I love Rwanda, I truly do, but I am really excited for my upcoming vacation to America! I think when you add up all the challenges you face in Peace Corps, from pit latrines to difficulties at work, the biggest obstacle of all is simply distance. You can replicate a lot of the comforts of home here but you can’t exactly clone your family members. I have wonderful friends here and Rwandese mothers who take care of me like I am their own, but there is no substitute for family! Everyone wants to know what I am going to do when I am home or what my first meal will be and, quite honestly, I don’t really care. The longer I am away from home the more I am starting to realize that it doesn’t really matter what you are doing but who you are doing it with. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to eat good food and I have missed the beauty of Colorado tremendously, but I would be content to spend the entire time just hanging out with the people I love. So for now I am working on cleaning my room, packing my bags, and counting down the number of days until I get off the plane in Denver! In case you missed the title of this post the current answer is five.
In other news, unrelated to my journey to America, I received my first black eye in Rwanda this weekend.
I was down at the orphanage watching a football (soccer) match between the Mamas and the children. I was very alert and observant throughout the game because I had a few kiddos on my lap and I was relieved when I went the whole time without a ball hitting me since we were sitting on the edge of the field. Once the game ended I relaxed a bit and let my guard down and when Sonya (one of the kids on my lap) asked me a question I looked away from the field just in time for a ball to come flying through the air and into my face. It was really painful but the boys who were responsible felt awful so I tried to downplay the pain. I was secretly hoping it would bruise a little because my philosophy is that when something really hurts you need the physical proof so people feel sufficiently bad for your injury and subsequent suffering- is this weird? This is probably not a common desire, or maybe not even healthy, but it probably stems from a childhood of fighting with my brother when we needed physical proof to implicate the other child in any sort of crime. It is not that impressive of a black eye but there is some nice bruising and swelling all the same. Here are a few other photos from the weekend:
Sonya spent the majority of the match guarding my bag on the swing.
Enjoying some time on the swings with Cody. In the past few months he has finally started talking in both English and Kinyarwanda! His vocabulary is still very limited but he knows how to say “me” whenever he wants to be included ,”yes” anytime you ask him a question (regardless of his comprehension of said question) and how to count to three when he is being pushed on the swing- so pretty much all the important stuff!
Today I was down at the orphanage for church and Cody was running around chewing on a toy pig and he ran straight into me with his arms up in the air. It doesn’t require language skills to demand that someone pick you up so I swooped him up and settled him onto my hip and started swaying gently since the choir was singing. For a few moments he was resting his head on my shoulder and I was thinking about how precious he is and how much I love him. Just then he whipped around, pulled a chunk of my hair out, wiped his drool on my dress, and jumped out of my arms to go hunt down his next unsuspecting victim. He is still precious but perhaps a little less so as I examine a small bald patch on the side of my head!
The amazing JoJo family. I don’t actually know their last name since I call the parents Mama and Papa JoJo. It is customary in Rwanda for the parents, especially the mother, to go by Mama and then the name of her first child. In the back row is JoJo, Papa JoJo, Mama JoJo, and Fabrice. The front row (L-R) is Ines, Sonya, and little David. They are a truly incredible family and work very hard to keep the orphanage running. They live on site and treat all their children like they are their own kids.
Well this is probably the last post for a while but maybe I will come up with something really exciting to write about before I head home- tuzareba (we will see).