Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pictures! Finally!

(Pictured Here: Rwanda's beautiful countryside landscape. The hills get MUCH bigger than these...more to come...)

This entry is going to be short because I am spending most of my time today trying to upload pictures. Check my facebook page for the pics (Washington to Kigali to Butare to Kigali). The captions are not as funny as I would like them to be because I have a very limited amount of time today. Also, I have some videos to upload too, but I will do that later...I'll give you the heads up when I post them on facebook. other news, everything is going just fine. I am well on my way with my CNA and my PC reports...the 'English class' has become an 'English club,' and it is still very strong; I have over 100 students now! I have cut down my lessons to only 4 nights a week for like an hour at a time. It just gets too exhausting to teach every night after working at the clinic the whole day...PLUS I am trying to start up a health club with the children on the weekends, so I want some time to prepare lessons for them and get that project off of the ground.

I do have a funny story for you, though.

Okay, so two weeks ago (after I wrote my last blog entry) I went into the main market of Rwamagana with a couple other Peace Corps volunteers. (The market in my village is pretty small, so I go into the main, city market every once and a while to stock up on supplies...and see my fellow PCVs, of course.) Malcolm (another PCV from the East Province) was going to be in town visiting the Rwamagana crew (Brandon, Crissy, Kara, and I) and he told us he would meet us at the market once he was in town.

Once at the market, Brandon, Kara, and I picked up a couple of things and regrouped in the front of the market where Malcolm was waiting. We were about to leave when two little girls walked up to us. (These girls had their heads down and were speaking to each other, so they didn't see us.) As they turned the corner to walk into the market and, by consequence, into our little PCV group, one of the little girls lifted her head. As she was about to walk right into me, she looked up, and gasped in surprise! She jumped back a good yard or two with a look of pure terror on her face.

The little girl stared at me with such an intense look of fear, that I couldn't help but try to calm her down...I took a step towards her to introduce myself and as soon as I made a move to take a step, she made a move like she was going to run. I decided it best to stand my ground and not scare her any more than she already was.

At this point, Malcolm, Kara, Brandon and I were having a good laugh about her reaction to me. She watched in horror as we spoke with one another in English. I turned to the terrified girl and said a few words in Kinyarwanda to try and calm her a bit...this did not have the effect I was looking for. She did not respond to my greetings; in fact, her level of terror only increased! I could see on her face that she had a singular thought running through her head, 'Either this white man speaks my language OR I am understanding English right now!!! AH!'

She was not screaming out or crying at all, she just had a look of surprise on her face for 10 straight minutes. It was as if her body was stuck in 'flight-or-fight' mode.

I felt really bad for surprising her, but I couldn't help laughing. She just stood there, silently freaking out...and only at me for some reason. Rest assured that my PCV companions were laughing this whole time too...AND not just a chuckle, but deep, side-splitting laughter, which attracted attention from many people in the market.

Remember, I said there was two girls, right? Well the second girl just stood there staring at us as we talked to each other and her friend (or sister). She was curious about us, yes, but I felt as though she was not fearful in the least bit...she actually seemed kind of anxious to begin her errands in the market. She was just standing there waiting for her friend (or sister) to stop freaking out so they could leave. Neither of them said a word. They stayed in their places, silently reacting to us until we four decided it was time to move on.

I felt bad for laughing at the situation, but her reaction was so priceless...even today, I recall it and I can't help but smile a little.

Anyway, rest assured that I am not scaring every person I meet. The people I am meeting are being very kind and helpful. To be honest, I don't think this experience (Peace Corps Rwanda) could have started off an better.

Enjoy the pictures and, as they say in Rwanda, 'Imana ibarinde kandi ibahe umugisha.' (May God keep you and give you blessings.)


  1. That's not kind Emmet! It's good though that you're surprising people in Kinyarwanda; I'm proud of you!!!!!!!!!!

  2. It's those blue eyes and that white-blond hair, buddy!