Back in Fredericton I had met with a woman who speaks Kinyarwanda to get some help learning a few more phrases than the, oh, three I already knew. Being raised abroad she and her family returned to Rwanda in 1990, only to have to leave in 1994. She's never been back, but she still speaks Kinyarwanda. She also has extended family who still live here. I offered that I would be happy to deliver anything small that she might wish to send to them. So, this morning, armed with the phone numbers of her aunts and with the help of the office staff at Heaven off I went to Nyamirambo, a particular neighborhood in Kigali. I met her aunt, saw the school at which she is headmistress, and delivered the goods. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to ask if I might take a photograph for my friend back in Fredericton! What I hadn't had was the presence of mind to remember that she had also sent a box of chocolates for me to deliver with the other gifts. When I returned to my room and went to get a bottle of water, there they sat, in the refrigerator. I was so disappointed. I couldn't travel back to Nyamirambo. I quickly fired off an email of profuse apology that has since been graciously accepted.
As soon as I walked back into the inn, the skies opened up and torrential rains were beating down on the metal roof making all kinds of noise. I was fairly certain that, as is often the case, they would not continue so I took care of a few things under a dry roof with plans to go out later. When the rain did stop, I went back to the UTC, picked up the paper, and had a couple of samosas at Bourbon Coffee, and then checked with the Volcano bus folks about my upcoming journey to Huye. I was going to be meeting the third of my language study friends soon.
At 2:30, Vincent found me waiting and we settled back down in Bourbon Coffee. I was shocked when he started presenting me with gifts. A while back he had asked that I send a photo. This didn't seem unreasonable as it's nice to have a visual of the person with whom one is communicating. Imagine my surprise when he presented me with a small plaque with my photo and reading, "Welcome to Rwanda Melissa" and a tinier, "From Vincent." He then gave me a small drum with Rwanda etched on the side and a woven plate, also reading "Rwanda." I had brought only us-Rwanda flag pins to give. But, I do think he genuinely liked it. Needless to say, I bought lunch!
From there I raced back to the hotel as I had an interview scheduled with CBC's Shift New Brunswick. I'll spare you the details of our getting connected, except to say that it involved dropped calls, no land line, and me sending an incorrect cell number. Fortunately the Skype-spirits were on our side and we ultimately spoke without interruption. As I type this I've not heard it as I couldn't stay up late enough to listen live and when I left the world of Internet access it the link hadn't yet been posted. I'm writing this without a connection and will post it when I'm back in Kigali.
When I finished, I found Tony sipping a Mutzig on the patio. I finally had my fish tacos and we spent a lovely evening talking about our respective days, less than progressive family members, and when we might each return to Rwanda.