My three visitors have finally arrived! My two best friends from Cornell, Hannah and Alissa, came along with Alissa’s awesome husband, David, to visit Rwanda for ten days! They arrived on Sunday afternoon and we went straight to the orphanage to play with the kids and decorate t-shirts. They also paid for all of us to enjoy a feast together with the kids and missionary family with great Rwandan food and the mamas and older girls prepared a dance for us as well. After dinner the visitors headed to bed, and with the exception of a brief bout of projectile vomiting by a certain visitor who will not be named (Hannah) it was a perfect night. It was so special to able to show my friends all of the people who matter the most to me here in Rwanda and I think they really enjoyed our time at the orphanage. The mom at the missionary house even made us French toast in the morning which was quite the unexpected treat! Poor Hannah was still feeling a little queasy but like a true friend I helped her finish her breakfast and we pilled into the car to head up to my village. Hannah took a quart size plastic bag just in case and spent the last part of the ride throwing up into the previously mentioned bag like a champ. She is a team player and wanted to visit the preschool with us so we dropped the luggage at my house and walked back up the hill to the nursery school. Before I continue with the story, here are some cute shots from our time at the orphanage:
We spent three hours at the nursery school, which was a little chaotic, but I think that they enjoyed the experience. The kiddos love giving hugs and welcomed the visitors with open arms! 🙂
After the preschool Hannah decided to rest at my house and I took Dave and Alissa to visit my host family. They were very happy to receive new guests and we shared a wonderful meal together. I told my mom how much I loved her peas and she sent me home with a huge bag of peas- she sure takes care of me! When people find out that Alissa and Dave are married they always want to know how many children they have but seem content to know the number is zero since they have been married less than a year. They are just happy that Alissa is married. They enthusiastically congratulate her and then give a deep sigh of pity as they clasp my hand and tell me to be patient. Oh Rwanda, you always find a way to make me feel old. 🙂
After the visit to my host parents we found a car to take us back to my village and then walked back to my house. We had a couple hours to rest at my house before we headed across the road to visit Alice, the biology teacher from my school. She has an adorable son Arsene, who is seven months old and just as happy as can be! They served us Fanta and we talked for an hour before we returned to my house for the night. Alice and her husband Philbert were devastated to learn that they would only be in Rwanda for ten days and begged them to stay for at least a month. A nice offer if only they didn’t have those pesky job things in America.
Today we woke up early to attend church at 6am. We arrived a few minutes late but it was a beautiful service and I really enjoyed sharing my daily routine with them. After church we walked to visit Remy and spent the morning drinking tea, watching music videos, and fawning over the cuteness that is Remy. My friends agreed with me that he is indeed the cutest baby ever and he even did some dancing for them which was pretty darn adorable! Look at his big smile in this one- too cute for words! 🙂
On the walk back to school we stopped at the convent to greet some of the nuns. The oldest nun, who I call Grammie, was happy to receive us and we shared little bananas and took a few pictures before we left for school. She doesn’t speak any English, expect for the one phrase I taught her,”okie dokey”, but I translated her Kinyarwanda and Dave followed along nicely when we switched into French. A man of many talents. They loved how feisty Grammue is and when I told her that I had chocolate for her but forgot to bring it she playfully hit me and told me I am an, “umwana mubi.” A bad child. Grammie loves her chocolate. She once told me that when she dies she wants me to come back to Rwanda to cover her coffin in chocolate. But later she retracted her statement and told me I could never be a bad child so it looks like I’m in the clear. 🙂
After visiting the nuns we arrived at my school so I could teach a lesson to all of my students together. 150 kids gathered in one big room- a little crazy but they were very well behaved. They presented books to the visitors full of welcome signs we made last week and each class sang a song. Music selections included the Barney theme song (I love you, you love me), Twinkle Twinke, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. They did a wonderful job singing and we spent the rest of the hour talking about America and they had the opportunity to quiz all my visitors about their favorite food and what the best jobs are in America.
After school the orphanage director gave us a ride to our hotel in Kigali and the first order of business was to take long and glorious shower. We then ate a late lunch/early dinner at the hotel and took a bus ride to the big market in the area. Hannah and Alissa picked out fabric from my favorite umucuruzi (seller) and Alissa was measured for a skirt and Hannah a jacket. We will go back next week before they leave to pick up their clothes.
Now we are just hanging out and getting ready for bed and tomorrow we will leave bright and early for Kibogora! Stay tuned for updates on the rest of our adventures!