Rwandan Ramblings

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And then you fall back in love.

It only takes a couple of days – a couple of smiles, a couple of “Hi Maggie’s” when you’re in the middle of nowhere, a startling sunrise or star-scattered night sky, and a couple of fun exchanges in the market to give you a smack and get you back into the swing of things.

It’s been about a month now since I found myself in a rut. I found work exasperating because the more involved and passionate I got about my project, the less I wanted to accept that setbacks occur more frequently here or that people you work with are not quite as passionate as you. I hated being a novelty. I wanted black skin so I could walk down the street anonymously. News from home served to make apparent how far away I am from those I love - despite internet, telephones, blogs, letters, newspapers, email...

I was in a rut – I tried climbing out of it at first, but then felt content to sit back and wallow in feeling sorry for myself. I’m now climbing out. I still find the gimme gimme game frustrating. I find the ungratefulness of the culture a wall I feel my head banging against. I’m tired of being treated as a plastic human being who can be talked about and laughed at but not have their feelings considered. But now, I’m remembering I didn’t come here because it’d be breeze. And that’s so far from what suits me anyway. And I chose to come here and be the outsider. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. And culture (what does one mean by culture? I hate that as an excuse) really is different. Just because somebody doesn’t say thank you doesn’t mean they aren’t grateful. And if people don’t work as hard as you do – then face up to it, it’s going to happen again, be it London, Ryde, or Ouagadougou.

I’m back in love with Rwanda.


At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Isabelle said...

Hey maggie,
Just came across your website.
I totally know what you mean about your rut. I've been there for a while, and I too sat and wallowed in it for a longer than I should have. I'm just about out of it now, but the frustrations, isolation and mere "what the hell am i trying to achieve? why do I bother?" are just so over-whelming at times. The reality of it all knocked me for 6.
Namibia too had really recent atrocities and genocides, by the white colonists, so blacks are just so wary if you have white skin. And when they are willing to communicate, it is gimme gimme gimme.

I'm glad to hear your back on with it and that things improve with your new perspective.

Much love and light,
Isabelle (YfD Namibia)x

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Dave Alagna said...

Hi Maggie,
My name is Dave Alagna and I am currently in the process of formally accepting an offer of a placement in Kigeme as a teacher trainer and recource centre adviser starting in feb. Very interesting reading your blog - am i right that Gikongoro is up the road from Kigeme? Any advice/tips about location or job would be great!
Kind regards,
Dave Alagna

At 10:50 PM, Blogger mags said...

Hey Dave,
Yes, Kigeme is just up the road. Feel free to get in touch with me by email ( I know a couple of people who live out there so I can always put you in touch. I have just got back to the UK, so my ramblings are done. IN fact I need very soon to update and sign off from here. Very sad...!


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