I had been in Rwanda for almost two weeks when i had what i refer to as "a true Rwandan adventure." It was one of those moments you will forever be drawn back to as a world traveller. A moment where you loose all inhibition and give into the true raw nature of being completely and totally consumed by your surroundings.
By this time I had settled quite comfortably into the lifestyle of Gashora, a small village one hour from Kigali where we spent our volunteer time while in Rwanda. I woke up every morning by 7am, washed my face, plastered myself with SPF 50 sunscreen, dressed in yesterday's red-dust covered work clothes and started the walk down to breakfast. After a cup of sweet and creamy African tea, a few hard-boiled eggs and a well appreciated slice of pineapple myself and the rest of my group started our fifteen minute walk up the road to our work site.
By the time we reached the project site the entire village was there to great us. We shook every person's hand, a Rwandan ritual that creates a sense of community and an appreciation for everyone around you. We would then work the rest of the day side-by-side with anyone willing to pick up a shovel, or join in a playful game of simon says. (Which usually turned into a follow the leader routine or chase the Canadian volunteer around the grounds.)
After a long day on the worksite our group would usually enjoy a refreshing coca-cola at the local bar. However today was a most important day as we were asked to join in a football game with the local school teachers. Hundreds of kids showed up to watch the Canadian volunteers loose horribly to their Rwandan teachers. Surrounded by cheering fans the game went on into the night.
By the time we tried to find our bike-taxis it was so dark you were not able to see your hand waving in front of your face. ( A bike taxi is simply a seat on the back of a bicycle over the back wheel- it provides fabulous transportation with unlimited adventure but comes at the cost of a very sore bottom!) After finding a suitable driver we drove at a million miles an hour home.
On this warm Rwandan evening, with bugs flying at my face, I finally felt myself completely overtaken by Rwanda. I could not see one inch in front of my face and I knew my driver could not either. As we speeded down the dirt, and very bumpy, road i loosed my grip from the metal bottom of my seat, focused my eyes on the moving tree tops as we flew by and tried to forget the fast approaching sand patch in the middle of the path. No matter how much traveller anxiety i had i was at the complete mercy of my driver. So i gave into this moment, decided to take this chance to practice my Kinyarwandan language and was completely overtaken by Rwanda. And yes we did indeed make it, and after a long and well deserved night's sleep I awoke to spend another day with the beautiful people of Rwanda.