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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 04 Oct 2011

Location: Nyamata, Rwanda

MapTuesday, October 4th, 2011

Karen and I had already been sick once so we thought we were home free… but no! I was having my usual bout of insomnia when Karen woke up and then spent the next few hours running back and forth to the bathroom. She felt pretty rough all morning so we really didn’t do much except stuff her full of drugs. About the time we were due to go to the neighbours to visit our favourite centurion, Linguida, I started to feel the same symptoms. I didn’t want to miss the visit so headed over with the group from Franks.

For those of you who don’t know who Linguida is, she is an elderly woman who lives next door to Frank. The fist time I met her, I had enquired about her age (Franklin has to translate) and she said, “Numbers! What do you need numbers for? You need them to count your goats, you count your debt or you can count your children. You don’t need them to count you years!” Later when they were trying to figure out her age, they thought she must be about 103 or so and that was in 2008!

Linguida especially likes mzungus. One particular grandchild who had been killed in the genocide had apparently had an affair with a woman from Europe who was working in Rwanda. No one knew, including him, that she was pregnant when she left, shortly before the genocide. She had no idea what had happened to her child’s father any of his family. She brought her son to Rwanda to search for them in about 2007 and that’s when the family here found out about him. They were overjoyed; so when ever Linguida sees my group, they tell us how much she loves to see us because of him!

While Linguida was in the midst of explaining to us the traditions around courtship and marriage from the turn of the century, I started to feel really sick. After saying good-bye and heading back to Frank’s to be sick, I spent the rest of the day in bed. Karen was feeling better and was a great nurse!!

I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to go visit Mama Sifa that afternoon with Karen and Frank. She has a co-op and sells baskets next to the Ntarama church which is another genocide memorial. I’ve written about this church on other blogs and there are pictures from most of the visits. Our friend Cassius went with them. He lost four of his sisters and many of his friends and other family members there.

Frank’s birthday celebration was a big event! Many of his friends joined him for a night of eating, drinking and dancing. I dragged myself out of bed to go but could only stay for an hour or so. I was happy to be there for Karen’s Rwandan naming ceremony. When a baby is born, close friends and family sit together and suggest names for the child. Overnight the parents contemplate which one they will choose. For Karen, everyone at the table wrote a name on a piece of paper. Franklin explained the meaning of each and then they expected Karen to choose. After a lot of dialogue back and fourth and lots of laughing she picked two….Kesa-Mbabazi which means ‘beautiful one showing mercy.’