Friday, January 1, 2010

Musanze, Part Deux

OK so I think I left off at the beginning of my day tour of Musanze. Musanze is out by Volcanoes National Park. I found out it is actually quite a big town but it really had the feel of a smaller town. I could really walk anywhere which was nice. When I was back in Tanzania many places were not particularly safe for a woman to walk alone so to start walking again felt great. Greg and Hussan had warned me the day tour would consist of a lot of walking but I just brushed them off. How hard could it be. Did they take me for some whimpy American girl. They had told me I we would eventually end the day at an orphanage pretty far out of town and that if I was tired coming back they could get a car or we could get boda bodas. (The boda boda is a very popular and much cheaper form of transport here. It is a motorcycle and is much cheaper than a taxi. Some places they are kind of dangerous. I read that in Kampala supposedly 5 people die a day in boda boda accidents. My first day in Kigali I really wanted to take one but was scared. So finally I made myself get on one but I told him to drive slow. Now I have taken so many that I am all about the boda boda. They are much safer here in Rwanda and really quite fun). Anyway, I scoffed at them thinking I could not make the walk back. Whatever!!!
So Hassan and I set out for our walk out of town to the orphanage. ( I want to point out that this is how so many things go here. I walk out of my room thinking I am going for coffee and end up being gone almost all day)
When we started out we were kind of on a very rough little tow rut type road that is very common here then it really just ended up being a walking path. This is really what most everyone uses here. Since many many people do not have cars there are really no need for roads on the outskirts of town, so just walking paths everywhere.
I guess this is a good time to talk about the "Muzungu". Muzungu basically means "white person". And a white person walking around here hears it all the time. I find this funny because they think it is no big deal but if I walked around my country saying "black person, black person", or "asian person, asian person" I am thining it would not go over so well. That said, it is really just part of the deal here. Here in Kigali it is not so much because you see a lot of white folk here but once you get into the smaller towns not so much. I mean I definitely see white people everyday but for some reason I still seem to be a novelty to people. Sometimes it starts to grate on my nerves when I here the adults talking about me. At my lower points I would really like to tell them how ignorant they are being but this would perhaps not make me so popular here. But it is the kids that say it most and from them it is really just kind of funny and cute. I get all kinds of reactions from kids here. Some are saying "muzungu" and they want money. Some of the little kids react the way they do with Santa Claus, from far away I am pretty cool but when I try to get close they go into hysterics trying to get away from the scary looking white person. Most of the kids though are just curious and want to joke around with me and touch me. Once they work up the nerve they really like to touch me and when they get really courageous they might grab my hand and walk with me. Most of the kids are really awesome. Many on the outskirts of town of really filthy, some with snotty noses and such, but they really are so much fun. It is hard to communicate with them but it is still really easy to play with them and make them laugh.
So, back to the day tour. We ended up on one of these foot paths way out on the outskirts of town. Kids would see me from there house and start yelling "muzungu, muzungu" and they almost always come running out.
The kids here, for the most part, LOVE to have their picture. The average person here in the countryside would never have access to a camera so it is such a novelty for the kids. And with the age of digital it is great because the kids get such a kick out of seeing their picture.
So this whole footpath expedition should have maybe taken 45 minutes or so to get back to the main road but we really took forever because I kept stopping and playing with the kids. And the kids don't just come out and then leave. They totally stay with us walking down the path. By the time we were about a half an hour in to this we had an entourage of about 10 - 15 kids. One of the little boys did not want me to touch him so I kept playfully grabbing at him then this turned into a game with all the kids. One of the little girls finally got courageous and just grabbed my hand and walked with me. All the while I kept stopping to take various pictures of them then they just mob me and the camera to get a look at the pictures and then they just crack up. Over and over again. I could really go on with this for hours and it would never get old to them. Finally the kids had come so far with me from where they started I was getting a little worried that their parents might be upset so Hassan had to coax them into turning back.


  1. You're the pied piper of Africa! Sounds like the little ones won your heart. Glad to hear you're finally having a great day.....where it's warm....much warmer. But what an experience!! Eagerly waiting for your next blog.
    Love, Suzy

  2. Well Amanada I'm technically challenged, none of my posts have actually posted, but here goes again. . .awesome! Love the story about the kids!