Iki n’iki? (Each-ey neech-y?)

(I wrote this almost 2 months ago, about 2 weeks after we moved, but took me awhile to get posted.)

Slowly, we are making friends.  It is exhausting to have every child shout for a crowd (mzungu! MZUNGU!) every time we leave the house, so we are hoping people get used to us.  We’ve started with our neighbors: I explained to the kids on one side, (age 2 &4) in my halting kinyarwanda that I would appreciate it if they used my name, instead.  They didn’t quite get it, but their mom did, and she helped explain.  These kids and their mom & grandmother (?) are very friendly, and we have small conversations every day.  The 4-year old boy is especially enthusiastic! (Its nice because the girl on the other side hid and cried every time she saw us for the first week.)ch. laugh

He came over while I was washing dishes, and one of us asked “iki n’iki?” (What is it?)  He picked up every cup and asked, “iki n’iki?”

Now, this is the perfect game.  I can practice the words I know, and learn new ones, AND he is having fun!Ch. teeth

AmatweCh. nose

Update: the fearful little girl and I have since made friends, beginning with small games of repeating actions, from a distance

Update: the fearful little girl and I have since made friends, beginning with small games of repeating actions, from a distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Food

I’m sure you all know that Mike and I love food.  We enjoy trying new things, cooking together, and eating really good food.

We enjoy Rwandan food for the most part, however, it gets monotonous very quickly.  Besides the privilege of wealth (neither of us has ever had to worry that we won’t have enough food), we are a little spoiled coming from a country where it is common to eat foods from many different cultures.  SO, making food that we enjoy becomes important for our ability to be here long-term.

We have been prioritizing in terms of appliances.  Our housemates have a fridge, but it is first priority when we move out.  We have been living without an oven, and we may get one in the future (they are affordable but not as high-priority for us as a fridge).  I have been content to live without an oven, because it means I eat less cookies, cake, etc, but I didn’t realize how many other things I use the oven for.

We got a high-powered blender for Christmas.  We use it every day,

yogurt, greens, pineapple, tree tomato, passion fruit, mango & bananas, yum.  If you can get past the way it looks, it is delicious & nutritious!

yogurt, greens, pineapple, tree tomato, passion fruit, mango & bananas, yum. If you can get past the way it looks, it  is delicious.

often more than once.  Primarily for smoothies – we can take advantage of the abundance of cheap, fresh fruit, so we have one, almost every day.  Besides that, it makes some tasks easier (have you ever crumbled bread crumbs by hand?), lets us do thing we wouldn’t be able to otherwise (like make peanut butter), and gives us the opportunity for some treats (frozen lemon slushy, coffee slushy, soft frozen yogurt).

There are a lot of things that we are able to get easily at home that are more difficult, expensive, or impossible to obtain here.  However, there is an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.  One obstacle is creativity (I’m running out of ideas for ways to combine tomatoes, onions, and green peppers), the other is time.  In theory, I love the idea that everything is made from scratch – it is much healthier, and tastes better.  But in practice…  first I have to go see what I can find today, which means checking all the shops – about half an hour to an hour, and often with mixed results.  There are few shortcuts, like a can of pasta sauce or mushroom soup.  (Or frozen pierogies – we’ve made them from scratch a few times and are getting better/faster.)

We get milk from our neighbor’s cow – we use it for coffee, sauces, and to make ricotta & yogurt.  (There is hardly any cream on it, but it tastes less like “cow” than a lot of fresh milk I’ve had.)

We are learning: where we can get different items, what we should stock up on in Kigali, and different ways to be creative with what is here. (For example, green beans are cheap and plentiful right now.  So far, we’ve thought of 5 different ways to eat them that don’t include baking.)  I don’t drool with envy as much at the seemingly endless stream of food pictures/recipes people post on facebook.  (Every once in a while, people even post something helpful.)  Slowly, this area of our life is getting to be familiar, manageable, and even enjoyable.

 

 

 

MZUNGU! MZUNGU! HOWAREYOU!!

Slowly, people are starting to get used to us.  Most days, Mike goes over to the YWAM smoothieland to work on the garden project.  He is gone before it is fully light so that they can take advantage of working in the cooler hours. (Started before 6 am every day, yikes.)  I usually go over a few hours later and take him a nutrition-packed smoothie for breakfast.

 

Its about 20-30 minute walk, one way.  Its a good excuse for me to get out into the community, interact with people on a non-threatening level, and to pray for the people and situations I observe.

I see many women (and children) carrying bundles of wood)

I see many women (and children) carrying bundles of wood)

He saw me taking a picture of the lady with wood, and wanted me to take one of him too, once he had his bundle loaded!

He saw me taking a picture of the lady with wood, and wanted me to take one of him too, once he had his bundle loaded!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, everyone wants to greet me.  The more I learn of the language, the more I realize that when people call me “foreigner,” its really not an offensive thing – for example, in Kinyarwanda, I could just greet someone “girl” or “woman” or “hello, old man.”  (I can’t bring myself to say the last one, it feels rude to me.)

The kids get especially excited and shout “MZUNGU! MZUNGU!” so of course, all their friends come running.  Then they shout at me, in a sing song way “HOWAREYOU!” or my favourite, “Good morning sir.” They all want to touch my hand, partly in greeting but also because they expect that my skin feels different from theirs, so they want to touch it.

these guys all came over in a group

these guys all came over in a group

So I have taken to giving “lectures” to the ones that shout the loudest, the ones I see everyday, with my limited Kinyarwanda.  translated back into English, I think it goes something like this: “Kids, come here.  Listen: I don’t like hear ‘MZUNGU.’ (here I imitate their shouting) I don’t like.  If you want talk to me… come, say, Hello, or how are you, or good morning.  Stop say ‘MZUNGU.’  Understand?”   Then they all nod solemnly I greet them all, and smile my friendliest smile.

—they were all lined up singing or something, but stopped when they saw me with the camera

—they were all lined up singing or something, but stopped when they saw me with the camera

At least, that’s what I think I am saying. It seems to be working.  In general, the adults think its great fun that I can have small conversations with them, and I have been able to have a few really great conversations with people.

then they all gathered round to touch my hand one more time

then they all gathered round to touch my hand one more time