Today I did something I haven't done any time in recent memory: I turned on my email autoresponder.


I'm getting ready for my upcoming trip to Rwanda. I shared back in July that -- much to my amazement and great joy -- I had been selected as a recipient of Catholic Relief Services Egan Fellowship. Today, I am in Seattle on a short trip with my husband Greg for a conference he is attending. From here, I will depart tomorrow morning for Baltimore, Maryland, where CRS has their Headquarters office. On Friday, we will have a day of orientation with CRS staff. On Saturday morning, our trip will begin from the airport in Washington, D.C.

Although I've been anticipating this trip for months, I find myself a bit overwhelmed as we prepare to travel such a great distance. Part of effectively sharing this trip with all of you involves advance planning to make sure that I will have all I need to best report on the experience.

I thought -- for posterity's sake and also for those of you planning a trip like this -- that I'd share a bit of my packing experience. First and foremost, I have my passport, shot record, travel medication (for malaria and Cipro in case of traveler's diarrhea).

In my work kit, I have a small Acer Chromebook, an iPad, my new Galaxy Note 3 (for photos and videos, used on "airplane mode") and a new iSound Portable Power Max for extra battery life. Additionally I have a power strip, multiple charging cords, earbuds with microphone and power adapters. We've been told that we will have access to wifi, so I want to be well prepared to share the trip via this blog and also social media while I'm in Rwanda.

I have clothes packed too... probably too many. I decided to try a new system, rolling my clothes and packing them in packing cubes. Our days will be relatively warm, but also potentially rainy, so I've packed light layers and an extra pair of walking shoes. While in Rwanda, we will be conducting interviews and meeting with CRS staff, as well as Bishop Philippe Rukamba of the Diocese of Butare, so I have packed on indestructible black dress that will likely see several wearings. Along with the rest of my toiletries, I have some amazingly strong bug spray, sunscreen and enough medicine to outfit a small pharmacy. I think I'm ready, but have likely forgotten something important.

What I haven't forgotten is my Rosary. I look forward to praying the Rosary in multiple places around Rwanda -- including Kibeho -- and will be carrying many of your intentions with me. Our primary goal as Egan Fellows is

" witness firsthand the work of CRS and the Catholic Church on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. CRS has been active in Rwanda since 1960 and began an immediate response to the emergency needs of the ravaged country following the 1994 genocide. Today, CRS and the Church continue their work in Rwanda in a number of sectors, including peacebuilding, agriculture, health and microfinance."

I'll be posting again over the next few days but do ask that you keep all of us travelers and the CRS staff who will be guiding us in your prayers. I can't wait to share this adventure with you!

Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey