Making a Difference: Dentist takes talents home to Rwanda - - Jackson, MS

Making a Difference: Dentist takes talents home to Rwanda

Laurent Hategekimana spent some of the Christmas Holidays in the home of Beverly Yearwood and her family in Bovina. They met through Compassion International, an organization that allows sponsors to help children in distressed parts of the world through cooperating churches.

"The children selected, they are helped with school fees, school supplies, supplemental food if needed. They give the parents, job training if they need it. Any kind of whatever they need," Beverly said.

Beverly was introduced to Compassion International indirectly through her church, Bowmar Baptist in Vicksburg. Laurent fits into the picture because he is one of the youngsters who was helped by Compassion International. He was born in Burundi. He lost his father when he was three years old, and his family was forced to leave because of civil war when he was just six. They evacuated to nearby Rwanda. Not much safer.

"It was like starting a new life in a new country with nothing," Laurent said.

Laurent was helped with, among other things, his school fees and materials. He was so successful in his early school years he was given a governmental scholarship to college in Rwanda where he majored in dentistry and has a bachelor's degree in dental therapy. One reason he is in the United States is so his sponsors can help him get interviews at major universities here to further his dental education beyond where he has maxed-out back home. Not so he can come here and set up a big practice, but so he can take his skills back to Rwanda and use them where they are desperately needed.

"I want to help others as Compassion has helped me," Laurent said.

That's like the next logical step beyond the Golden Rule, isn't it? Not only to treat others as you would like to be treated, but to treat others with the same compassion as you have already been treated.

Just as an aside, one of the amazing things Laurent discovered about America, the electricity stays on ALL of the time here.

Laurent Hategekimana is taking his talents back home to make a difference in Rwanda, because people here have contributed to his life and made a difference in him.

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