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Life in rural Rwanda

Life in rural Rwanda

We arrived early in the morning and got busy right away. Our first order of business was milking cows. Then we boiled sweet potatoes for breakfast. Fresh milk produced by cows owned by our hosts and potatoes grown in their backyard kick-started this memorable day.

After breakfast, we went to the farm to harvest ingredients for our own meals. We used traditional tools to wash and peel food components — pounding and grinding them the way our grandmothers used to do it. Following instructions from our instructor, we cooked our own food.

The fastest visitors in the group were tasked to catch a couple of chickens that ended up on our dining table. As I stood there witnessing the poor roasters trying to outrun their predators, I hoped we will not trade positions with livestock in the afterlife.

I participated in every activity except slaughtering animals. I love chicken ribs but I would rather stay away from knives and blood.

After lunch, we went back to work. This time, we collected bananas and leaves. Then we dug a hole and buried the fruits we had gathered. According to our instructor, it would take four days for the raw materials to be ready for extraction from the ground. Since we didn’t have four days, we were allowed to dig out previously buried ripe bananas before completing the process of brewing our own wine.

In the evening, we were entertained by a group of traditional dancers. When the wine kicked in, we donned traditional outfits and stepped on the dancefloor. Singing, drumming and dancing form an integral part of our ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings and storytelling.

Through the involvement in social, cultural and economic activities carried out by our hosts, we experienced their day-to-day lives. We would love to learn more in areas of construction, pottery and beekeeping. Unfortunately, our time in the village was limited.

It’s a different way of life. Something different is what we were looking for when we deviated from the monotonous routine of our usual weekends.

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