Day 9: A day at the Child Survival Program
Today, you walk around with Ruth, a Child Survival Program worker, as she visits the mothers in their homes to follow up yesterday’s lessons about the importance of good hygiene.
You visit Francoise, a 19-year-old mother who is raising her son, Ebenezer, alone. She won’t speak about her baby’s father, Ruth tells you. The program workers don’t even know who he is. She turned up at the program when she was seven months pregnant, asking for help. Ruth shares how important it is to visit Francoise and the other mothers regularly in their homes, where they feel comfortable to share their more intimate joys and struggles. Francoise is slowly warming to the group and the staff. Her silence is like a wall built with stones, Ruth shares, but the stones are crumbling. “God will help her to take it down,” says Ruth, smiling with tears in her eyes.
Day 10: Visit Mugisha, your sponsored child
The day you’ve been anticipating the most, ever since you saw the Rwanda Trip on the Compassion website and thought, “I wonder…”
It’s actually a wonderful thing that you’ll get to visit Mugisha in his home; from what your field experience coordinator has told you, it isn’t always possible logistically.
Mugisha is standing right at the front of the group when you arrive; his school socks are pulled up high and his hair cut short. You think of your own son on his first day of school—that’s how nervous and excited he looks. You think you probably look the same.
The two of you spend some time at the Compassion centre; he’s excited to lead you around and show you his classroom, his pictures on the wall and the dusty football field at the back. The local staff translate your questions and put you at ease with their good humour and the relaxed way they talk about their work with the children.
His mum shares how your support has helped her family to buy chickens and earn a little money to supplement her wage as a market worker; Mugisha’s father only gets occasional work as a labourer and your gift has meant she can send Mugisha’s younger sister to school as well. It’s humbling and hard to fathom how a small gift can make such a profound difference in a little girl’s life.
Day 11: A day out with your sponsored children
A day at the museum with Mugisha and his family? Sounds like a great time! He’s hopping with excitement when you arrive to collect him and his mother and sister for a big day. Half a dozen members of your group also have invited their sponsored children, and you make quite a crew when you’re all together.
The museum is fascinating, but the real joy is in sharing the experience with Mugisha and his sister, who drag you from exhibit to exhibit, exclaiming over the animals and trying to hop the guardrails.
Afterward, the children run and play and share a meal in the garden. Your fellow travellers are right there, playing and laughing, sitting and chatting on the sidelines with the local workers and Compassion Rwanda staff. It’s a wonderful day, and as Mugisha hugs you goodbye and promises to write, you know it’s one you will never forget.
Day 12: Debrief Day
As your trip winds down, you spend the day as a team, discussing all that you’ve seen and done (or as much as you feel comfortable sharing, anyway) and talking about what to expect as you travel home. As you laugh and cry and pray together, you look around the room and feel blessed to have had met such friends on the journey.
Your field experience leader reminds you that you need to buy souvenirs for your friends and family! Fortunately the staff have organised a trip to the local markets, where you can browse and wander, soak up the atmosphere and buy a few small items for your loved ones back at home.
Your last dinner is with the Compassion Rwanda staff who have been your constant companions throughout. As you say goodnight, you struggle to think of the right words to thank them for all they’ve done for the group. They’ve served in a joyful spirit and an utterly selfless way and they accept your thanks graciously.
Day 13: Depart Kigali, Rwanda for Sydney, Australia
And just like that, a dozen life-changing days later, it’s time to head for the airport. You’re torn as you board your flight: on one hand, overjoyed to be going home to your loved ones; one the other, sad to be leaving the country and the children that have imprinted themselves on your heart.
Day 13: Arrive home!
What a feeling to see your family, and give them a huge hug after two weeks away! You’re tired but eager to share your experiences. You say goodbye to the group as some of them head for the domestic transfer gate; you’re happy you will speak to them again soon as part of your debrief.
You rest your head on the back of the car seat and gaze out the window. Your home town is so similar to Kigali and yet so different. One thing’s for sure: your city might not have changed in the past two weeks, but you certainly have.
Compassion Rwanda in pictures
- Return international economy class airfares from Sydney
- Travel Insurance
- All in-country transportation costs
- All costs associated with visas
- All in-country accommodation based on twin share
- All in-country meals including daily bottled water
- Sponsored child fun-day venue costs and visits to any tourist attractions
- Preparing-to-go training series, to help you get the most from your experience
Each Insight Trip cost is subject to airfares and exchange rate fluctuations. The final price will be advised once airfares have been confirmed (approximately six months prior to departure).
Your Australian Field Experience leader will be:
Ian Stanfield, Field Experience Coordinator
Compassion staff for nine years in June 2017. Coordinated short-term missions for more than 20 years as a senior pastor.
"What I really love is seeing people become like Jesus—going on a trip with Compassion is a good way to watch that happen."
Ian Stanfield will play a key role in preparing your group in the weeks before you set off on your trip, and ensure you have opportunities to get to know each other.
The group will also be hosted by local Compassion staff upon arrival, who will arrange local transport and meals and will be your guides, translators and friends as you travel.
‘Preparing to Go’ video series
Ensure you get the most from your trip by joining our ‘Preparing to Go’ training series. When you embark on a Compassion field experience, it’s much more than just a visit to see Compassion at work. It’s a chance for God to impact lives and for you to learn more about God’s heart for the poor. The ‘Preparing to Go’ video and discussion series will help prepare your heart and head for what’s to come.
Not-included in Insight Trip cost
- Travel from your hometown to group departure point in Sydney
- Travel documents such as your passport
- Immunisations (it is each traveller's responsibility to seek relevant medical advice prior to leaving Australia)
- Excess baggage fees, including fees related to exceeding weight limits or number of pieces allowed
- Additional snacks, mini-bar, shopping, gifts for your sponsored child or souvenirs purchased in-country
- Internet, phone calls or laundry services while traveling
- Additional travel at the conclusion of the Insight Trip. Some travellers choose to stay on and make their own arrangements to travel privately before returning to Australia. Compassion partners with Escape Travel, an Australian-based provider that can assist you with personal travel arrangements if needed.
You will be issued with two invoices to cover the total cost of this Field Experience:
Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
- Payment one: $300 per person, which is your deposit and must be paid by the due date on the invoice to secure your place on the Field Experience.
- Payment two: the bulk of the Field Experience costs, due approximately six months before departure.
- Payment three: the balance of your Field Experience package, due approximately three months before departure (if you qualify for the early-bird discount, this balance will be reduced accordingly).
- Invoice two is for any additional costs related to visiting your sponsored child, and will be sent out one or two months before departure. If you do not incur any additional costs outside of the planned Field Experience, you will not receive invoice two.
- Invoice one will be for the payments below. Each payment will be listed as a separate item on the invoice with its own due date.
You will be provided with a Traveller Agreement, which includes all terms and conditions to be examined and confirmed prior to departure.
Key aspects of this Field Experience information include:
- Child Protection
- Media/Image capture and use
- Health and Safety (including immunisations and pre-existing medical conditions)
- Travel Documentation
- Travel Insurance
- Acknowledgement and Release
- Insight Trip deposits ($300 per person) are nonrefundable
- Fifty percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than three months before departure
- One hundred percent of the Insight Trip cost will be required for cancellations less than one month before departure
- Although rare, in the event that Compassion feels it is necessary to cancel a trip, a full refund will be given to all travellers