Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20: Mzungus who fenced, gardened and played the role of Optometrists

We're collab-ing again tonight... Our guest star tonight is Bennett Foster. He'll be covering the first half and I'll be reporting on the last half.... So, here's Bennett with this morning's activities!

Hey its Bennett here and I'm Mali's cousin. So getting to the Covaga was interesting today. I ended up running all the way from the hotel to Covaga while everyone else took the bike taxis... Anyway when I finally got there we had three different jobs to do. Stringing more wire onto the fence, building shelves for the Covaga, and making another kitchen garden. Me and Mali stayed at Covaga and helped Peter the carpenter out for the morning. Cutting wood and nailing boards together was a nice change from the physical labour of building the kitchen gardens. And of course the constant flow of little kids made it even more enjoyable. All of them wanting to help you, hold your tools, and try on your work gloves. A lot of the kids have become regulars by now and always seem to appear at your side.

When we had done all we could with the shelving I jumped into another job with my Aunt Lisa, who was stringing wire at the time. That got done quick.

By now people the kitchen garden team were arriving back at the Covaga. They were dirty, tired and ready for lunch. Corie and some of the American team, who had been helping to teach English at the primary school, were also arriving.

We breaked for lunch and began our walk toward the Lake Side Restaurant. Walking down the street you attract a lot of attention. We each have at least one little kid holding our hand and as we walk people stop to observe us and give us curious looks. We smile and wave and they wave back. Little kids run out of their homes saying "Mzungu! Mzungu!" (White Man) as we pass. Its a cool thing to experience and it just proves that there aren't a lot of white people just walking past you in Africa.

That's it for me, I'll hand it over to Mali for the afternoon's activities. Bennett out.

Hey guys.... So let's begin yesterday's summary of afternoon shenanigans...After lunch, Maria, Corie and I decided we'd join forces and visit the medical clinic to help testing people for their vision. We couldn't find the letter chart so we had to use a picture chart... So Maria and Corie learned some new kenyarwandan. I sorted the glasses in two: a pile for readers and a pile for distance glasses. I also learned how to identify the two... Thank you, Maria! I also took turns with Corie being the pointer... Which, by the way, is ridiculously tiring for the shoulders. It was fun sorting through the glasses.... We found a pair which were of ridiculous strength. They actually looked like coke bottle lenses. It was so funny to watch someone try them on... They magnified your eyes like crazy and you couldn't see anything but super-blurrs. Corie took them over to the people waiting in line and had them try them on. There was a lot of aggressive finger shaking indicating that they couldn't see at all, followed by cackling of laughter.

After going through about 50 people and taking down names of people who needed to come back to see a doctor before being set up with a pair of glasses.That took about two hours.

When we got back to basket HQ (Covaga) I started playing around with the kids and got them to punch my open palms. They're actually pretty strong... One of them had a tennis ball so I took it and started playing catch with two of the kids. It was really fun. It reminded me of when my dad and I used to play catch with a tennis ball and how much fun that was for me. It was really heart-warming to see them smiling and laughing when they missed the ball.

After about half an hour, we were on our way to a bar for some beers (no mother, I didn't drink). As we were sitting there sipping our cold bevys, we saw a group of children wearing green jerseys and realized that that was the primary school's track team (couldve been the soccer team.... Not too sure) running in unison around Gashora. The green shirts they we're wearing were, in fact, the ones we had donated to the primary school! It was amazing to see our donations in use and you could tell they we're beaming in their matching uniforms.

When we bike taxi'd home, we had our showers and met up again for dinner. We debriefed about what we were holding at the back of our minds. It took a long time, but the meeting was incredibly insightful. I had the same thoughts as the first-timers when I had first been in Africa. There were also thoughts which I hadn't thought about, but once they were talked about, I realized that they were valid concerns and observations.

 My father suggested that I perform a spoken word piece at the farewell thing tonight... I'm hoping that means that if I do it, then I won't have to be part of the team's required singing a song... I doubt I'll be let off the hook. I just feel bad for the audience....

So here we go, tomorrow is our last day in Gashora before we head back to Kigali to do some touristy stuff, including a safari.

Until then,

Bennett & Mali Foster
DWC Participants
Rwanda, July 2012

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