As birds sing morning songs to begin their days, Eugene Bahire, in charge of Tours and Visits at Compassion’s Rwanda office, starts his day with a morning prayer at 5:30 and prepares himself for work.
He leaves home at 6:30 a.m. and takes 45 minutes to reach his office.
After morning devotions with all Compassion Rwanda staff, which normally start at 8 a.m. and last an hour, he shifts his focus to Tours and Visits communications.
“I make sure that I have enough relevant information about the child before confirming a visit date for a sponsor or a tour.
“Having gotten the news that a child will be visited on a certain date, the student center social worker visits the child’s home ahead of time to prepare the family members or guardians living with the child, and of course some preparations are made at the student center as well.”
Eugene enjoys his job, which he longed for even while he was still at the university.
“Ever since my university time, my ambitions were to work for a Christian organization, and so this is an absolute answer of prayer to me.
“I am always happy and motivated to advocate for people in times of need, and I enjoy learning about different cultural values.”
Gifted with cultural diversity, mostly resulting from his country’s (Rwanda) history, Eugene was born in Uganda in 1976, where he had his primary education. He later moved to join his brother who was living in Kenya, and from there had his junior secondary education.
He returned to Rwanda with his parents right after the 1994 genocide. He successfully completed high school and began university where he gained greater influence in both academic and spiritual aspects.
Eugene holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a specialization in human resource management.
He is a devoted Christian, married and has worked as Tours and Visits Team Lead for three years.
“I am married to Joy, and God blessed us with a wonderful, precious and treasured daughter whose name is Grace.
“We all love God. My wife and I are in charge of the English service at our local church, and God has used us as instruments of His word to the congregation. We serve in the ministry closely with our senior pastor.”
Eugene’s job is quite demanding in terms of commitment and dedication. At times he overworks himself and returns home late at night, but he’s driven by the kind and caring hearts of sponsors.
“I have been touched by the heart of sponsors and the love they have for children. I love the sponsor and child hug. It’s a natural feeling that builds intimacy between them.”
“I would like to give an example of a couple from Australia who met all their 12 sponsored children at once, had a fun day and shared lunch together.
“Each of these children had a story to tell and they said they would never forget that day because of their sponsors who shared a special day with them, chatting and playing games together.
“They gave them the best dish for lunch and each had a take-home package of various items from the supermarket for their first time.”
When sponsors do individual visits, they either visit the child at the development center and do a home visit, or meet in a good environment for recreation with the child and the center staff.
In Rwanda, offices and business enterprises close on some special days, like the last Saturday of every month, which is set aside for community work, countrywide, and during the annual genocide memorial, April 7-14.
Scheduling visits can be tricky if sponsors have requested to visit on those days.
During a visit, the center staff takes some time to educate and share with the sponsor about their local programs for holistic development of the child as well as social benefits.
As Rwanda is a country of a thousand hills, its topography affects field activities often, particularly with communication and transportation issues.
“Some of our church partners are located in places which are not easily accessible due to lack of proper roads. At times, visits are long days and are very tiring for the host and sponsors.
“Some of our visits occur in places where there’s no mobile network coverage and at certain moments a cell phone becomes useless.
“Also, I am dreaming of a day when the church partners will no longer have a language barrier. For the case of my country, many people at church partner level are not able to express themselves in English.
“I am thinking that if the learning materials would be available to them, they would quickly learn the language and this would be an advantage for sponsor visits.”
Working with and for children is a blessing to Eugene.
“My job has taught me not to be self-centered, but instead to think about others.
“It’s been a blessing to work with and for children, and this gives me the hope and courage to look at them as future leaders and influential people in the society.
“With all that in mind, I believe that God will continually do wonderful things in our lives if at all we are bound together in His love.”