|Written by Laura and Josh Duggleby|
|Thursday, 28 July 2011 00:13|
Day 12 :)
Well today was an interesting day. There were some ups and some downs. We started the day off taking a bus to city center. This is Kigali's downtown area. There were many business buildings here as well as a mall where Jena and I had to pay to use the restroom. Also, downtown there were many more people of other ethnicities. I saw several Americans, some Asians and some Europeans. I had not seen this anywhere else we had been. Also, it was here where Josh and I went to exchange some money for some souvenirs, which was quite the experience. What we didn't know was that there is actually a whole street filled with exchange places, so as soon as we, as caucasians started walking down the street there were about 5 guys on top of us trying to get us to go into their store to exchange. We picked the guy who knew the best english. Maybe a bad way to decide, but we didn't know how else to do it? ;) Once we got our money exchanges, we started our journey down to one of the soccer and basketball fields. To get there we walked through what are known as the "slums" of Kimisigara. There were homes with tin roofs that were held up by rocks, and these homes were practically one on top of another. They were very small, and Serieux said that there could be up to ten people that live in that one home. Most of them had clay and such that was kind of falling off as well. And, it was crazy because these homes were literally built on the side of the mountain, so getting anywhere to or from them is quite difficult. We saw this one guy carrying a large bag of something and 4 boxes on top of that on his head coming down this mountain. It was incredible! There are no sidewalks or anything, so this was really quite amazing that he was able to do this! The best that you would get for a sidewalk were some bags of sand thrown down to create a walkway. Also, here there was a lot of dirty water running down the walkways, and it smelled a little of urine and waste, so you tried to avoid walking in these spots. I just couldn't imagine trying to walk down this mountain without even any shoes on! And, since we were outside of the main roads we were even more of celebrities. We were practically walking through people's homes to get down the mountain, and by the time we would get to the next house there were already be more kids out yelling for us. It is like they were quickly spreading the word so everyone could come out and see us. I guess it was quite a site to see a "Mzungu" walking through your backyard! ;)
Once we got to the bottom the fields were not far away. This soccer field and basketball court were actually the nicest that we had seen thus far. Kind of crazy since the slums are right behind them! There were a lot of kids out playing and even some kids playing inside on a rec court. After seeing the fields we walked back up the mountain through the slums to catch a bus back to the house for lunch. It was a crazy steep walk up! I was certainly tired when we reached the top! I cannot imagine having to hike that every day! And especially without having any food. What these kids go through is remarkable! After lunch we walked to Busanza to work with Elvis and Jimmy's basketball teams. (Yes, we had quite a bit of walking today!) Jena and I talked with the girls as we had been doing. These girls were the most fun so far though! They were very interactive and had a lot of questions for us at the end. Also, after we finished, they sang to us and desperately wanted us to sing back to them. Jena and I were on the spot and I could not think of anything!! I never thought I would be put on the spot to sing, but like Brian says, you never know what you are going to get in Africa! ;) Jena and I ended up singing Row Row Row Your Boat! ;) It was classic! ;) On our way back to the fields to meet up with the boys the girls were all trying to teach me Kinyu-Rwandan. One girl in particular knew a little bit of English and was teaching me body parts in kinyarwanda. These girls were so fun! Also, right before we got there she stopped me and put her bracelet on my wrist. She gave it to me as a gift! That was so special to me. She wanted to give another one that she had to Josh, but I told her his wrist was probably too big. I don't think they were fully grasping what I was trying to say, but they got the one bracelet off my wrist, and about 5 girls together were trying to get another one on my wrist which was even smaller. This girl had tiny wrists, and I knew this one was not going to fit, but they were trying so hard, bending my wrist in all different angles, there was no way I was going to stop them with the passion they were using to get this bracelet on my wrist. Well, eventually it snapped. I felt so bad, but she still seemed so happy that I at least had one for myself to wear. The first one went back on my wrist as all was well! I still have that bracelet and it is very special to me! :)
Also, with these girls, when we were in the classroom talking with them, I got even more of an understanding about how bad divorce is in their culture. During the question and answer time they were asking about my family and it came up that my parents were divorced. I have never seen any reactions as strong as these due to someone's parents being divorced. I mean, here in the states it has become such a regular thing, which is so sad, but true. But here all the girls jaws dropped. One girl almost had tears in her eyes for me. They were all telling me how sorry they were. In Rwandan culture however divorce is not really an option in their culture. And if it does so happen, the mother is banned from the family, never to see her children again. It is a terrible thing and the family is quite literally ripped apart. It is a very sad thing. I love though, that even in a physically broken culture, with almost nothing of material value, there is so much respect and honor of marriage. It is thought of as sacred and not to be touched or broken. They make sure that there are people who hold the couple accountable in the circumstance that fights arise and there is tension. People come in and help them to work through it. I just love that! I love that people are willing to step in and help to make marriage last. If only this were the case in America! We have become such a culture that is all about self-gratification that we have truly lost of heart of servant hood and responsibility. I know that when I say something I want to stick to it. I want my word to be valued and for it to hold true. That is why I pray that my marriage will be one like that of those in Rwanda that last until death does them part. It really is a sweet thing to see in their culture. Family is so much stronger than it is here, because in many circumstances it is all they have. Family and love. I pray that I could continue to learn a little bit each day from these amazing people that have so much more wisdom than myself in many areas of life!
Tonight for dinner we went to a restaurant called Sola Luna. It was our one night out to a pizza place. It almost ended in disaster when Josh's driver took a wrong turn and was separated from the group, but about 20 minutes later he finally showed up. We had no cell phones or ways of communication which made it hard, but prayer alone got him there! ;) The pizza was very good. The only thing that was bad was that the culture inside the restaurant was like that of America again. The restaurant was owned by Italians and there were only 2 African American couples in the whole restaurant. The rest were foreigners. This was really sad to me, because none of the people of Rwanda could afford a restaurant such as this. We did bring Serieux back some pizza though which was good! And the place did have a beautiful view! Rwanda is so pretty at night, as you can see a few lights here and there lighting up the mountains. So pretty! What a wonderful place God has created!