The day before we left for Kigali was reserved to be spent with our resource families, thanking them for their hospitality and friendship during PST. Many of the PCTs chose to spend their time in other ways (for example, nursing post-New Year’s Eve hangovers from the night before) but I was really sad to be going so far away from my family and had been looking forward to this visit.
When I got there, Jacky had prepared a predictably lovely meal (with all of my favorite dishes from our previous visits) and kept refilling my plate when I emptied it until I had to practically beg her to stop. Afterwards, I pulled out a gift I had bought for her in Musanze before I returned from site visit - coconut flavored Malibu rum. Mama loved sweet things (having shown me to mix a fanto in with your beer to make it sweeter) and enjoyed alcohol, so I expected that she would like this; surprisingly she had never heard of rum. I poured her a splash, and she Loved it! She went to go get me a present they had gotten for me - a pitcher and cup set for my new home. I needed this and was pleased taht every time I used it, I would have cause to remember my family here. Romeo came into the room, saw Jacky’s cup on the table, and before I coud say something took a sip. The rum was clear, so I imagine he had thought this was water - her made a face as he gulped it down. I certainly don’t approve of children drinking, but it was unanticipated, and Jacky tells me it’s okay to give your kids a sip. Later, Romeo tricked Simbi into having some, and she definitely believed she was drinking water: the moment it entered her mouth, her eyes bugged out, she froze, and then she looked at us, figuring things out. She sprinted for the door, put on her sandals, ran outside and spit into the bushes. It was really cute and entertaining, but I felt a little guilty for having brought the run into her house.
The rest of the visit was very sweet and emotional. Papa had come home and so our family just spent time together, knowing just how much we were going to miss each other once I was living in Kagogo. I loved my family so much! My mama had given me a Kinyarwanda name (Ntwari, pronounced ‘n-wah-ree, and meaning hero) because she felt it was heroic of me to choose to come here and teach when I could be working or going to graduate school back in America; she had introduced me to Rwandan dowry ceremonies; she had cooked so many special meals for me, even having tofu because she wanted her vegetarian muzungu son to be happy. She is a great mother. Papa and I had not really spent much time together since he was usually working in Burundi, but he gave me a hug and wished me a safe time in the North. My family was very proud of me for getting to swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. As curfew approached, I gave them each one last hug, thanked them again for being so wonderful and then they walked me back to my house so I could pack for the trip to Kigali in the morning. I missed them already.