Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19: Food and water in Rwanda

You've probably heard me talk about the food here in Rwanda in my previous blogs. I asked one of the locals if they eat the same things that we've been eating. I was told that they're not a cuisine culture. They don't eat to enjoy their food, they eat to survive. They often only eat one meal a day, so when they do eat it's mostly very high in carbohydrates. The only spices I've seen here are salt, and once in a while, there's this small bottle of hot sauce. You only need a few drops of this liquid fire on your entire plate. Plantains, rice, beans and potatoes are their main staples.

Water is very important here as well. You can see people every day collecting water from lakes or filling stations. They fill old plastic paint containers and tie them to their bikes (if they have them) or carry them home. Very rarely you may see a huge black holding container outside of larger businesses that collect rain water from the eves. These are extremely expensive.

This week we ran out of water and had to hire a guy with a bike to bring us water. He charged $100 Francs for each container and he could carry 6 on his bike at a time. This took him about 2 hours for each trip. He would come back sweating like crazy! We asked if he was tired and hot and he just smiled and said, "No, it's my job." He made 4 trips for us. He made $24,000 francs that day. He was soooo happy!

So to put that into perspective, beer here costs about $700 francs, which is approximately $1 Canadian dollar. The masons who work on the building with us (below mixing cement on the ground) make about $3 CAN per day.

The Rwandans are extremely proud and hopeful. They waste nothing. We think nothing of letting our water run while brushing our teeth or throw away so much food. There are some many things that we take for granted in our every day lives.

Sandra is reading a book with the kids at the center as we take a break.

We've been here in Rwanda for almost 2 weeks now, working along side the locals in long hot days.  They will greet us each day with a huge smile, a hand shake or hug.  Not once have I heard a harsh word on anger amongst anyone.  If anyone gets the opportunity to experience this amazing place I would strongly recommend it. It will change you forever.

Todd Drake
DWC Volunteer Participant
Rwanda, February 2014

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