Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Relaxing Weekend

Day 14
Today is the usual schedule, but no kitchen gardens so we have time to work on homework in the morning. We teach at Covaga and interview some of the women with the help of translators. Then, we teach at the Health Center. We have great conversations with the students; they tell us about their mornings which all begin around 5AM or 6AM with a breakfast of beans, rice, and cassava. It’s fun to get to hear about their families and jobs. We’re all exhausted from the busy week, and we’re glad it’s Friday.
We say goodbye to the Canadians at a dinner outside next to a bonfire. We speak over candles, and it African fried chicken (SO GOOD).
Day 15
Today, we have the entire day off. We take the morning to rest, read, and work on homework. At lunch time, we head to Yvone’s where we meet Rowan, a WSU student who worked with Covaga, and Ray, a journalist from Los Angeles. It’s great to have the day off, but we’re not used to finding something to do in such a small town. We survey the main street of town, a bunch of clay buildings lining a dusty road. What should we do?
Rowan tells us about a bar where he used to eat shish kabobs or brochettes, and drink beer after a long day of work. So we go there to hear stories of his travels. He tells us about how he chased a giraffe, and how it was the most awkward and majestic thing he’d ever seen.When they bring out the brochettes, several chunks of goat meat on sticks, we feel that we’ve finally found heaven. The brochettes are the perfect changeup to our usual diet here in Rwanda. 
As it starts to get dark, we continue conversing and ordering brochettes, which take about 45 minutes to make. In the middle of eating a fresh, hot order, a man pulls two fresh goats into the bar’s yard. We hear them crying and set our shish kabobs down. As we’re all worrying about the goats, Nicole says, “I’m more like, ‘Are those ones about to be ready soon?’” When we go to the toilet, yes a hole in the ground and a disgusting one at that, we see the goats tied up to a tree. This is Africa, no worries.
Rogers entertains us, as usual. He says he’s going into Kigali, and that he could run. Nicole, the cackler, says, “Let’s just run to Kigali. Let’s just do it.” Rogers says it’d take him about 4 hours to get there.
When we ask him how he felt about the Canadians, he says, “Old people, you know, they happen.”
This may sound brash, but in Rwanda, age is something you have not something you are. Therefore, it sounds funny to us, but could very well be a compliment.

Day 16
After breakfast we take bicycle taxis to the Gashora Girls Academy for church. My Vibram Five Fingers have the bicyclists laughing hysterically on the way to the school.
The service is unlike any other. Some girls stand in front of the room and sing, clap, and dance. Their voices are unlike any we’ve ever heard, and we can feel their faith in our skin as they close their eyes and tilt their heads toward the ceiling.
A few girls stand up to say what their thankful for. Many of them are thankful for the knowledge they are given, and thankful that studying for exams is almost over. They start exams on Tuesday and they go until Friday.
I receive a tour of their dorm rooms from a young girl named Marine. They look very similar to army dorms. Except their beds are all made with patterned quilts, mosquito nets hang above their bunk beds, the cement floors are spotless, and racks of drying underwear and uniforms hang from bedposts, their uniforms. When we pass by their living room, Marine says, “This is our living room; it’s a little messy because we’ve been studying.” Messy to Marine is a couple of pillows overturned.
During lunch time, we’re once again astounded by the intelligence of these women. They love movies, which they get to watch on Saturdays, and they especially love the scary ones. They love to read, and in English class they get to write stories and present things about themselves. It sounds similar to a foreign language class in the U.S. We enjoy corn for the first time since leaving home, and apparently, the girls love corn too. Even though they have more studying to do, some of them spend a lot of time chatting with us.
When we get home, we all rest, sit by Lake Rumira, and pretend to work on our final essays. 

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