A Rebeka Update

This morning I woke up to a superpower email. I’ve been inviting people to send me their superpower and then posting them on my website because “we all have superpowers,” a theme of my next book, The Minor Miracle. These always give me a thrill, but this one in particular made my heart go ZING! Cathryn G. writes:

I have the superpower of determination. I have arthrogryposis and have had many casts and a surgery to fix my feet. I am not afraid of big challenges.

This connected my first two  books in such a sweet way. Rebeka Uwitonze and Noah Minor are both superheroes. So is Cathryn G.  I can’t wait to ask Rebeka what she’d say her superpower is. She may just choose the same power as Cathryn.

I’ve had several nudges over the past month to post an update on Rebeka, including letters from three families who’ve reached out after reading Her Own Two Feet because they have kids who also have arthrogryposis. It’s so cool that they have been encouraged by Rebeka’s story, and amazing to see how our book finds its way into different reader’s hands.

These families with these brave, strong kids, want to connect and share their own stories, and they are eager to know how Rebeka is doing. They aren’t the only ones. I get this question a lot, because Rebeka’s circle was wide. She had a lot of friends and supporters and cheerleaders. So how is she doing?

Great! We actually got to see her August 2022. Alayna and Choi weren’t able to come since River was still tiny, but the rest of us had an amazing visit with her family.

Everyone has grown up so much. Medea (in the pink dress) is a young woman now, just like Rebeka. I love seeing the butterfly t-shirt on Dukwandanay. These girls are all strong like butterflies, and all four sisters are in school, thanks to Africa New Life.

Rebeka’s family has been able to use the money earned from our book to enlarge their garden, and they sell much of the produce to provide for their family.

Rebeka’s father in their flourishing garden

Medea helped Rebeka learn how to walk in the garden, and now the garden has grown, just like the two sisters!

In Her Own Two Feet, you read about all the beautiful snowflakes that hung from the ceiling of Rebeka’s home. They finally started to fall apart and so they’ve traded them out for something bright and festive.

But while some things have changed, many have stayed the same. Rebeka’s parents exude joy. Her father gives the best hugs, and her mother has such a beautiful smile. Her dad has always had a special affection for Benji. When he was younger, he would pick Benji up and hug him tight.

He’s a bit old for that now, but I think if he could, he still would. Rebeka’s dad loves Benji.

As for school, Rebeka is now in tenth grade and at the top of her class. We took a picture in front of the upper school where she attends class at Africa New Life Academy in Kayonza.

It’s been a year and a half since we made this trip, but Nate’s wife Jordan is working for Africa New Life and she made a trip to Rwanda in January this year, so I’ll leave you with this last picture for this edition of  “The Rebeka Update.”

She’s got glasses now! And they are adorable. She also looks very spiffy in her school uniform, a real scholar. We are so proud of Rebeka, and so excited to see what her future holds. Her life is a major miracle, and an inspiration to many, including me.

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