Friday, September 11, 2009
This morning I made myself a cup of Rwandan coffee, as I raised the cup to my mouth and breathed in the aroma I was instantly transported back in time and a wave of memories washed over me. It was a good feeling, I experienced so many wonderful things while I was there and it was nice to have those memories come flooding back.
There are people that I met who inspired me and challenged me to question my beliefs as a person. I miss Costa, he is an amazing individual who can brighten the darkest day with just a smile. No matter what the situation or the circumstance or how dire things may seem, he will always find the answer to any problem with the simple solution of I. If you ask him who is responsible for the Genocide he will respond I, and if you ask him who will heal the country? His response will be I; you see Costa believes that each of us is responsible for the things that happen in our lives and in our world. You can change no one but yourself, and if every one of us took this philosophy to heart the entire world would change. All these suffering children would be helped and no one would be in need. If I ask you as individuals who will save these children and everyone answered I -- just think what could happen.
I miss Costa, I miss the warmth and generosity of the Rwandan people and I miss all those children. I even miss the sadness, the poverty and the feelings of helplessness. I miss the joyful way we were greeted each morning and how they looked you in the eye when speaking to you. I miss the laughter, the goats, the chickens and I even miss those stupid birds that woke me up before my alarm each day.
At times I felt overwhelmed and helpless, I lived in the moment never thinking ahead one foot in front of the other. Laughing children, crying babies, dirty faces and runny noses -- those were some of the most beautiful children I have ever seen.
I remember standing on a road in Nyamata with my camera and children crowded around me clamouring to see their picture, a tiny child with wild hair and one shoe waddles over to see what the commotion is all about. Her dress dirty beyond anything I have yet to see, face covered in boogers and hair filled with dust, she stands there looking up at me captivated by this stranger she sees. Kathy jumps into action, and as fast as Jack Lightening she's holding a beautiful yellow and white dress with tiny flowers embroidered on it against our tiny visitor. It looks like a perfect fit, we search the crowd to find the mother and as I bend down to take a picture the mom is already removing the old dress. As she lifts it up and over the toddlers head to my utter shock and surprise I blurt out, it's a boy! OMG it was a little boy, the mother puts the new dress on him and away they go! The three of us look at each other and burst out in laughter we darn near pissed our pants. It is good to find humor in situations that would otherwise break your heart; these are the things I try to hold on to now that I am home.
Like the time that Costa, Vickie and I were at a school for sponsorship visits and our driver Samuel wandered off (he had a habit of doing this). We had no idea where he was and we had to drive to the home of a little boy I was scheduled to meet. Costa jumps into the driver's seat and tells us he will drive -- Vickie and I look at each other with shock and horror, we have only known Costa to drive a motor bike and never a car. We ask him who taught him to drive and his response is I. The van is a standard and Costa grinds the gears for what seemed like a life time until the the three of us take off, the van groaning and lurching we make our way onto the bumpy dirt road. Vickie and I stick our heads out the window and tell the children following all around us -- run, run for your lives! Costa is driving the van! Lurching, groaning almost stalling we make our way along the road, turning a corner and narrowly missing a house by a mere inch. We continue along a bumpy road that eventually turns into a trail and then not even that. Vickie and I fearing we may never make it back to civilization realize that we are no longer on a road, we are now driving over small trees and tall grass, as we continue to bump along Costa it seems never changes gears. Eventually we make it to a house in the middle of no where and I ask Costa how he plans to turn the van around. Surrounded by trees and shrub brush Costa seems quite concerned -- actually he tells us he is worried! Vickie (super woman)jumps into action telling Costa not to worry she can turn the van around! I get out of the van and fearing the worst, I back as far away as I can and look behind at the crowd of people that were gathered to partake in our visit. Vickie climbs into the van and begins backing up almost hitting a big tree! Next thing you know dirt is flying everywhere and all I can hear is the howling laughter behind me. Tires spinning, dirt flying, gears grinding, it was quite a show! After what sounded like tires popping she finally got the van turned around to the delight of the cheering crowd behind me. Costa runs to Vickie giving her a big hug and tells her she saved his life. We continued on with our visit which was very pleasant and uneventful, except for the fact that I thought I would be meeting a boy and it turned out she was a girl! Thank goodness she loved soccer! The journey back was pleasant and I think Costa may have changed gears once or twice! The next day everytime Samuel had to fill the tires with air Vickie and I would break out in laughter, it will forever be our little secret as to why the tires kept getting low. Vickie (superwoman) you are a maniac!
at 9:45 AM