Posting pictures is an American luxury. Well, it’s a luxury I was used to in America, I’m quite certain you can post pictures to the internet from many places, but the living room of our house in Nyanza is not of them. I did just buy more credit for my internet modem though, so the least I can do is give you a little written update. I’ve been slacking on my communication, and for that I’m sorry. Aside from general lack of time and ability, I’ve felt like I either have too much to say or not enough. At this exact moment, I’m near the “too much” end of that spectrum. I suppose I can do this in a chronological fashion and fill you in on my past week. So the walk I took last Sunday was completely amazing! The whole day was nice, really, but walking for hours in the Rwandan countryside (for the most part) was rejuvenating. It was like the bus ride from Kigali to Nyanza that we took a few weeks ago... being able to see this country and interact with different people is really wonderful. I think that I can most suitably describe my experience with this walk as inspirational. I went with a fellow trainee, and he and I were able to get off the paved road, and into a rural farming community that’s situated about an hour out of the center of Nyanza. Our interactions with the people who lived there were pretty limited due to our lack of finesse with the local language, but the dialogue we were able to have was really good. However, it was pretty strange for two muzungus to waltz into a neighborhood in the middle of the day with smiles on their faces and backpacks on their backs, so the experience overall was pretty awkward and new for all parties involved. I’m glad I was able to go with Alex because he was great company AND male. Not to value him only due to his gender (sorry Alex, if you ever have to read this). But this is relevant! I can’t go walking an hour outside of town with no phone and limited knowledge of Kinyarwanda as a foreign female. This is a reality I knew going into this lifestyle, but one I’m going to have to take some time to adjust to. If I were in Tallahassee (or anywhere in the US) I would have no qualms with walking around alone in the middle of the day. I guess being here is making me think a little differently about culture appropriateness and safety (particularly the point at which those two factors intersect). Speaking of which, on that same Sunday, I ended up joining a sizable group of other trainees out at a bar in order to have a few Halloween beers. That was a pretty interesting experience. The beer was pretty standard and relatively cheap, the bar we went to was fairly large and the number of Americans there was really disproportionate. For many of us, this was the first night we decided to venture out for a drink, so there were more foreigners there than had been on previous nights. It was a fun experience overall, but not one that I’m trying to adapt as routine. Since I’m American I am afforded some leeway when it comes to cultural expectations, but it’s still not looked favorably upon for women to be out at bars around here. In fact, when I get to site I’ll almost certainly never go out drinking (even for one drink). I’m a-ok with that being the reality, but it is something that’s certainly different from my life in Florida.
So, as far as this week goes, I’m certainly getting into somewhat of a routine over here. It’s always early to bed, early to rise, bucket baths, classes, more classes, sessions, time with my RF etc. It’s going well, although I spent Monday and Tuesday with a suspect stomach ache. Due to my ability to sleep well for long periods of time, I think I was able to successfully ward off any potential illness, and I’ve felt great the past couple of days. I’m trying to do at least a little yoga every morning- a habit I intend to keep, and I’m eating as healthy as possible. This is super boring to read, and I’m sorry for doing that to you, but these are the thoughts that end up ruling my mind and therefore become the subject of my writings. On Wednesday (yesterday) we went to Butare as a group to a national culture museum. That was a really nice experience because, once again, we got to ride through the Rwandan countryside. I say countryside, but it’s all pretty much a healthy mixture of land and people and crops and houses. I was able to snag a window seat this time around, and put on my headphones for the entire 45 minute ride. Let’s just say I was beaming by the time I got off the bus (van). I don’t know how I can emphasize the beauty of the country, but it really is breathtakingly beautiful. By this point I’ve made it into my mosquito net, on my bed and am ready to hit the hay (or foam I should say, since that’s all my mattress consists of). Hope all is well with you!! I’ll try to have another enjoyable and proactive Sunday to share with you in a few days. Until then <3
Also, Nibyiza cyane means very good (essentially). you pronounce it like" Neeebgeeza chaanay