Is Olive not the most adorable child? Her mother works for the school and sometimes helps out at Heather’s house as well so Olive hangs around while her mama is working. Not only is she a beautiful child but she is very sweet and extremely well behaved- you can’t really beat that combination!
I had an amazing time visiting Heather and it was really interesting to explore a new part of Rwanda. The physical landscape of the East is completely different than the South where I live. The East is almost completely flat (in comparison to enormous hills at my site) and any road you take is surrounded by a sea of banana trees. We had some difficulties getting out to her place because of rain (the bus leaked water on us for most of the trip) and some miscommunications about the final destination of our bus but we eventually made it. When you get to the main road you find a motorcycle to take you down the road about 6 kilometers to Heather’s house. When we arrived she was ecstatic to see that they were finally installing electricity in her house! We walked to her school (right across from her house) so I could greet her students. They were wonderful and I even got to see her Senior 4 class preform a choreographed dance to Justin Bieber’s Baby song. I was shocked to see how poor her school compared to mine and a big storm came through a few weeks ago and destroyed some of the classrooms (the wind ripped the sheet metal off so there are no roofs) so they have been forced to turn their teacher’s room into a classroom. After visiting her students (boy do they love her!) we headed back to her house and I had the pleasure of watching Heather celebrate having electricity for the first time in 13 months! Then some kids showed up to greet me and we ended up playing catch with a baseball for a while before walking to visit the health center. That night we cooked dinner together (macaroni and cheese and a delicious veggie dish that is as close to a salad as you can get in the village) and then turned in for the night.
Heather’s French press broke but that doesn’t keep her from making coffee- she is a resourceful coffee addict! 🙂
On Saturday, after a quiet morning of lounging around in her house listening to music, I was able to introduce some of her village kids to the wonder of bubbles. Baraka was probably the most enthusiastic bubble hunter I have ever seen and would scream with joy while chasing down every last bubble he could.
Eventually word spread about the bubbles and Heather’s visitor and we had quite a crowd of kiddos who showed up in the backyard. Pretty soon we were running what we called “Abana Daycare.” Abana means children in Kinyarwanda. We took photos, played games, fed them a snack, gave some hugs, and sent them on their way.
Heather played frisbee with the kids but it ended up being a weird game of fetch. Heather would toss it into the corner of the yard and all the kids would chase it down and bring it back to her. It is a unique variation on the original concept of frisbee but the kids really loved it!
Baraka: aka the cutest child model ever!
We also taught them duck-duck-goose which we adapted to be ihene-ihene-inka (goat-goat-cow). Most of them understood pretty well but when it came time for little Baraka to be the cow he ran in huge circles around the yard until he got tired and returned to the group so we could resume the game. I am assuming most of these kids slept pretty well last night considering the energy the expended at our daycare!
After frisbee I gathered the kids to play catch with a baseball while Heather headed inside to cook igikoma (a sugar-infused porridge concoction) to feed them. When she finished we had them line up and come inside her house. Since we didn’t have enough cups for each child we split them into teams and each team (3 kids) sat together and shared a cup. We even had enough for refills and the kiddos were in heaven!
After their snack we were pretty exhausted from running an impromptu daycare and we sent the kiddos on their way. Some of Heather’s students arrived for a visit right around this time and we had a quick photo shoot in the yard before the rain came.
After the rain stopped we went to visit one of Heather’s friends Jackie who is a community health worker. For the majority of the first hour of the visit we were left alone in the sitting room while Jackie finished cooking and then we were served a massive amount of food and spent the next few hours chatting and playing with her youngest daughter, Fanny. One of Jackie’s daughters, Aline, who is Heather’s student, came in towards the end of the visit to put henna on Heather’s nails. She used a razor blade to scrape off her current polish, which made me cringe, but it was a successful salon visit and Heather was excited show off her henna to her students on Monday. When it started to get dark we headed home and Jackie and Fanny walked us almost the entire way back to Heather’s house. Fanny walked between us, holding both our hands, while passing out smug glances to the other children as if to say, “Look at me and my two white friends!”
I left bright and early this morning and even though it was a wonderful visit I am looking forward to seeing my nuns and students again this week!