Narrow Road House

By Gary Janzen

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A dear musician friend from Canada, Ezrwa Kwizera, created a safe place called Narrow Road for orphaned kids in Rwanda who were no longer welcome at their previous orphanage.

To receive care and be accepted by an orphanage typically you have to fall into a certain age range. Past a certain age, there are orphans that are asked to leave from their current orphanages. Ezrwa created Narrow Roads for kids -- for whatever reason did not have a safe space -- to be able to have a place to called home and get training and support to create a life of independence for themselves.

 Gary teaching a class at Narrow Road.

Gary teaching a class at Narrow Road.

As a missionary, we have to understand the incredible challenge of dire poverty and survival mentality that the people we help have. The people that live in dire poverty don’t necessarily see past the next meal. We can make a difference from the ground up by instilling them with character, values, and leadership that will help him or her grow.

We were invited to go and share a class to the residents there. It was an amazing time but I distinctly remember one young man in his early twenties asking a very difficult question.

There were single mom’s, but mostly young men.

We were doing a lesson on Honesty.

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This young man was very attentive and engaged, but at the end he put his hand up and asked, “so you mean to tell me that we should be honest in everything we do?

“Do you see that big house up on the hill there?” I nodded that I had observed that very BIG house on the hill.

He continued, “we all know what he did to get that place and we KNOW that he wasn’t honest in all of his dealings!”

“Also, if and when the police come to my door and they ask me where my Dad is, because they want to arrest him because he stole food from the vendor. You want me to tell them where he is? That is our only food source as there is no work available for my dad, so if he goes to jail, we are all hungry again! “

The young man said, “so, tell me again why I am supposed to be Honest?”

If you were in my position, how would you have answered this young man?

 The young adults at Narrow Roads with their Kugana textbooks.

The young adults at Narrow Roads with their Kugana textbooks.

This experience has only helped shape our understanding of Rwandan society and has removed our ability to provide simple answers to complex situations. There is more to what we should do than teaching theory, its giving a foundation in principles and values so they can apply it to their success.

Francis Chiu