While at the Judge’s meeting, Mark and I made plans for him to come visit my site, so I took Remy for a walk to meet Mark in Kidaho. By the time we had arrived, Mark had called me to say he had been forced to take a later bus than initially expected and so I crossed the street and sat on a grassy hill. Remington laid down at my side, and I pet him, letting him know that Mark would be here in a little bit. While we waited, a crowd began to form around us- a crescent of forty or so Rwandans, staring and leering at us. Our watchers were all of all ages, and primarily consisted of men; some of them drunk. The people in the curve of the crescent stood in the road, not wanting to get too close. A bus zoomed by, dangerously close to them. Eventually the crowd started to holler at Remy, and when he was sufficiently agitated, he hopped up, started barking, and charged at them, scattering the group in all directions (at least for a minute). Mark’s bus mercifully arrived and seeing the cluster of people, he reasoned we were there, and came over. Remington enthusiastically greeted Mark and the three of us started for my house.
Ten minutes into our walk, the train of punk kids who followed Remy and me shouting “Dog dog dog” (who had by now become almost white noise for me) charged at Remy, chasing him into a field. Mark and I shouted at them to stop, but naturally they did not listen. It was dusk, and getting difficult to see. Mark and I called out for Remington as we quickly worked our way through the field. I wondered if this would be it- if Remington was gone and I would never see him again. It seemed possible. Just as Mark and I were getting close to giving up for the night, a woman who had watched all of this approached, and led us back through the field to a tangle of trees and bushes. Sure enough, Remington was cowering in a hollow pocket there. We coaxed him out, thanked the woman, and continued homeward, making it back as it got dark.
A tour of my school’s campus would have to wait until the morning’s light. Remy raced into the house and started lapping up water from his bowl. Mark and I went inside and I showed him around. We dropped off his bags in my room and closed the door so Remington wouldn’t disturb them. I served up some macaroni salad I had made that morning and brought over some Crystal hot sauce. Both Mark and Crystal are from New Orleans, and I thought he might like the taste of home. We ate the dinner in the glow of the solar light bulb my parents had sent me, and stayed up swapping stories until it ran out of juice. We got ready for bed and were asleep a few minutes later.
The next morning I got up and chopped some vegetables and cooked eggs for some breakfast sandwiches. Everything was ready by the time Mark was up, and we ate them, feeding the crumbs and leftovers to Remy. Once we had eaten, we went for a walk around the school and admired the view in the morning sunlight. After grabbing our bags we left the school and hiked down towards the lake, giving Mark a chance to check it out.
We reached the restaurant by the lake and took seats at a table under the shade of some trees. As we waited for the waitress to come take our orders, a group of well dressed Rwandans approached us. There were empty chairs next to each of us, and brazenly two strangers sat down to join us without so much as saying hello. The rest of the group clustered around us, and I mentally flashed back to the night before. One member of their party produced a camera, and suddenly snapped a picture. The waitress runs over to defend us.
Neither Mark nor I understood the exchange that next took place, but the strangers who had sat down with us stood up, so I assumed our waitress had told everyone to leave us alone. I will never know what was conveyed, but the two who stood walked away to join their friends and a second pair sat down with us. Others came up and moved our table out of the way so that it would not sully their pictures. Click. Those two got up and were replaced by two others. Click. Twenty-six pictures later, (some of which had been large group photos with us), the people told us now we needed to move- they wanted to get some pictures of us with the lake in the background. I’m not sure why, but we went along with it. Finally, they thanked us and departed. We put our table back in front of our chairs, and the waitress returned to get our orders. We asked her what had just happened- all she told us was that the group had been here for a lakeside baptism. We ordered our meals.
While we waited for our lunches, Remington ran around the grass by the lake looking for bones to chew on while Mark and I chatted about our ideas of what we might do post-Peace Corps. The world always seems both larger and more accessible when I converse with other PCVs. There is so much to see and so many things to do, but PCVs tend to talk about these things as future possibilities. The world feels more open to those who step into it. Mark handed me a composition book and let me read some poems he had written- it was a real honor. A lot of Mark’s poetry touched on different aspects of our service, and it made me feel guilty for not writing much of anything since I arrived in-country. I mentally decided to try to remedy that.
After eating, we leisurely strolled back to my house, and as we left the restaurant, Remy found a goat leg- not displaying signs of rigor mortis- and Mark speculated that this was probably from the goat that had become his brochettes for lunch. We let Remy bring his treasure home. Back at the house we took a siesta and I let Mark paw through my college viewbooks.
That evening we had more macaroni salad, and I made Shirley Temples for us to drink. We stayed up until the solar lightbulb went out and the sugar in the mocktails had worn off. We said goodnight to Remy and went to bed.
The next morning, Mark and I left the house early so we could catch a bus to take us to Musanze. Remington is a handful on the bus, and I did not want to worry about him in a big city, so we left him behind. We made it to Kidaho in good time (and refreshingly, without much harassment.) Once we had arrived in Musanze, we went to a hostel I knew that had a patisserie and ordered donuts and drinks. They were not exactly like American pastries, but they were still an exciting treat.
Once fully satisfied, we made our way to the restaurant/hostel where I was soon to have a meeting. Despite the fact that Mark was a stranger to these parts and I was a native, Mark had a significantly better sense of direction. We arrived a little late, but it was alright. Mark said hello to everyone else, goodbye to me, and headed off to get a bus ticket so he could go visit another PCV friend sort of in the area. I apologized for my tardiness and took a seat so I could participate in the meeting.