Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Peace Week started in Rwanda on Saturday. The kick-off was the Jazz for Peace Dinner and Concert that evening. Rick Della Rata Jazz for Peace performed as he has throughout the world using music as a reconciliation vehicle. The theme of the event was violence against women so it stressed reconciliation within families as well as the country. There were many dignitaries present from the Rwandan Government, the UN, and assorted Embassy people from 7 countries.
High School age kids enacted two plays they wrote about the violence they have experienced firsthand in their short lives and although I could not understand the words, their actions told a very sad story. There was also one of the best “Kodak” moments that I missed because I did not take my camera…The Inganzo Ngali Dancers performed native dances to drums and chanting. It was beautiful and the rhythm hypnotizing. I found a short video of the 2009 Folk dance completion to give you an idea of what I saw.
Now for the social interaction; I met a number of people closer to my age and have been invited to attend a book club next week and a social club gathering on Friday night. On Sunday I went to Lake Muhazi, a six mile long finger lake that I saw as I flew into Kigali. The people I met last week plus a number of other Americans and Rwandan employees at the Embassy were there. It was difficult to meet in Kigali because so many roads were closed due to the Marathon where over 5000 participants from around the world participated.
The lake was an hour’s drive with more beautiful rolling hills on another road I had not yet traveled. The Embassy structure was primitive and you had to bring a bucket of lake water to flush the toilet but we had a great time.
The pot luck picnic included lots of different foods and beverages. I had my first Diet Coke since I arrived because one person uses her allotment for “consumables” (products each state department employee is allowed to ship to a foreign country) for Diet Coke, Fresca and chips.
Some people went out in the boat; others played badminton but most sat around, talked, laughed and told wonderful stories of their postings around the world. I got home around 8:30 after having the most fun so far.