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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 12 Jul 2012

Location: Kigali, Rwanda


Today we hopped back on a bus to Muhanga and then walked down the side of a mountain to a house where we were invited to make mud bricks to help the family that needed them. Since we are volunteers we made around 150 bricks for free, the family was very thankful because when they pay someone to make the bricks it costs 25 RWF per brick. 150 bricks isn’t a lot, and when I roughly counted the bricks of the houses around us, I figured that we probably only made enough bricks for a quarter of a quarter of the walls. But helping the family save around 3750 RWF was a good feeling since they could now use that money to buy a goat or something else for the house. The bricks are literally made out of dirt and water. The start by pouring water onto the dirt and then they use their feet to squish the water around, making the ground wet enough for them to throw it into a concrete square ‘mold’ for the bricks. The men making the mud held tools that looked like bent shovels to pound into the ground to break up the mud, roots, grass and rocks from each other. Then they rolled up the mud into a medium sized ball and passed it to the person next to them who then passed it to a few more people before it ended up into the concrete molds where Brenda and another man squished it around to make a perfect square brick with no air holes. It was a great experience but I know that the people there were just doing it so we would be happy...and I know that they could have done it ten times faster than the silly mzungu’s did.
There had been children hanging around and watching us make fools out of ourselves for the day, so I gave them each a marble and showed them how to flick them at the other marbles. They were all so cute. There was one little girl with a rabbit on her shirt that was just the cutest thing I had ever seen. I wanted to take her home so badly! My mom showed her a few songs and how to stack rocks on top of each other and then knock them down... kinda like Jenga. We got to go and sit inside the house that we were making the bricks for and Costa told us the story of the family and some of the other ladies that were there and it was a very emotional and impactful visit.
After we walked back up the mountain we took a taxi to a restaurant where we once again had some questionable meat, but I was hungry and thankful we had something to eat. Then Costa took us on an hour long bus ride to his wife’s sister school. Her name is Denise and she is nineteen with a very beautiful smile and laugh. I’m happy I got to meet her since I have always heard so much about her; I hope she can come visit us in Canada soon and I know she would love it. We were only allowed to stay for about half an hour which was sad, but it was better to see her for a little time than for no time at all. We then took the 2 hour bus ride back to Kigali and went straight back to our hostel to sleep. I am so happy I got to experience everything I got to do today and meet Denise; I will remember this day for a long time!