Well the visitors are gone. I could probably write a small novel about our time together but I will give you the highlights. Towards the end of our trip we went to visit my friend Heather, who is a volunteer living out East in a house surrounded by a sea of banana trees and screaming primary school children. We arrived just in time to watch a girl’s football (soccer) match and my visitors were introduced to the true Rwandan experience of having hundreds of people circle around you and stare with completely blank faces until something else more entertaining becomes available. They handled it like champs. I think they would all be fine Peace Corps volunteers, especially Dave. Throughout the trip he was constantly pulling things out of his bag that you would never expect. Short a bug net? Dave has one. Need an extra pair of binoculars on the safari? Ask Dave. Little lost? Borrow his compass. It was seriously crazy how well prepared he was.
Ok, back to the trip. We watched the match and then met with Heather’s GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) club for a nice lunch together. It was the first time for them to be served a true traditional meal here where they didn’t get to serve themselves. Each bowl was filled with an enormous amount of food, a layer of boiled plantains topped with mounds of rice, cabbage, and beans. They seemed a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food they were expected to consume, and the amount of sugar as well since Fanta is cheaper than water, but they did a great job! 🙂
After lunch we had a short meeting with her GLOW club and Heather taught a lesson about diversity and then we used the tie-dye materials my mom had sent to make shirts with the girls. They had a wonderful time! We ran out of gloves so Hannah’s hands were purple for a few days but the sacrifice was for a worthy cause. We spent the night at Heather’s, along with another volunteer Sara, so sleeping arrangements were a bit unique. Hannah, Alissa, Dave, and I ended up sleeping on the floor under Dave’s bug net (seriously- he has everything) and while it was a tad uncomfortable it was free and a good location to be picked up for the safari.
The next morning the driver came to get us at Heather’s house and we were on the road at 6am. We spent two magnificent days driving through Akagera looking for animals and I feel like we were really lucky. We saw a lot of giraffes, zebras, monkeys, water buffalo, warthogs, antelope, birds, hippos and even found an elephant on the first day!
Overall it was a really wonderful trip and I am so grateful that I had the chance to share Rwanda with my best friends. Rwanda will always be a part of who I am and it is a truly unique opportunity to have friends that have been able to visit and meet all of my friends here and experience my daily life. So a big thank you to Hannah, Alissa and Dave! I had an amazing time with you and I hope it was great for you as well. I miss you already but December is just around the corner! 🙂