Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Five Loaves and Two Fish/105 Eggs & Some Salad

Found in all four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is the miracle of Jesus feeding a crowd of 5,000 people.   According to the Bible, Jesus had gone off alone in a boat to mourn the beheading of John the Baptist.  People began gathering at the shore upon hearing Jesus was nearby.  

According to Matthew 14:14-21:  

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late.  Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said.

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass.  Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.  Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.

They all ate and were satisfied  and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Today I mentioned to Sterling, the Anti Coach, "I feel like I'm feeding the 5,000 with my five loaves and two fish.

Cyclists are always hungry.  That's a simple fact of the sport.

Our Rwandan cyclists are always hungry but never have enough food.  Local cyclists, juniors, club riders, national team hopefuls not in camp show up every day to have a bike repaired, to ask for some shorts, or to keep their friends company.  Our door is always open and we are always feeding someone.

We have a 15 year old junior, Eric, all fight, 49kgs and a smile that can melt even the hardest hearts.  He got me months ago.  Most of our riders are poor or come from very poor backgrounds.  Eric is a whole new level of poor even for Rwanda.  His father is dead and his mother has three younger children by her second husband who left for Uganda seven years ago and never came back.  Sterling told me the other day he's worried about Eric because he never has any food and will ride down to meet the team on a training ride and will have had no breakfast and then no water or bananas for the training.  He asked if Eric could come early for breakfast. 

"Sure, why not, what's another mouth to feed," I said.  "He can stay for lunch too."

Well, Eric is staying for dinner tonight and until Thursday afternoon.  He's bunking with the team on a top bunk.  None of the older guys will sleep in a top bunk.  Eric is happy to take it.  It's a bed.  He has no bed at home.  He sleeps on the floor.  I will be buying him a mattress and taking it to his house on Thursday.  Five loaves, two fish...and a mattress.

Eva, another 15 year old junior, who recently lost his father while his mother continues to struggle with a chronic illness, came today to get his biked fixed.  He wants to race this weekend.  He brought along another club rider from Gisenyi.  I see them sitting on the curb across from the garage hanging out, waiting, petting Shaka.  I walk in the kitchen and see Thomas and Catherine buried in chapatti dough.  I grab a pan and some eggs and head to my house where I fried up six eggs and went back to the kitchen and grabbed some cold rice out of the refrigerator.  I called Eva and his friend over to the kitchen asking if they were hungry.  No rider, ever, in the history of Team Rwanda has turned down food.  I set the bowls down, got a smiley, "Thanks Mukecuru!" and walked to the garage.  

There sat Sibo, Joseph aka Mr. Grumpy's half brother.  Apparently Joseph's dad has two wives.  

"Joseph, I didn't see you, are you hungry?"

"Yes, Mukecuru"

"Ok...stay for lunch... ok?"

A big yes and an even bigger smile.

Money is always tight with this team.  There is never a time when we have "enough".  But we always have food.  These kids will never leave hungry.  

I have a split second moment of holy crap how am I going to pay for all of this but then I just think...5 loaves, 2 fish...we are not going hungry.  

Our food runs us about $300/day with camps.  We grow a lot but don't have all the vegetables.  The market food (vegetables/bananas) are inexpensive.  Eggs are cheap, all other protein is insanely expensive.  Thomas and Catherine always seem to make what looks like not enough be more than enough.

As I had my holy crap moment, commenting to Sterling about how I felt I was a disciple with my 5 loaves and 2 fish, I received an email from the Federation saying they had just received 5,000,000RWF ($6,600USD) from the Ministry of Sport for food for the team.  The President (yes, the President of the country) had said he would pay for food this year for the team.

Thank you Jesus...via President Kagame.

Tomorrow we pick up two Burundian cyclists who finally were able to get through the border to Rwanda.  

5 loaves and 2 fish

....150 eggs....2 cans of porridge....heads and heads of lettuce from the garden...10 chickens....4 wheels of cheese....3 cartons of milk....kilos and kilos of rice, potatoes and pasta

Every Rwandan cyclist eats here at ARCC

5 loaves 2 fish....and lots of coffee for me!

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