June 8th: Shake the Dust

5:01 AM

June 8th:

Today was a fairly relaxing day. We tried to take it easy to make sure that we were fully recovered from our virus. We spent the morning waking up slow (and eating pancakes, again. Can’t get enough). The guest house is always relaxing, accompanied by birds chirping and a quiet buzz of the city in the background. Originally this was supposed to be our last day but we decided to spend one more day in Rwanda to make sure we weren’t traveling on a sick stomach. I’ve learned while traveling that adaptability is key. You can have the most thought out itinerary, but chances are something unexpected will come your way, like a crazy virus or a missed bus. You have to roll with the punches and take everything as a new opportunity for adventure. From here on out, my itinerary is “to be determined” and I like it that way. 

In the afternoon, we ventured out to Kimirongo, a marketplace that Aidah suggested. The marketplace smelled of garlic and fresh fruit. It was packed full of vendors selling beautiful fabrics, necklaces, earrings as well as used clothing, fruits, vegetables, fish, and coffee. Rwanda has some of the finest coffee in the world. At the back of the market was rows of ladies sewing fabric into everything from dresses, to skirts, to bags. Jenelle had visited the market the day before with Aidah and Aidah introduced her to some of her seamstress friends. We met them and decided to order bags from them. We walked around and picked out our favorite pattern of fabric and then showed them our vision for how we wanted the bag to look. All the vendors were very eager to show us around their shop, including Amos, a younger boy who spoke english. We bought our fabric from Amos and tomorrow we will pick up our handmade bags from the seamstress. 

While at the market, we ran into the same American that helped us out the other day. It was interesting to see her on the opposite side of town but it was also a huge relief. We were surprised to find that most places we went, we were the only white people there, generating a lot of stares. Even we have found ourselves staring at Americans as if they were a rarity. We have started to get a sense for how much things cost, helping us to barter and not get taken advantage of. One man tried to sell us a bus ticket for double the price. Knowing that we were being taken advantage of, we quickly declined his offer as his friends behind him began laughing at him, realizing that he had failed at tricking us. He laughed along with them which made us laugh and all of a sudden we were all laughing in the middle of the marketplace in Kimirongo. So many moments we have just found ourselves laughing at the most random of things, like when the bus conductor decided to sit on Anna’s lap on our bus ride to the market. That was quite the sight. 

After the market, we came back and Aidah cooked us a delicious stirfry with green beans, broccoli and peppers over rice. We have been discouraged from going out in Rwanda past dark so we stayed in the guest house, playing rummikub, listening to slam poetry, sharing stories of tour, love languages and faith. We all share a need to go deeper and do more and the conversations brought so much life to me. I am grateful that the Lord has brought our paths together for this journey. In the background of our conversations we could hear a concert going on in a stadium about a mile or two away. We started hearing them around the afternoon and the concert did not end until 3 or 4 in the morning. Rwandan’s know how to party, we however could hardly stay up past 10:30. It seems we have a lot to learn. 

We listened to slam poetry by Anis Mojgani. My favorite piece I have ever heard is his poem, “Shake the Dust”. I heard him perform it live a few months ago in Nashville and each time I hear it a different verse speaks to me in a different way. Lindsey pointed out her favorite verse that absolutely overwhelms me: 

“Speak every time you stand, so you do not forget yourselves. Do not let a second go by that does not remind you that your heart beats nine hundred times a day, and there are enough gallons of blood to make you an ocean.” -Shake the Dust 

Africa challenges me in a way that America has never challenged me. It makes me thirst for life and appreciate the small things that keep me moving and breathing and being. So shake the dust, this life is so valuable. 

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  1. Love anis Mojgani. He's awesome! I love your blog posts, be safe.