Friday, May 10, 2013

Scary thunder storms and the safety of my princess canopy

We couldn't have found a better mid-range place to eat last night. While driving into town, we passed the iconic Hotel des Mille Collines (made famous in the movie, Hotel Rwanda). It's a place we wanted to check out before leaving Kigali, so we thought we might as well go in and enjoy a meal in the place that has unfortunately become somewhat of a tourist attraction. Touristy elements aside, we had a lovely evening. We ate at the lively poolside bar, where there was a fabulous live band, numerous tourists and expats, and fresh meat skewers being barbecued on deck. It was eerie to think of the things that happened on the same deck just 19 years ago, and we reflected on how much Rwanda has developed since that time, thankful for the restored peace.
Overnight, I was jolted awake by a crash of thunder. The rain that followed was so strong, I was actually frightened. I normally love falling asleep to the pitter patter of rain on my window at home in Oakville, but the walls at our place here at SFB are so tremendously thin, I legitimately thought the rain would burst through. In hindsight that was an absolutely ridiculous thought, but I suppose I was just extremely tired and the sheer power and noise of this storm just had me shivering with fear.

The rain started again this morning soon after our class started, and Chris did a tremendous job competing with the storm for a good ten minutes. He had to dart around the class in order to hear people's contribution, and I was impressed with how loud he could yell his lesson!

Since all three of us had laid in bed awake during the storm last night, and since we had class an hour earlier today, we were all quite tired and decided to take an afternoon siesta. I got some work done in the safety of my princess canopy (mosquito net) and was quite productive before lying down. This time the rain calmed down, and although it was still pouring, it was nowhere near as strong as last night, and I fell asleep easily to its sounds.
In the evening, I went to prayers again at the Kigali Jamat Khane and Ismaili Centre. I made some new friends, and again was taken aback by how warm and welcoming everyone was! Since the new moon fell on a Friday this month, there were special prayers, and many people fasted today. This happens only once or twice a year, and the last time it happened was after my conference in Doha, Qatar, while I was in Bangladesh visiting my cousin Aliya, who was volunteering there! I started missing home quite a bit, as we have a traditional meal that we normally eat together before prayers to break the fast, and it's been quite some time since I've been a part of the evening at home. However, someone up there was listening to me, and it just so happened that at the Kigali place of worship, they served a meal after prayers, very similar to the one we normally have at home! I therefore broke my fast with my Kigali family, and felt a little less homesick in the end. :)

Tomorrow morning we will be bussing West to a town near the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are apparently beautiful lakes and numerous hiking trails there, which we will explore over the course of the weekend… Excited for our mini getaway!

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