This is Africa

Kyle Gaiser, WorldTeach Rwanda volunteer, writes about a blue-sky day at his site, Nyakarambi.

"Today was one of those days... the good kind... the kind where everything right and everything good reassures you that this time and place is where you're supposed to be. Today the sun was shining and the flowers were a bright pink against the blue sky. My iPod's "random" setting knew just the right music to play - starting with Johnny Cash and Damien rice, and followed by Flogging Molly, Yael Naim, good ole Peter Cetera, and the Fast Cars and Freedom of Rascal Flatts. I am showered and clean after three days of wearing the same thing (sadly, that's not unusual here, although I swear it doesn't happen too often), and smooth shaven. I'm wearing my new black suit coat, which I bought at the market for 9 US bucks, over a fitted anti-wrinkle Van Heusen button up (my favorite), tucked into a pair of khaki colored dockers. I take a 5 minute moto ride from my house to school, a bit quicker than usual as we fly over the holes in the dirt road, making one abrupt stop for an old lady crossing in front of us. I dismount and greet my headmaster and dean of studies. As I walk into the staff room the teachers applaud my new suit and comment on how smart it looks. I indulge in the attention for a brief moment, bowing and thanking them and telling them it's really just a coat. I teach my lesson, 100 minutes of mathematics. I'm refreshed, energetic, and on top of what needs to happen, but flexible and not worried if everything on my list to do doesn't get finished today - one step at a time, start where you are and do what you can.

Kyle's home in Rwanda

On the way home a little boy not much taller than my knee follows me down the road, jumping up and down, naked, and screaming "bonjour, bonjour!!" Others ask "How are you teacher?" or "How old are you?" Some laugh, some smile shyly, a few even cry at the site of a white person. Some run at me full force, arms open wide, embracing me with a huge hug around the knees. My pants now have green streaks of avacado smeared on them. I continue down the hill. Old men and women with canes in hand and baskets on head stop to greet me with a handshake, a smile, and a friendly "mwiriwe." They chuckle as I reply in kinyarwanda, "mwiriwe neza, amakuru?"

This week I will practice a song for church on my guitar with my friend John Paul and I'll invite a couple friends to meet and catch up over a fanta. If I have the time I might plant some vegetables in my garden out back.

This is Africa. This is my life. I'm glad I'm here."

Kyle's classroom

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