Today was the first physically exhausting day, and I'm thankful for the experience. The morning hike reminded me I am physically more capable of more than I often believe. We crossed streams by two, not so sturdy, logs laying across the water. At first I wanted to turn around. After crossing the first one successfully, I was reminded that I do have a sense a balance. I was ready to take on the second crossing. Besides my body image boost, the hike granted me with the opportunity to see villages and fields first hand. I have often felt removed from the people while I gaze at them and hear children yelling "muzungu" from the bus windows. Today I was on the ground. I shook many hands, exchanged smiles and short greetings, and gained a limited, but better, perspective of the everyday terrain traveled by the local people. No matter what I am an outsider, and in no way is it possible to begin to understand the daily life of the people around Musanze (my current location). However, just spending one morning on the ground was so delightful and provided me with a new and desired outlook.
After the hike, we worked with women in a basket weaving collective. I've been seeing (and buying) many baskets over the last week and a half. Today, I welcomed the opportunity to meet women who do it and to attempt doing so myself. I really liked weaving. I think I could get more into if given the chance. I'm going to hang up the souvenir of my work when I return to MN. For all you blog readers, I hope your friends here in Rwanda bring you a basket.
I spent the afternoon at the local market. I was waiting for a couple of shirts I ordered to be finished. Angela, Yvan, and I spoke with some of the seamstresses and cloth sellers about their job and babies. I found out how very little seamstresses actually make. After the cost of renting a stall and sewing machine, one woman reported making 5,000 RWF or about 8 USD per month. On a different note, child delivery is free at the hospital, but it the government charges if they find out a woman delivers at home/outside of the hospital. These are a couple of the interesting things I found out. Many thanks to Yvan for translating! Many conversations thus far have been limited to one topic or in a short time period. I was thankful for the opportunity to have speak with people casually about important topics.
Overall, today was another great day!