Previous entry Next entry

Brenda’s Travel Diary

Friday, 10 Apr 2009

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapJambo to you all....
Today, our last day in Kigali, we attended the funeral of Franklinís mother. We were tired, not feeling well and leaving early in the morning for Kahama so I didn't think I would do any blogging.

Iíve given up trying to sleep now though.... feeling too rough... so thought I would type since Iím sitting on the floor by the bathroom anyway. Weíre wondering if it was the sorghum beer that we drank the other day, (a WV worker told us that we should be vaccinated,) the bird that we ate yesterday, (Pola thinks it was a crow,) the warm, un-pasteurized milk from the WHHA or brushing our teeth, etc with the local water. Donít know how well the travel will go today and I really hope the others are feeling OK. A good lesson learned though, I plan on being more careful about what goes in my mouth in the future!

Franklinís momís funeral was held out in Nyamata. We took a bus out with Costa and then walked over to her house, along with most of Nyamata. Crazy thing happened on the way over actually. We saw these two huge hawks (Iím guessing thatís what they were) on a tree above us and while we were looking, one of them took flight and swooped down at a boy walking down the lane. It was attempting to grab the boy's head with itís talons. We couldnít believe what we saw. The boy rubbed the spot so we know it connected. As we were walking away, remarking on what weíd witnessed, we looked back a couple of times and he was still rubbing his head. As Iím writing this, I was just thinking, why didnít we go see how he was?

We arrived at the hut where the body would be brought and started what turned out to be the first of our long waits in the sun. Lucky for us we saw Wellars, who will be driving us to Tanzania on Saturday. We opened the doors of the vehicle and at least had a place to sit for the next hour or so. While we were there, the usual crowd of children started to form. The kids just stood and stared at us at first but soon got closer and closer and then were pressed up against the van on all sides. After engaging in conversation for a while we thought it would be fun if they sang for us. Following their song, we thought it would be nice if we reciprocated. The only song we could think of, that we all knew, was ďSheíll be Coming Around the Mountain.Ē Much to Costaís horror, there we were, the Mzungus, singing and clapping at Frankís momís funeral. He quickly let us know that it probably wasnít a good time to be doing that.
The body eventually arrived in the back of a pickup and was carried into the house for viewing. We all walked by and said our good-byes.
Hundreds of people then piled into anything with wheels for the long, slow procession up to the hills for the burial. We all walked down a path to the site and stood listening to singing and prayers. The whole burial process took some time because they actually mix cement and construct some kind of permanent slab as a marker. We couldnít exactly see from where we were. It was hot, we were tired, and it was turning out to be a long day with no real food or bathrooms. When it was time to leave the burial sit, we drove back to Nyamata and dropped off ½ of our vanload of passengers at the 'open-house' and the rest of us eventually returned to Kigali. This was after a few more delays of course and then we also had to fill the van with other travellers from the village as no vehicles travel around here unless they are full. It was sad that we didnít get to say a proper good-bye to Franklin and also he wouldnít be coming to Kahama now. I know it meant a lot to him that we stayed and attended the service so we all felt good about that.
Another sad moment came our way shortly when we had to say good-bye to Costa. Heís such a special person, so thoughtful, smart, interesting and funny!! (Love the pygmy jokes Costa!). Heís just a joy to be around. Between him and Franklin, during our time in Rwanda, we were welcomed into their families, cared for and felt protected and safe. Thank you to you both for looking after us. Weíll miss you.
We found a nice Italian restaurant nearby and decided to splurge and have a good meal before heading off to Kahama, where western food is scarce. I feel sad to be leaving Rwanda and our wonderful friends here, but further adventures await us.
Habari za jioni.