Did you bring joy?
on Rebecca in Rwanda (Rwanda), 22/Aug/2013 15:40, 34 days ago
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"Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was "Did you bring joy?" The second was "Did you find joy?"- Leo Buscaglia*Unleashing a dozen balloons into my old neighbourhood and watching the kids play with them.*Sitting down on the side of a dirt road with a bag full of bracelet making material and waiting as one by one children came out of their houses, sat down next to me, chose 2 colours each and watched as I showed them how to make a bracelet. "Nanje, nanje" means "and me....and me"*Visiting the same street 3 days later and having a boy run up and say "Bracelet!"  and show me he's still wearing his bracelet.*Bringing a home spa kit to Christi's house and having Christi, Louise and Bruno do mud mask facials with me. Listening to Bruno ask "when can my face be black again?" as we had opted to give him the strawberry sorbet rejuvenating facial mask. Admiring our glowing youthful skin the next morning :)*Meeting Daniel, my former co-facilitator, on the side of the road near Rubobagoba and having him introduce me to 3 teachers who participated in our trainings in 2009. Having Daniel invite me to teach a game to his class. Showing the kids how to play 1,2,3 spin and watching them try it and laugh. Having his wife and children come to greet me and then trying to explain that Immaculee (who is 8 months pregnant) does not have to walk me back up the hill to the main road. Letting her walk me anyway because she wants to.*Playing cards with Tom's family at dinner last night while we waited 3 hours for our meal to be made. Remembering different mzungu dinners, movie nights, parties at my old house and Canada Day celebrations with Tom wearing an American Flag t-shirt to antagonize me.*Feeling lucky to have friends from other countries who share my passion for Rwanda.*Seeing a parade of people just outside of Gisenyi town running down the street in full fancy dress and carrying an 8 by 10 photo of Jesus followed by a massive statue of Virgin Mary. Listening to them sing, watching them dance, feeling their joy.*Leaving Christi's house last night by way of climbing over her wall because the guard had locked me in the compound. Laughing at the image I must've created to the passersby as the mzungu climbs over the wall. Laughing even harder as I sit straddling the wall and the absentee guard walks up the street, returning from his errand and shakes his head at me wondering what I was doing up there. Feeling justified as I climb all the way over and run off to join the other for dinner. (There's obviously more to this story but some other time...)*Leaving Christi's house this morning to see a local boy wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. It reminded me of my first week in Rwanda in 2009 when I was on my own and saw a local with a similar shirt. Same effect of feeling reassured that we are not that different even though our worlds seem so far apart.*Having friends (Tom and Christi) who indulge me by having a Pop Rocks eating contest at dinner and watching Christi win. She's invincible that girl!*Being completely at peace with my decision to leave my job in 2008, spend two years volunteering in Africa, contribute to starting a charity and building a school, returning to Rwanda for a visit and feeling ready to move on with my life in Toronto.God bless my friends here in Rwanda, God bless Tom and Ritah's marriage on Saturday and may God keep us all in a space where finding joy and bringing joy is so easily accessible.