Saturday, January 15, 2011

My family in my village!

My family had a lovely stay in my village. They met all of my friends, played with and read to the kids, went several days at a time without bathing, and learned how to cook pizza dinner with a headlamp and a frying pan. On our last afternoon, my friend Bwiza came by with a photographer and his old-fashioned film camera in tow, and bought us a couple pictures, with my family and her 5-year-old son. The fact that we had digital cameras was irrelevant; she wanted to buy this gift for all of us. (Note written January 29: the pictures came out crooked; apparently all it takes to be a Rwandan photographer is a camera and an index finger to push the trigger button).

Before visiting my village, we also had one crazy day in Gisenyi running around to see all my old coworkers, as well as my current supervisor and several friends. It exhausted my family, and they got fed multiple Rwandan meals and drank too many fantas (sodas).

Between the lower- and upper-middle class urban families in Gisenyi and the much poorer families in my village, plus a night cooking dinner with my host family in Nyanza, my family got a view of the broad spectrum of life in Rwanda. As I became re-acquainted with all my Rwandan friends through my family’s eyes, I saw how universal some things are: parents affectionately scolding disobedient but adorable children, urging them to eat this or that for good nutrition; kids playing (whether with cars homemade from plastic trash or an abundance of stuffed animals) and dancing (to music videos or radio in the village); children’s love of television in the urban areas (as well as love of fighting over the remote with siblings). Other things are specific to Rwanda, particularly Rwandan hospitality and how hard people have to work on ordinary tasks like cooking (break up the wood, start the cooking fire, get water from the tap, peel all the filthy potatoes with a blunt knife, etc etc).

As nice as visiting all the national parks and tourist sites was, my favorite part of my family’s visit was the time spent introducing them to my Rwandan friends and their way of life.

1 comment:

  1. That was my favorite part of the visit too!


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