Journal, Day 11 [written on the 12th]
Yesterday, the 11th, was a rough day for me. There was a lot of up-and-down in my mood, which is only partially regulated by my anti-depressant medication. The morning started out well. It was our first night of not camping in a week, so I thoroughly enjoyed being in a bed, and having a pillow (I forgot to bring one with me on this trip). Sara and I had breakfast at the hotel – which was awesomely not camp food – and then walked around Kigali a bit to do some shopping. We got some more minutes for our phones, and stopped by a clothing shop that we had visited the night before. The two girls who work there, Fiona and Zya, remembered us from the night before (we had stopped there, looking for pants for Sara) and invited us to go to a club with them on Friday. Of course, we won’t be there on Friday – we’ll still be in Nyungway – so we had a good excuse to decline the offer.
I had some time in the morning, while we were waiting to find out the schedule for the day, to write a substantial email to Archer. That was a good feeling; it had been a while. I even had to write a note to my girlfriend, and some of my other friends. – And then the computer’s power went out. So I went and waited with everyone else.
We got a new driver and a new truck right around lunch time. That was great because the old driver was actually frightening (in his driving ‘technique’), we couldn’t communicate with him because he only spoke ikinyarwandan (which I probably just spelled wrong), and the vehicle was crap. The new driver speaks French and English, is a very good driver, and has a really nice – if a bit small – truck. We’re pretty cramped in there, but at least it’s safer and we can communicate with the driver. Unfortunately, I think the seating arrangement made me nauseous. There’s one row of regular seating behind the front seat, then the back of the truck has two rows which face the center of the truck. Sitting on one of the back seats means you’re moving sideways when the truck drives forward. I sat on the inner edge of one of those seats, and had a little less than half a cheek actually on the seat for the entire trip. The other girls helped out by putting bags and jackets next to the seat, so I had something to sit on, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to handle that without all the Aleve I took. My back is still paying for it today. It’s all good though. Next time, I’ll ask to sit facing forward. The nausea was worse than the pain, anyway.
The highlight of the day, and really of the trip if you exclude the research from consideration, was the dancers we saw at the museum yesterday. They wove dramatic dancing in with the traditional Rwandan dances, and drummed as they danced. There’s something very primal about drumming that moves me every single time. And their drumming was powerful. It really was an unexpectedly spiritual experience. On one hand, I wished I had my drum with me, because I was inspired by their drumming. On the other hand, I’m glad I didn’t, because not having my drum forced the experience to remain separate from anything I would do on my own. I’m not sure if that makes as much sense ‘out loud’ as it does in my head, but there you go.
After the museum we stopped for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The social aspect of that was fun, but it seemed to take forever to be served our food. Maybe it just seemed that way because I was so tired and nauseous. Then we were back in the truck, headed to Nyungway. Luckily, that was a shorter trip, and the car sickness wasn’t quite as rough. Somehow I ended up sitting entirely on the bags, though, with just a small portion of my thigh touching the seat. …I can’t do that again. By the time we got to the guest house, I was hurting, sick, and feeling very anti-social. Not a great combination when I’m surrounded by exuberant girls who were just excited to be here, and also probably tired. In particular, Lana and I really got on each other’s nerves last night, and it’s embarrassing to acknowledge that I snapped at her. We both had valid arguments, but neither of us recognized that until later. I was in pretty bad shape by then, and failed to control my temper. After things quieted down (mostly thanks to Bernd’s intervention), I took some time and just sat outside by myself. Sara sat with me for a little while, and graciously let me vent, but it got too cold for her after a bit, and she went inside. I needed the alone time more than I needed warmth, so I stayed out there and tried to calm down. Eventually, I went in and apologized to Lana. I wasn’t really calm yet, but I felt it was important to apologize before everyone else went to sleep. I’m glad that I did, but even this morning – the day after all this happened – I still don’t feel ready to be social. There are not a lot of options here, though, so I’m glad that at least today isn’t a heavily scheduled day, and I can relax, write, and reflect. It’s good medicine.
I probably spelled Nyungway wrong too. But you know what I mean, eh?