Tuesday

Day 2

I'm actually writing this on Day 3 as last night all I could manage was a facebook post.

I awakened at 5:45 am. Fortunately I had the presence of mind, on Sunday night, to ask what I might take for breakfast, knowing that nobody would be in the kitchen at that hour. They gave me a bowl of granola, a bowl of fruit, and a yogurt to keep inmy fridge. Good thing as it was going to be a long day.

I went out to the gate at 6:45 and Tony, my new friend from the UK, and his driver for the day, Jean Paul, had just pulled up. Off we went and in a few minutes we were at Amahoro Stadium. We had to get in separate lines as there were hands-on searches being conducted by members of the Republican Guard. My line didn't seem to move at all, but soon I could see Tony and Jean Paul waiting on the steps, on the other side of the gate.

Other lines were formed, men moved past us, and there we stood. Then, a woman came up, spoke to the woman behind me in Kinyarwanda, stepped in front of me, smiled, and said mwaramutse (good morning). I wasn't about to argue, we'd get in soon enough. A little while later, same thing, minus the mwaramutse, but a young girl. "Okay," I thought, "I'm the mizungu (foreigner/white), it's your event." We inched our way forward. The soldier was letting five people line up in front of the soldier doing the searches, followed by a break of about six feet and then the rest of the line, eventually with me in front. At one point, as the five became four then three, a group of five or six women ran up and got in the "front" line, ahead of me. Now I was annoyed. I'm used to hearing kids hollering "Mizungu, mizungu" as a bus load of white people drives by. But, to feel - rightly or not - that people were cutting in front of me because I was Mizungu and they thought I'd do nothing was annoying. Now, to be fair, I did see other women cut the line. But, they were promptly called out for it. This time, with the rush of women, and not caring if they actually understood me, I said, gesturing to my face, "Oh, right, Muzungu, so you can just cut ahead of me." They all started smiling and furiously gesturing... for me to join them! I did not as they were already a larger number than the guards were permitting. I smiled back and waved "No." At about the same time a Republican Guard who I think knew what had transpired gestured for me to move to the front of the line next to us. It was not yet 8:00, I'd already had an interesting day, and we weren't even inside the stadium yet!

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