Monday, July 27, 2015

Mama Olivier's House

July 20
This morning Eden was awake by 6:30.  I have so enjoyed our mornings together here, snuggling in bed and talking before the day really starts.  I think it's been essential to have alone time with her in the midst of all the crowds of faces that I love and she does it know at all.  We got ready for a trip to town with Olivier.  He took us around to buy some gifts for friends and family at home.  I am amazed at the development in the city over the last eight years since I first came here.  It's incredible.  So many new businesses have popped up and new restaurants and cafes.  It does not seem at all like the same city. Eden loves motorcycles and, since there are more motorcycles than cars on most roads, any car ride with her is an unending chorus of 'mommy moootaca, one two three moootaca!!!'

Eden fell asleep on the way home and went we both went down for much needed naps.  Then we relaxed at the house with the cousins until Olivier came back to get us for the party at his house with our old crew. Going back to Mama Oliver's house was so familiar, it acted on my mind like a time warp. We have spent so many hours at this house, eating, drinking tea, studying the Bible, and celebrating each other. Looking around it was the usual suspects, minus Robert, plus Eden.  And even though I knew so much has changed, I could pretend for a moment that not a single thing had. The guys were arguing about something, or nothing, and the girls were talking about wedding details.  Sitting quietly by, I reveled in capturing each face in my memory. It was a very pensive night for me, when I wasn't trying to manage Eden. At the end of the evening we all prayed together and said our farewells until whether the next time is.  Only God knows. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Day of Reunions

July 19
Today was incredibly busy and full of reunions.  We began our morning at the church I attended while in Rwanda. I knew this would be a really overwhelming experience for Eden so I tried to set the bar at a reasonably low place, knowing that many mamas would try to take Eden from me and that every bit of her personal space would be invaded. Soon after we arrived she fell off one of the pews onto the cement floor and hit her head.  It was the perfect excuse for me to keep her nearby and she slept on me for the whole music set.  I got to reconnect with many dear people, including this amazing midwife whose work I have admired since I met her family 7 years ago.  

During the sermon we skipped out and went to Bourbon, the coffee shop we love.  Olivier came with of course, since Eden would never excuse us leaving him behind.  It was really nice to talk more with him and to enjoy Eden in a small setting. Of course she hardly noticed me because Olivier was there and she only has eyes for him. When we returned to church Eden was refreshed enough by our respite to greet people happily and tolerate non stop touching and poking form endless strangers.  I really enjoyed seeing the faces that made up my weekly rhythms for those three years. 
We returned home for lunch and naps ( a note on this:  I have grown accustomed over the past two weeks to napping when she does. That will be a rude awakening). After naps the girls played till it was time to leave for the Munyampeta family reunion. And what a reunion it was.  It took Eden a good half hour to warm up to the crew, but once she did it was all smiles and dancing and running around like she was one of the gang.  We were 27 total, of the almost 40 members of the family.  We had a whole goat roasted outside on a spit, along with several chickens, some potatoes, onions, and chipatti.  The evening was full of laughter and tears and noise and a beautiful prayer to close out our time.  I left with this type of full heart that comes from having the people I love all up in my personal space and being so tired that I wanted someone else to carry me instead of me carrying Eden.  

As the evening was coming to a close, there was a lull in the conversation and someone commented that Eden was so smart and so wonderful.  I, of course, replied that she gets it from Robert's side.  Which was the perfect reply.  What a round of applause that produced. I just wish Robert could have been there.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A humbling visit

July 18

This morning Eden and I snuggled in our room for a bit before going out to the family. She seems so much older to me this week.  Perhaps the greatness of this trip has somehow made her less of a baby.  She played with my hair and requested songs by name and giggled when I asked for some isukari, which is sugar that she has behind her ears. 

We ate our breakfast outside under a canopy with Sianna and then got ready to go visit the family of one of my all time favorite students, Sharon.  The family has ways been incredibly generous and gracious to me, though they have always had little.  Eden and I had Fanta and omelette with them.  Eden played soccer and bottle caps with the kids (the family has 8 total) while I visited with Sharon and her mother. Upon leaving the mom gave me a fold of gorgeous fabric that I know cost her dearly.  I was unable to hold back my tears, as I was so humbled and so thankful.  Life here is so hard and I could not help but ask why I was born to a family like mine in a country like America when these children will struggle their whole lives for survival. 

Eden and I stopped back at the market to get more fabric and she made friends with one of the vendors. Lilyose decided she likes Isimbi so much that she would make her shoes as a gift. We will collect them on Wednesday. 

After naps all the girls went to the fanciest hotel in town to swim.  We had a lovely afternoon and, since my brother in law is the attorney general in Rwanda, I got a free pass!  Perks.  We enjoyed Fanta and hot chips before leaving. 

Before supper the girls ran around playing soccer in the yard and Eden joined happily.  She really fits well with her cousins and they are so sweet to her.   She could totally do life here. She is doing a great job with the language even after a few days and says her own versions of murakoze, muraho and amatunda.  She understands more and more directions in Kinyarwanda


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