Rosa first met Solome in November 2012 while conducting home visits and volunteering for a micro-loan organization. Ayinkamiye Solome had received a loan to raise rabbits which she hoped would generate an income to support her family. One year before, a landslide washed away the family’s home and they could not afford to build a new one. Solome, her husband Issac and their four daughters had been living in a corrugated metal structure with a tarp roof.
Felix translated their ongoing struggle and it resonated deeply within Rosa. Solome and her husband, Kiyoge Issac, are genocide survivors. Issac lost an eye from shrapnel and suffers from PTSD which escalates in April, the anniversary of the genocide. Solome and Issac are both HIV+. While they receive antiretrovirals from their government, they often do not have enough food in the morning to take with their medications. This causes stomach issues which makes working difficult.
As they walked home, Rosa recalls discussing Solome’s hardships with Felix. She remembers the moment Felix turned to her and said, “You should come back next year and build them a house." Rosa initially thought this was impossible as she knew nothing about fundraising or building houses in Rwanda. However, the seed Felix had planted germinated and by the time Rosa was flying home, she knew . . . in a year . . . she would return to build Solome and her family a new home.
In April 2014, a team of masons along with Rosa, Felix, Solome and her family worked together to build them a new home.
The house was constructed over the course of one month, at a cost of $2,500.
Thanks to generous donations from Rosa's friends and family Solome, Issac, and their four daughters moved into their home and began a new life.
This is just the beginning.
Every year Rosa travels back to her second home in Rwanda to facilitate the construction of new houses. The reunion between Rosa and Solome is always joyous and heartfelt, as a special bond has developed between them over the years. Solome has turned her house into a home and even has an extensive vegetable garden with fruit trees.
Today, Solome’s daughters are thriving. Emerance is married and a primary school teacher. Gentille is also married and recently gave birth to her first child. Jeanette and Joyce still live at home while attending secondary school and Solome works as seamstress to help support her family. Little did they know more houses would be constructed and a community of Inshuti would soon be built around them