Today, we made an excursion. First, I got up at 3am for no reason and couldn’t go back to sleep until 6 or 7, I don’t know. Then I woke up at 8:30 and made myself get up to try to beat this lag. So, I am so tired today.
I don’t really remember this morning, it feels like yesterday. I had chapatti and bought, from a lady who travels around and knocks on doors and sells things, a kilo of tomatoes. That is 12 tomatoes…for about 50 cents! I washed one really well and ate it along with the chapatti. Normally I would put salt on the tomato but the house ran out of salt. So Dinah offered me what she likes to use: garlic salt with pepper mixed into it. It was really good. This was a good breakfast.
Then I had like 9 cups of tea, no exaggeration, and worked on the computer, different things, for a while. This included my daily lesson in Kinyarwandan. I use the online program Memrise for learning it. A year ago I found a book by some missionary out in some province who used it to teach other missionaries and children. So I just put all these words in there, over 900, including grammar and spelling rules, and then promptly stopped even looking at it because I had to work. Now that I am here in Rwanda, I am loving myself so very, very much for having done this a year ago and am practicing. And I am around Rwandans at the house all day so I can test the pronunciation and usage of things a lot. It’s really nice. Dinah and Evode say that they are really excited that I am bothering to learn the language. I like it and its fun.
Dinah made me lunch again, leftovers from last night. Oh yeah, last night. Archie will no longer be staying at the house and will be staying somewhere else, though coming here for internet and because he knows everyone, because a new person with a reservation for his room came in. This is Nicole from Canada coming to study for her dissertation the mass rapes during the genocide and comparing different ways of prosecuting it and so on. Anyway, she is nice.
So, Dinah made dinner for her last night and invited me to eat with them and so I did. Then, for lunch today she made the leftovers and cooked up a bunch of cooking bananas. Oh heavenly cooking bananas! They are green on the outside and have to be peeled like a cucumber.
After lunch I worked a bit more. Oh, and this morning I took a hot shower in the other shower. That was ok. It’s basically just one stream of hot water that comes from the ceiling. But, at least it’s hot and at least it comes from the ceiling.
So, then later on Dinah took me around the corner to go and get a local phone. I got a dual sim card phone for 21,000 francs which is about 30 dollars and that comes with a little airtime. I need a dual sim card because after three months it will be cheaper because half the people I know have the company Tigo and the other half have MTN. So, now I have Tigo and MTN and can talk to them all.
Then we went to the market where I bought a half a round of local cheese, a large loaf of bread, a can of tuna, and dishwashing soap (we are meant to do our own dishes and provide our own soap) and then went to another local store and bought a pack of bananas, like 15 of them, and a large avocado. All of this was for 6,600 francs. This is about 10 dollars. Pretty good. I will be eating some of that avocado and bread and cheese and tomatoes for dinner. Only now I wish I had an onion or something as well.
The advice I have received prior to now is not to eat fresh vegetables or fruits that do not have a peel at all. The advice I learned from Katie who is with the Peacecorp, or at least the advice that they gave her and that she does not follow AT ALL, is to take the food, put it in a bowl of clean water and drop a few drops of bleach in the water. Then put the produce in the bowl for like five minutes and then it should be ok. Katie lives on the extreme wild side, she drinks the water from the tap. I did not wash my tomato with bleach. I just washed it really well in tap water. Probably next time I will wash it really well in boiled water just to be careful if I am going to eat it fresh (cooking kills amoebas). Anyway, my family will be happy to know that I am living on the wild side. Not that going to Rwanda in the first place was a workaday thing to do.
As to the title of today’s post: Kixsy’s name is not Kixsy. It is Keksy. Because keks means cookie in German and it was Heike and Martin that found the dog. They got her into the car with the only food they had on them, a box of cookies. So far, Keksy will eat just about anything they try to feed her, rice, some dog food, potatoes, milk, avocado, and bananas. Yes, avocado and bananas! But she just absolutely will not drink plain water. In order to get her to drink water, they just put all the food in a solution of milk and water and so it’s a big weird dog-food leftovers soup. It is pretty disgusting but Keksy at least gets lots of water that way.
In other Keksy news, today, Keksy got her first bath. She didn’t want it, but Heike washed while Martin fed her half a box of cookies one tidbit at a time. In this way, Heike was able to tough Keksy in places that before elicited either snapping or yelping. Afterwards, Keksy barked for the very first time at someone knocking at the gate and she also began to look like she wanted to play, she sort of hobble-pounced. Baths make even the saddest of sad dogs a little bit crazy.
But, if you are happy at the current plight of Keksy, be sad for the bunnies who remain locked in their cage for the second straight day. We need a collar for the dog and it’s impossible! As of now, the plan is to braid one out of twine and use a carabineer to clip it to the leash which is half rope and half chain. Pray it works for the cooped up bunnies’ sake.
Random occurrences you will appreciate:
At the kiosk for the phone, the clerk told Dinah to ask me where he can get a mizungu friend like me. Apparently I seem like Dinah’s pet to other people.
Dinah bought shoes at what, on fifth glance, was a local cobbler’s house around the corner. Three pairs of shoes for 500 francs. That is less than a dollar.
At the local store where I bought the bananas and the avocado, a young child ran up to me with the biggest grin I have ever seen and hugged me around the waist looking up into my eyes with absolute joy. And I said, “Haaalllo!” Then he walked around seeming really happy with the world. I don’t know what this meant and Dinah didn’t even bat an eye at the occurrence.
Yesterday I went to return bottles to the shop that is Dinah’s favorite because her friend Florence works there. There were a lot of young people in the shop just hanging out or something. Which is weird because the shop is about as big as my closet at home. Florence began to talk to me. I flailed around trying to think of how to tell a person that I don’t understand in some universal gestural language and failing utterly. A young man in the shop spoke English haltingly and tried to translate, “She wants you to come back and spend women’s time with her talking. She says that this will make her much happier than she is right at this hour.” I said to him, “I like to make people happy. If she wouldn’t mind I will have Dinah arrange for us to talk and she can translate.” Everyone agreed. Today, Dinah and I went to talk to Florence. Florence does not own the shop. She works and sleeps there for her boss who lives there. She is HIV positive. She was definitely alive during the genocide, but what ethnicity she is, is just not asked. Her daughter was born in 1995. Her daughter has been going to school and has been able to pay for school fees through a program that President Kagame put together that pays for school fees for 9 years of schooling. This year is Florence’s daughter’s last year of paid for schooling and she wants to continue. But Florence cannot pay the fees. She wants to me to find someone to help her. Dinah deals with most of this conversation for me, explaining that I am not an aid worker. I tell her that I will ask some other friends if they know of programs that can help her and I will let her know what they say. A broken heart…it just keeps on beating, relentless…