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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 07 Jul 2012

Location: Nyamata, Rwanda

MapSheena's Blog

Well, it is my turn to write! I am here to fill everyone in on what happened when Brenda, Erin, and I stayed in Nyamata when Denise and Mary and Heike left. It had been a great day so far in Nyamata. Rather than feeling like outsiders in Kigali, it was nice to feel like a guest and really experience the culture here. So, we had been eating and drinking and dancing with Franklin and his friends in The Red Lion pub, but apparently it wasn’t fun enough because we were dancing on the grass and the music wasn’t loud enough for Brenda to get in her “dancing zone”. Franklin’s best friend Jean-Claude went to scout out a fun place for us and came back and then drove us in two batches to a new bar called High Point. This was a new bar that most of them had not been to before. It had a lot of dancing music and lights going on inside and then in the backyard there were tables and gazebos.
We started off by hanging out in a gazebo outside, just chatting and laughing. It was nice because the seats got shuffled since the other bar so I got the chance to talk to some other people. I spent most of it showing Remy pictures on my phone, which unfortunately had a rather poor selection. He enjoyed the pictures of my classroom and was amazed at the amount of materials in there. He was also quite shocked that I let the dogs in the house and trying to explain the guinea pigs was a lost cause (It’s hard enough to explain them in Canada!).
The men seemed quite surprised (and dare I hope heartbroken?) to hear I was married and that I was travelling without my husband. I told them that he was at work, but that I was a teacher and was on holidays. They were then quite shocked that I didn’t have any children yet, and Remy told me that I had better give my husband children or he will be mad (I think!).
One of my favourite parts of the night came when all of a sudden men started standing up and whistling and cheering at something outside of the bar yard. While I heard the word cow, I just assumed it was women going by because that is totally what it sounded like! But no, it was really cows going by! Someone was herding a small group of cows along the road and apparently that is what the men do when they see cows go by. They explained to me how important cows were to Rwandan culture and that you need to be able to afford a cow to get married. They said that the government is working on a “one cow for each household” plan. Then Franklin explained that of all the songs and words of praise in Rwandan culture, first of all they were for cows and then for women second! They also said that if you sing to cows while you’re milking them you get more milk.
After visiting outside, we went inside to do some dancing. There was a man singing karaoke in there and he was pretty amazing. Our group got up and did some dancing, which was super fun, but also a little awkward because no one else was! Eventually, some other guys came and danced with us, but they probably just wanted to dance with us muzungu women and no other women were dancing. Probably they thought we were just some muzungu hussies! Everyone else was just standing or sitting around the outside. But I do love dancing and Brenda and I just went for it and I pretended I wasn’t feeling extremely conspicuous!
Right before we left, we heard there was some “Rwandan rock star” in the bar and we got our picture taken with him. That seemed to break the ice and then some others with us got their picture with him too! I did not get what his name was, so I cannot name drop yet, but we asked Franklin to text us what he was called and I will Google him so I can brag about meeting him properly!
Brenda, Erin, and I got back to St. Famille just after midnight. It was a fantastic day and night all around in Nyamata and it is hard to believe that I may never meet any of those people again! They were all so kind and fun and interesting and it was surprisingly hard to say goodbye at the end of the night. I think this will probably end up being our best day in Rwanda!