Friday, August 19, 2016

August 17, Day 5: Dinner with Coop boys

Overall the team is doing well. 

The work is hard labour in the heat, and by the end of the day everyone is looking like various versions of "bagged". The group spirit on the project site is good. There's good cooperation between the local young men, hired to do the heavy lifting, and the international team. Wednesday, the mood was easy and relaxed, as everyone had found their pace, and gotten familiar with the project and the site. 

There was a big dinner Wednesday night and all the young men from the carpentry coop were invited (37 of them!). By "big dinner" I mean it was the largest pot of spaghetti that I have ever seen. There was drumming and dancing, and there was back-and-forth between our younger team members and the coop guys: singing, dancing and amazing break-dance and acrobatics.

The difficulties these young men have faced is hard to comprehend. Their personal stories reach right inside and shape me somehow.

It is unclear whether this fence we're building will even be allowed by the neighbourhood. The Ineza land is a big patch of open space that is used as a major walkway with trails. They are going to limit access to the land, leaving a perimeter pathway. Today, one side the fence could not be worked on. It's just like running a small business: real world challenges come up that need to solved.

There are so many things that work differently here, or don't work the way we're used to. I came here thinking I had an open mind. I have been surprised to find I *do* have opinions - I'm full of attitude! So it is interesting to watch myself: a thought arises "I would do that differently". Then I just get to sit with my discomfort, try to lessen the grip of the feeling that I am right, and try to soften my position and move from separateness to a feeling that we're all in this together.

Enough for now.  Dinner is at 7. We get rice, fried potatoes, steamed vegetables in a light sauce, some kind of meat in a sauce (chicken or beef or fish), and maybe fried plantain or some other veggie.  There's cut up fruit for dessert. There is endless yummy papaya and fresh sweet pineapple. The avocados are ripe - with a tinge of sweetness. Not transported a long distance, they are... well I don't even know how to describe them. They're flavourful and good and... well, you just want to eat more of them!

Friday we go to the genocide museum, then the market, and then pile into jeeps and drive 2 hours to Akagera National Park for the weekend.

Luinda Bleackley
DWC volunteer
Rwanda, August 2016

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