In May 2009 a young man named Manzi entered our life for the first time. Little did we know that he would have such an impact on our hearts and minds in that 10 minute meeting in Musanze, Rwanda. There was something about Manzi, so unique that I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but I knew instantly that he had “IT”. Looking into his eyes I could see the drive and determination deep in his soul to create a better world. A better world not only himself but for the people of Rwanda. When I asked him what he wanted to be after graduating high school, he said with intense passion “I want to be a medical doctor – I want to change the world through medicine.” When he spoke those words, I had no doubt that he will do just what he proclaimed. Even against all of the odds stacked up against this young man from a poor developing world like Rwanda, Manzi’s mantra is “No Excuses”.
“How can this be?” I ask myself. When everywhere I turn I hear people making excuses about why they cannot succeed in a land with extreme abundance and opportunity? Could it be that we even take our opportunity in the USA for granted? Living in Rwanda, Manzi has every logical reason to make excuses about why he can’t go to college and why his dream of becoming a Neurosurgeon might not happen. Yet, over the last several weeks, I’ve communicated with Manzi often and he has convinced me that he will make his dreams come true against all odds. He has taught me to reflect back on my own years in college and realize how immature and ungrateful I had let myself become. I took my opportunities for an education for granted like so many and let silly excuses get in the way of my success. How foolish I feel looking back on that time now. Our opportunities have become so plentiful that we toss them aside knowing that another one is right around the corner without any regard for the millions of deserving people who crave to taste just one.
It is mind-blowing to me now to see the way we “expect” the education, the job, the promotions and the ridiculous salaries of so many who complain about the most mundane issues on a daily basis. A mind-set of “what’s in it for me?” overshadows their own internal need to contribute their skills and talents and just be grateful what they have.
So, a ten minute chance meeting with a young man from Rwanda has changed my heart and my mind – praise God for that. We Americans can help the people of Rwanda by sharing our knowledge, training, technology and business acumen. Trust me, this pales in comparison to the lessons that Rwandans can teach us about gratitude, love, faith and determination. We had “IT” once and we’ve allowed the glutenous desires of the majority to take over that in which this land was built upon. In God we Trust and in His service was, and should become again, our focus to save this nation from ourselves. Let us not be so arrogant to think that we have all of the knowledge and the answers and open our hearts and minds to learn from others.
Manzi’s dream to become a Neurosurgeon is only part of his vision. Manzi is a leader of tomorrow for Rwanda and my dream is to empower Manzi with the opportunities that he needs and deserves for a better world. If you would like to help create an opportunity for Manzi, please email me.