Market Day and Reflections on Laundry

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On Saturday morning a group of us ventured down to the local market to buy ingredients to make our families dinner tonight. It is a beautiful 45-minute walk down a massive hill that offers beautiful views of the rolling hills that surround my village. Rwanda is known as the “land of a thousand hills” and it is truly spectacular just how many hills there really are! In order to spend a day at the market you must mentally prepare for the chaos of hundreds of Rwandans staring at you while you attempt to bargain for onions and tomatoes while small children swarm you and creepy men offer marriage proposals. Overall it was a rather successful outing and we were able to find everything that we wanted except for eggs. Eggs are expensive and hard to find which is odd considering the abundance of chickens running around Rwanda, but I have heard that this is because the chickens are malnourished and don’t produce as many eggs as healthy chickens. Due to my limited knowledge regarding the anatomy of chickens I have absolutely no idea if this is true but it makes sense. We were able to find a few different places that had eggs back in our village so hopefully we now have enough! My friend Michele and I are cooking dinner for both our families together tonight and we are making them “breakfast for dinner”. I think this will be good for them to branch out and be a little more creative with meals since most families here tend to make the same dishes for the same meals all the time. We will be making omelets (with onions, peppers, and tomatoes), hash browns, and French toast. I am putting my faith in Michele’s culinary abilities because I am pretty helpless in the kitchen despite the best efforts of both my American and Rwandan mothers to teach me cooking skills. We will start preparing the food later this afternoon so hopefully they enjoy the meal!

Because we went to the market yesterday I had to do my laundry this morning. I tend to dread laundry day because it is not exactly my favorite activity for a multitude of reasons. One major reason is that I am never alone in the courtyard when I do it so I always have constant supervision. This means children inspecting my clothing, my brother scolding me for scrubbing the wrong direction, and the chickens trying to splash around in my bucket of clean water. It is stressful. Another issue is the fact that doing laundry by hand is hard- it is hard on the clothing (some of my favorite items will be facing an early retirement to clothing heaven due to the excessively harsh laundry system here) and it is hard on your hands. As I have previously mentioned it is also hard on your mental health because it forces you to spend multiple hours acting as the entertainment factor for your neighbors and at a certain point the laughter can get to you. Laundry day isn’t all bad because it gives me a chance to bond with my family and it also gives me clean clothes which is wonderful, but overall it has become a stressful event that I will not miss when I move to site and will actually have privacy to wash my clothing. I would like for everyone back home to take a moment of silence in appreciation of your washing machine because you have no idea how wonderful they truly are until you don’t have one. And while you are taking this moment to be grateful for washing machines go ahead and throw in showers too because while bucket baths are great, some days you just really want a hot shower!

We have about 4.5 weeks left of training and I cannot wait to get to my site and start settling in. I will have about a month at my site before school starts so that will be great for lesson planning and getting to know my community. I am also very curious to see how Christmas will be celebrating with Catholic nuns so I will be sure to report back on all the crazy festivities that take place in the convent! 🙂

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One response »

  1. Now all you need is the song to go with the washing clothes. Sung to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.”
    “This is the way we wash our clothes, wash our clothes, wash our clothes. This is the way we wash our clothes, so early in the morning.”

    Actually that brought to mind a good question. What is the music situation there? Radio’s? Live music? Is music taught in the school at all?

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