Monday, September 17, 2007

jogging in gisenyi

if you can imagine jogging topless through the streets of Manhattan... as julia roberts... that might be a reliable comparison.

every time i go running in rwanda, i tell myself it's not a big deal. it always is. i start out feeling awkward, and then it turns into extreme guilt. like i'm assaulting the country with something they've never seen before. like forcing a 7-year-old to watch the texas chain-saw massacre. a sweaty american girl, running from god-knows-what, i-pod (the value of their house) in hand, and long white legs, blindingly white legs...

inevitably, everyone on the street will stop whatever they're doing (digging, laughing, riding their bikes) and stare, open mouthed and wide eyed (quite literally) until the white legs have vanished from sight.

::yay for cultural exchanges!::

as promised, i am proud to say i just received my first ever business cards. made by "magic graphics" in down-town kigali. It only took 6 hours of waiting and 1 hour of leaning awkwardly over the desk, telling the guy where exactly to put the "f" in friends of rwanda, and promising an hour of piano lessons in return for his service. because of these 2x3 cards, i am officially purposeful in Rwanda. praise the Lord.

the other day, thomas and i got to ride with the Archbishop into Ruhengeri, where thomas has been left to work at Sonrise school. we were under strict instructions to meet the AB at his compound at 9am. now, given thomas' litany of instruments and the taxis that never come, we were running a bit behind. i called the Archbishop around 9:07 to let him know we were almost there.

ring ring

"Hello, Archbishop? This is Maggie"
"Oooohh! Maahggie! How is it with you!"
"Great. I was just calling..." to get straight to it
"How was your sleep?"
"Fine, Archbiship, how was yours?"
"Good. good."
"Good. We're coming..." I said.
"And your breakfast?"
"My breakfast?" I was disarmed again.
"Yes, what did you eat?"
"Um... I had some pineapple"
"And bananas?"
"Uh, no. No bananas."
"And PASSION FRUIT!?" He seemed particularly excited about the passion fruit.
"No, no. Just pineapple... Archbishop," I finally interjected "I just wanted to let you know that we're running a little bit late."
"Ok." There was a slight pause... "Sooooo, you will come around 11 or 12?" It was 9:12am.
"No, Archbishop, I will be there in 2 minutes"


It was another hour before we left the compound. We had to fetch Mrs. Kolini, who had to fetch us tea and show us all the pictures in the house and then fetch us to-go mugs for our tea so it could splash all over our knees on the windy road to Ruhengeri.

"Oh dear," Archbishop Kolini finally sighed as his wife retreated to the house for the fourth time.
"Bishop John is going to shoot at me."

hope this little installment finds you well and full of peace.




ldamoff said...

Gotta love those non-Western cultures... You know i'll be in Cote d'Ivoire in but two weeks! We should get together for tea or something, since everyone knows Africa is really quite small.


Heidi said...

Maggie...thanks for telling stories. Love them. Love you. Take care.
-Heidi S.

Megan said...

That's awesome! I love the stories, Maggie, and I love you. It made my Wheaton-filled, on-the-way-to-class morning much richer. Thank you, and peace to you!

Sarah said...


Where do I even begin? Your stories bring back SOO many of the same sensations and experiences that I had while there, especially the running one... let's just say that even the other "muzungus" thought I was strange when I was running up the road to kilingi with 5 sonrise students... it's crazy that I just had time to sit down and read all the blog entries in the hectic life of school, but somehow in Rwanda time runs different and we're not bound by it and it just is... I'm praying for you and hope you have an INCREDIBLE time! Can't wait to talk to you more!

WJZ said...