Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Rwanda.


July 18: Another busy day with lots of highlights

Posted in Rwanda on July 18, 2012

This post will be a collab with Lisa because frankly, this whole blogging thing is rather toting... Especially when days are so busy. I'll be doing the first half up until lunchtime and Lisa will report on the last part of the day until dinner.

My hand are sore from gripping garden hoes all day! We built two kitchen gardens today at record speed. We all wore our DWC white tees and had a contest of who would get theirs the dirtiest by the end of the day. After all of the digging, I can say that all of our t-shirts had a red tinge to them. However, Gary had the dirtiest shirt by lunchtime... He was also the sweatiest. I'm pleased to report that Amy's pants were not soiled and her bum was completely protected from dirt-invaders.

When we moved from one house to the other to build these kitchen gardens, we ended up with our own little entourage of children. Many of them wanted to hold your hand and once they learned your name, they would say it over and over and over. They'd sometimes get my name mixed up with Maria's name and so I wasn't always sure who they were calling.

I didn't only work the hoes today (teehee), but I also did a fair bit of shoveling. I'm pretty sure that I'll be sore tomorrow. I already have, as termed by Lisa, hoe hands and hoe shoulders.

While the rest of the team worked on the second kitchen garden, Corrie and John headed to the primary school to help the teachers and the students with learning English. They taught the students how to do the Hokie Pokie dance and song and the Old MacDonald song with modified animal sounds. Apparently animal sounds aren't the same in Rwanda as they are in Canada... A sheep goes "bah" in Canada and "neigh" in Rwanda. They also sang B-I-N-G-O.

After completing the second kitchen garden and we joined up with John and Corrie, we headed to lunch. We started by washing our red hands and using Wet Wipes to clean our faces. By the end of our cleaning session, the wipes were all red with dirt. We were filthy.

One of the Rwandan guides/leaders named Cedric was incredibly thoughtful and organized to have custom bracelets made  for the whole team, plus the American team. As they were distributed, Cedric stopped at one that said "Gavy"... We were all confused and looking around for this Gavy character when we realized that Gavy was actually our Gary. All the Rwandans had been calling him Gavy so I guess they assumed that that was his name. So form that moment on, his Rwandan name became Gavy.

Before I hand this post to Lisa, I'll give you one of my TTAAs. As the special guest, Lisa will tell you all two things that she likes about Africa.

African drive: I am always impressed with students' ambitions, discipline, and academic drive. It is very hard to find motivated Torontonian high school students who are as driven as these students. When I was in high school, slacking was common and dislike for school was also popular. Here, school is an incredibly valuable thing and education can mean huge opportunities. They study hard, they have a goal of where they want to be in x amount of years, they value every bit of their education. It's incredibly inspiring.

Without further ado, here's Lisa with her portion of the blog. M, out! Lisa in.

Following our lunch we walked back to the Covaga Centre.  The chain link fencing had arrived and we are supposed to put that up tomorrow.  The team divided into 3 groups.   One was shopping for baskets. One was putting up a display system for the baskets and another was running an eye clinic for glasses.  I of course spent some time in the first group!  I then spent some time sitting with Esperanza who is a master basket weaver.  She taught me how to do it and then let me do some of her ongoing basket.  It was a lot of fun.  She chatted away in Kenyarwanda and I responded in English but we seemed to figure things out.  Mike and John put up the display system.  Apparently the wood is very wet so a nightmare to cut and it weeps when you hammer nails into it.   Nick and Maria and Corrie were conducting the eye clinic.  It was supposed to be for the women of the Centre but very quickly word spread and people gathered.  It was a bit crazy.  I wasn't able to keep track of what everyone one else was doing so this is not to imply the other were slacking!

My French has come in useful here with a certain generation of Rwandans.  It gives me a common language with them and allows some direct communication.   My basket weaver teacher wanted to chat so we used an interpreter via French.  The guy was quite helpful. Esperenza wants me to keep I contact with her, sell lots of baskets in Canada and bring her for a visit!  I shared wpmy email address with her so it should be interesting to see if she keeps contact.  Internet access can't be easy or cheap..

We walked back from the Centre to the hotel with quite a few kids holding our hands.  You would never do this in North America and at the beginning you feel somewhat uncomfortable, but you quickly adapt as there is always someone wanting to hold your hand and chat. Bennett is very popular.  We encountered a group of kids running around a field.  Bennett joined them for a few rounds and everyone was laughing by the end.

We ended the day having a few local beers and drinks by the lake watching the sunset.  It was a fiery red sun as it went down.  Very spectacular. Thats it for me!  maybe more later.

Ooops. Forgot that I need to provide you with TTAA's:  only one tonight - the kids are so independent and self contained.  They rarely cry, are very inquisitive, friendly and cheerful. The older kids take care of the younger kids and seem to have a life independent of adults.  Quite refreshing when you think of how dependent and clingy our kids can be.

Goodnight. 

Mali Foster & LisaFoster
DWC Participants
Rwanda, July 2012


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