Rwandan Ramblings

Monday, June 11, 2007

I don’t know who is more nervous about my parents impending arrival in Rwanda
my mother “Shall I pack a toaster and some corned beef???” or me “Don’t do that, don’t touch that, leave that alone and just keep calm!”. Or Rwanda.

With a Murphy clan about to hit, I am trying to think of some important hints and tips for them. Zingalo was lesson 1 in Kinyarwanda, but here are a few friendly bits of advice I’ll share with them – and with you...

1) When you see me greet my friends, you may think that I am about to get violent. But, three headbutts, one to the left, one to the right, and one back to the left, before a handshake is about as respectful and polite as you can get. It’s not a Glasgow kiss. So don’t try to restrain me.

2) You don’t know my friends well enough to do this. What you guys need to do is shake hands whilst holding your right elbow wth your left arm. Instant good marks for politeness guaranteed.

3) Dessy. Men hold hands here. Do not see this as a threat to your sexuality – just go for it! It’s friendly! You never know, after a little while, you might start to like it. It usually starts with the handshake, which then turns into the hand hold. There’s also the “we’re friends walking down the street” man-hold too.

4) Unfortunately, men and women cannot hold hands....mum and dad, go easy. That’s disgusting.

5) Plastic bags. As soon as you arrive in Rwanda all plastic bags on view will be stripped from your person. This is part of their drive to environmental cleanliness; “Our country is very small. We do not need to choke it with plastic bags”. Unfortunately they will probably all languish in the entrance area to the airport where a growing mountain festers. Dad, this means that you may need to invest in a bag of some sort. They’re fine for Ryde Saints and St Mary’s hospital but plastic bags are so un-chic here...

6) There is no need to buy various khaki coloured three zip trousers, or a beige multi pocketed safari jacket just because you’re coming to Africa. You’ll look like an eedjit. And what are you going to put in all those pockets? Sue, this applies for Nike Air Jerusalems too.

7) Don’t take photos without asking people first! Don’t ask what ethnicity people are! Don’t believe the newspapers!

8) Bring rain jackets. Might be Africa but it rains. Lots.

9) Don’t give food/money to the kids that ask for it. Mag’s policy. If they ask for a bonbon they probably don’t need it...

I promise to entertain you all with just how the Murphy clan copes in the so called heart of darkness. I have been told, that if you prepare them for the worst – the whole trip may just go that little bit smoother...


At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Tom James said...

Maggie, please ensure the safekeeping of your lovely, lovely sister. she is a delicate flower and may require attention during times of distress; i recommend a gently stroking motion under the chin. hope you've had an amazing time with the fam, the gorilla excursion sounds incredible! send my love to susie please. x

At 1:10 PM, Blogger mags said...

"delicate flower". Really? You are the first person eve to describe her as such I believe...


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