Well, I leave Rwanda today. I'll go to Beirut for six days
(and visit Kamal for those of you from grad school) then
to Ethiopia for six days. Then I go to New Hampshire to visit
my brother and parents for a few days and to NYC to see my
first game in the new Yankee Stadium (will they give up 22
runs again?) and finally to Ithaca in mid-May.
So I will miss lots of things about Rwanda. The first that
comes to mind is being a rock star to children when I walk
around some of the non-rich (=poor) neighborhoods. They get
so excited and happy when they see a mzungu. They really like
it when I shake their hand, or return their offered fist bump.
One time a little three year old girl saw me and ran out to
give me a big hug.
I have tons of great memories. Certainly the trips that I've
already mentioned here (I can't bring myself to use blog as
a verb) I'll remember for the rest of my life, but there are
many little moments. Like the time when I was in this very
poor neighborhood and it started to poor and these people who
ran a tiny store in their house invited me in during the rain.
They didn't have anything I wanted to buy, and it rained hard
for maybe half an hour, so I left a small amount of money on
my chair when I headed out. It was still raining some. A
couple hundred meters down the road the girl chased me down
barefoot through the rain to offer to return the money. These
people had pretty much nothing and they I knew I was rich.
Seeing children in Goma running around in a group of 5 laughing
and screaming and realizing that one was riding on a bike with
no back wheel while the other four holding up the back of the
bike and serving as the back wheel. This made my both happy to
see them have fun and sad they probably never will have a proper
Or watching the moms carry babies papoose style. It looks like
it would be uncomfortable for the kid, but they seem pretty happy.
Riding the minibuses. These are the size of old VW van. They
carry the driver, conductor and about 17 passengers. They don't
leave until they are full and if half way through the run they
are too empty they'll just wait at a stop til they fill up more.
The birds and flora in the city are just so different from home
that I am constantly amazed.
I'll miss my guy on the street with one leg who makes his living
selling postcards and batiks. He always says hi to me, but never
pesters or pursues me if I say `not today'.
Ok, this is getting too long and pretty soon I can talk to anyone
interested about this in person.