Day 7

We were all pretty beat from our long day traveling home from Uganda, so we slept in (at least we tried to) and relaxed a little. Alezah made an amazingly fast recovery (thanks Cipro!) and woke up feeling nearly back to her normal cheery self. We all (still!) wonder exactly what it was that hit her... Mysterious. We all ate the same food at the same places and I bit my cuticles more than anybody (ie: if it was germs, I should have gotten them...) Who knows!

Before lunch, we headed out to a village where World Relief has a water filtration project going. Basically how it works is... there are volunteers who fill these big containers with layers of different sizes of rock, gravel and sand. There is one filter for every 4 village families, and because the water is pushed through the filter by gravity (meaning it is very slow), the families filter water around the clock.

Anyway, it was very interesting to see the process, and the volunteers were super excited to see us, and greeted us with songs and dances.

After we left, we went to a restaurant called "Africa Bite"; it's a buffet restaurant that serves traditional Rwandan food, which includes things like rice, beans in sauce, peanut sauce (not like Thai though), mashed green bananas (these taste more like mashed potatoes), a sort of thick white cornmeal cake, veggies in broth, fried pieces of chicken and fish, etc. Nothing too spicy or exotic, (thankfully!) but still mostly out of the norm for my very american children. The first time we'd come to this restaurant early in the trip, the kids had politely turned down most of what they saw in the buffet line, and stuck with what was somewhat familiar (they ended up eating carrot sticks and a little rice.) This time (it's amazing what being hungry will do!) they all chowed down heartily as if they were being served pizza with mac n cheese. Remarkable.

After lunch we went to see Emily's office and then to an after-school education program for kids. We sat with the kids on mats on the grass as they talked about healthy habits and good hygiene and played games, sang songs and did a short bible lesson.

Side note: Going into the trip, I thought Olivia would be really excited to be around lots of "brown people" (as she calls them) on this trip. She knows she was born in Ethiopia ("where everyone is brown!") and although it's been awhile, she definitely went through a stage of wanting to be "tan" like us and not "brown" like she is. One of the big things I pumped up for her about this trip (and let's face it-- when you're 3, there's not a whole lot to pump up) was that she was going to be seeing so many beautiful brown people JUST LIKE HER! Well. Not so fast. She was not at all impressed by the cute village kids (wanted nothing to do with them) wouldn't smile or be friendly to any of the adults who loved her on sight, and barely would wave hi to people when I'd ask her to. I have no idea why -- my best guess is that she was just overwhelmed and out of her comfort zone and reacted by turning anti-social. Which if you know her, is just crazy. But it was a little awkward for me-- here I am trying to be all friendly and nice to these kind people, and I have this brown American child with a snotty attitude hanging around my neck!!  Great, just really great!

We went out for pizza that night, (sans Shami who had a work dinner to attend,) and we all fell on it like seriously starved people. I guess even though I thought we were all doing great at being culturally sensitive and eating like the locals (and honestly enjoying it!)... there's really nothing like familiar food... especially when it's pizza. It started raining at one point... I have this great mental snapshot from that night of us girls eating this amazing margherita pizza, drinking red wine, talking and laughing... the kids chattering and playing about, and the rain drumming on the tin roof while a cool breeze drifted through the open room. Really lovely. After awhile, Olivia started to get that crazy over-tired look in her eye and I knew we needed to bail STAT. We headed back to the guest house -- another late night on the balcony; another day gone and another day closer to leaving! Sigh.


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