Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amazing Welcome

Enjoying a Primus after moving in
Just a few words about our welcome here. It has been amazing. The Rwandese as a nation seem at first to be quite reserved and maybe a little suspicious of the newcomers. They have to cope not only with two foreigners but two “Muzungus” (white people) and two old Muzungus at that and one with a luxuriant head of grey hair. As far as I can see we are probably two of the oldest in the town. We are eyed suspiciously until we smile and say Mwaramutse (good morning) and then there is a slight smile followed by us asking how they are “Amakuru? And the smile gets bigger as they reply “Ni Meza, Namwe? And we reply “Ni Meza” and they burst out laughing and shake our hands with the efforts we have made with their language. For a few it might be in French with the same effect. One older man sounded as though he was going to burst with excitement as he described us as the Mama and Papa showing great respect for our ancient years!!!!!!! Today I went into every shop and every market stall and had a chat with at least 100 people. Shopping could be drawn out here. All speak Kinyarwanda, very few English unless they are professionals and a few older ones will get by with a bit of French because that’s how they were taught in school.

Children follow us everywhere and in their best English greet us and we have a little conversation in English. Some followed me to the house and today they were back with their friends and took off their shoes, entered the house and greeted us respectfully in the Rwandan way by shaking hands and holding their forearms with their left hand.

Two funny things to make you laugh. We had no food from 7am to 7pm because of all the difficulties sorting the house and making it secure. I went out in the pitch black for something or anything to eat. I arrived at a very very small shop and bought something to eat that was sort of donutty and hard. Ten boys about 18 followed me shouting Muzungu Muzungu and laughed heartedly at my hopeless attempts to barter. I know I paid over the top but I made 11 people happy. I then found a shop selling Primus (the local brew) and paid a fortune for the bottle charge but could not be cheated on the beer because I knew how much they cost. I turned to go back and in the pitch black I got seriously lost and it took me 45 minutes to get back, A moto driver stopped to give me a lift but I couldn’t take it because I didn’t even know my address. Mary waited panicking, although we phoned and was really pleased to see me.

We then had our first meal in the house – a large bottle of Primus and a sweet donnutty thing that resembled something quite unsavoury!!!!

More about the job in the next post.


  1. Fantastic stories. Glad the beer is good, try some banana beer if you can, it's life changing!

  2. Don't like to be pedantic, but shouldn't it be 'bazungu' for the plural as 'muzungu' is singular, that is, if it follows the rule of other Bantu languages. I remember in Kenya, being mystified by references to the 'wabenzi' until someone kindly enlightened me that they were the tribe who owned and drove Mercades Benz cars.
    But I may well be wrong!


Hi, hope your enjoy reading about our adventures in Rwanda. We'd love to hear from you. Stephen and Mary