Days 20-21: quiet Kigali days/phantom AFRI-3100 limbs

It’s our second to last morning as a group and we’re all lounging around the living room, trying to catch up on some course work before breakfast.

It’s been a quiet past two days. Most of the group members were scattered around the country on various organized tours, but I opted to stay in Kigali to enjoy the city a few more days, run some errands, and save some money.

I printed photos, visited an internet café, and met with D., N., and A. I had breakfast alone yesterday, which felt bizarre and quiet, and I wrote my final paper for the course as I ate.

I also hung out lots with Eleanor, the only other person who stuck around Kigali.

Eleanor is the member of our class with the most life experience. She’s been all around the world and has children and children-in-law and even grandchildren.

Yesterday I accompanied her to an elementary school to deliver some books she’d brought from Canada to donate. It was a big, beautiful school with manicured gardens and bright classrooms with huge windows.

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We also had tea with Eleanor’s friend, Y. Y. is the perfect example of how unbelievably kind the people we’ve met here are.

At the beginning of the trip, Eleanor was out on a walk alone, fell, and broke her arm. Y. was walking along the street and stopped to help. After one person called an ambulance and another ran and found Allan, Y. went with Eleanor and Allan to the hospital to translate and help. Ever since she’s been taking Eleanor for regular check ups and stopping by to say hi.

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In the evening, after tea at Bourbon, Eleanor and I went for dinner at a place called Heaven. Eleanor had read a book about the restaurant before coming to Rwanda. We both had Nile perch and non-alcoholic cocktails and a lovely conversation about the world.

We arrived home just as the final members of the class were piling out of their tour vehicle. With all fifteen of us there, the house was brought back to life.

Tomorrow night is our final night here and our course-graduation party. We’re all feeling a mixture of excitement and nostalgia.

The idea of more breakfasts alone at my table in Ottawa seems very strange. I don’t think I’ll adjust immediately to leaving the group. I’ll feel them missing for a while: phantom-AFRI-3100-limbs.

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