Today my host mom, Christine, gave me a picture of her and her 3 children. I have only met the two youngest because the older one goes away to boarding school for secondary school, but she said hopefully I can meet him soon! I hope so because her other two are such dolls (Jimmy and Rita), but I have a hard time communicating with them still. If only they knew just a little bit more English and I knew just a little bit more Kinyarwanda. We still have plenty of fun together! Laughter is a powerful force that can break any language barrier.
I figured I would update everyone on this blog post on some of the new things I’ve done and tried this trip, so far anyways, and the new things I have learned.
Obviously, I am sure everyone is curious about the food:
-Cassava: The root of a tree, which can be eaten raw, boiled, made into bread… a whole plethora of ideas! They taste very similar to potatoes when boiled.
-Boiled Bananas: Bananas are served at almost every meal, and when they are cooked, they are either sliced and grilled or boiled in a sauce. Very yummy!
-Banana Beer: VERY strong, but amazing! Hopefully I can bring a bottle back
-Fresh milk: The cow is milked, the milk is boiled, and then the milk is served. Talk about fresh.
-Rwandan Beer: Primus is a known brand around here. Most of their beers are light, so I enjoy them a lot.
And the culture:
-Rwandans don’t have a word for “excuse me” or “sorry” in Kinyarwanda that translates to what we would say in English. Our teacher (Mwarlimu Wilson, an amazing man—hopefully a video soon to come), said that Rwandans do not say they are sorry unless it was a very serious event. Interesting because I have heard a mixture of “sorry” and “excuse me” be said in both French and English. I suppose with the addition of language comes the addition of culture.
-Women must always be sitting. I am not sure of the details in this, but I know I am always offered a chair. It’s considered rude for a woman to be standing and a man to be sitting.
-Eating/drinking alone in public is NOT acceptable. It is considered very rude in their culture. For example, I was at a gathering with my host mother and did not take a drink when offered. She was so upset she gulped hers down and said it was time to leave. Partially because she thought I did not want to be there, and partially because it was rude. I had no idea!
As I experience and think of more I will continue to update! Not too much has happened since I last wrote. Built my own LED flashlight and a power supply in lab—incredibly useful to us in the hospitals and quite the learning experience.
This Saturday we are going to the rainforest!! I need to practice with my camera so I can get some really good pictures. And Friday we are traveling to a local hospital to get an idea and get comfortable with the environment we will be working in.