Saturday, January 17, 2009

More of week 3


so I'm an idiot. Of course I've known I was coming here
for some time, and I knew there was no way to learn the
local language, Kinyarwanda, while in Ithaca. I also knew
this was a Belgian colony and that many people here speak
SEMESTER!! My one year of French back in the mid 80s
isn't cutting it.

I went to this town a little ways outside of Kigali, my first
trip outside of the city. It's called Nyamata - there's a
memorial there. It was very sad.
So after I visited the memorial I looked around the town a
bit. Since the point of getting out of the city was to see the
countryside I decided to walk back. A mzungu (foreigner)
walking on a country road is an oddity that attracts a *lot*
of attention, especially from children. The guy in the green
helmets t-shirt spoke English and told me his sister goes
to KIST, the place where I'm teaching. The boy in the tan
shirt and girl in the pink shirt went the same way as me for quite
some time. Even though we had no language in common they
really wanted to walk with me. I need to carry a couple boxes
of cookies with me on trips like this to give them out to the kids.
I had a few that I shared with these two. The boy in the red shirt
spoke French, so we could communicate a little. He came upon
us halfway back and went to Kigali with me. I bought him a coke,
but he probably thought I was crazy - if I had money for a coke
I had money for bus fare. The two little boys
in the distance shot saw me pull out my camera and decided they
were going to be the point of the picture. (I had wanted to
take a picture of the thatched hut to the right). Later I was
waylaid by about ten 6 year olds, who all insisted on telling me their
names and shaking my hand. As they left the road to go home
they gave me an enthusiastic `bon voyage'.
I went up and down many hills,
into a river valley, through several villages and saw several
hundred people walking along the road. If you give people a smile
and a `Bon Jour' you get the same back. A fun day, and seeing the
countryside at 3 mph is very different than seeing it at 40mph.


  1. One of my favorite collections of pictures from China is of self-appointed models who would not allow my obvious desire to photograph some landmark to interrupt their opportunity to stare at the towering foreigner. I put those pics in a folder right along with the ones of people photographing me. I am told that the only difference between China & the States regarding this staring thing is that, in China, no one tries to hide the fact that they are doing it.

  2. Great Pics! I have to agree with an earlier post that you need to be careful taking the bus till the end of the line. You don't want to get on one where the driver says... "Next, and last stop Democratic Republic of Congo". Have fun!