Friday, February 24, 2012

The Market and More

It's been a long while since my last post, so maybe some of you are very curious as to what I have been up to! So, due to some housing issues, we moved into town. Town is the busy part of Kigali where all the big businesses are, and lots of people around all the time. We are living in the Sulfo compound. Sulfo Industries is the company owned by Faraz and his family who also own EDD. We were very excited to move because termites were migrating into our house, and that is never good. We also lost water very often, which sometimes made it difficult to cook and clean. We were very thankful for the water when we did have it. Our new house has been very comfortable and we are surrounded by very friendly people who have all been helping us out. There is one woman who works as the accountant at EDD, her name is Sangita and she is from India. Her family has warmly welcomed us and they continue to help us find super markets and vegetable markets close by. So far, living in town has been very convenient, although our commute to work is about 40 minutes.

Our new place!
The center is doing well. The library is practically ready to be painted! The Harwood school trip arrived on Tuesday, and they are planning to spend Monday at the center building book shelves, painting the library, and varnishing the outside of the dinning hall. We are very excited for their helping hands to join us!

We revisited some street boys from Remera a few days ago. We had met with them about a month ago to speak with them about what their lives are like on a day-to-day basis. You can read more about that visit here: Patience is a Virtue. This time around, we brought some hand-me-down long sleeve soccer jerseys which were donated by Elena's cousin. Please read about it here: Blue and White.

Ok, now for the market! Elena, Elizabeth and I visit the market on at least a weekly basis. You would think that by now I should have everything I need. There should be no need for me to have anything more to do with the fabrics at the market. Anyway, to make a long story short, Josephine and her fabrics are nothing short of addicting. I think I have only visit the market once without purchasing a piece of fabric. I have a stack of fabrics amongst my other articles of clothing that are still awaiting their opportunity to be transformed into something beautiful. Every time we go to the market, I bring one or two of my pieces. I always hope that my favorite seamstress, Chantal is there. She comes in and measures me for whatever article I am asking for. So far I have four skirts, two pairs of baggy capri's, two dresses, a shirt, a jacket, and a traditional Rwandan outfit. 


It was a regular afternoon. We were on our way to the market on a wednesday after work to pick up some of our clothes we had left a few days earlier for alterations. It was hot, but not too hot. We arrived at Josephine's fabric stand to see if our things were ready. She greeted us with her usual "Hi, my sista."We tried on our clothing and found a few things still needed some changes. As we were waiting, I noticed her mannequin had a new outfit. It was a green traditional outfit that looked like it would fit me. I noticed a lot of things I liked about the shirt. The stitching was impeccable, and the lines were beautiful.

I like to make Josephine laugh, often, and in many different ways. There is usually music playing, so I tend to dance a lot. Other times I just say funny things. This time, I decided to surprise her. She was gone to check on our clothing, and I decided to undress the mannequin. The shirt landed over my own, and I sat on the counter like everything was normal. When she walked in, she began laughing. After a short while, she said I looked "so good." Then the long skirt found it's way around my waist. I walked out of her booth into the open court yard that is surrounded by other booths. Many people began to laugh and say "you look so smart." We sat around for a while as we waited. The outfit totally grew on me, and the decision was made quite clear in my head that this outfit would be mine, and I would pay 15,000 Rwandan Francs ($25) to keep it. 
Me and Josephine
The shirt was taken back for some alterations to make sure that it fit me perfectly. A zipper was added so I could easily fit it over my shoulders, and would zip up to fit like a glove.

Just as I though we were almost ready to leave, Josephine told me I forgot something. How could we forget about the head piece?! Josephine handed one of the seamstresses the remaining piece of fabric, and she began to drape it around my head, making sure it stood high into the air. I took another walk out to the court yard, and received many thumbs up and some applause, so I took a bow.

My journey wasn't about to come to an end. We still had a few things to do before returning home. The first on the list was traveling to Willy's house to meet his mom for the first time. We left the market and walked about a mile to reach the bus station. I have never been stared at so much in my lifetime. "You look smart" echoed my path as I made my way down the road. Apparently that means I look well-dressed. As we neared the gates of the bus station, the line of moto guys all stood up and began clapping (Willy's mom enjoyed hearing that story later on).

I suppose for many, or maybe all of the people I passed, I was the first white person to be out in a traditional Rwandan outfit. Many thought it was funny, and others appreciated my new look.

When we got to Willy's neighborhood, we were excited to see the look on his face. We saw him about a hundred meters down the road, stopped frozen in his footsteps with his hands over his mouth. He was shocked and absolutely loved it.

Willy's reaction...
Anyway, it was a pretty funny evening, and it was so nice to finally meet Willy's mom. She has been very sick lately and is recovering from a fall she took not too long ago. It was really nice talking with her and giving her something to laugh about. 

Mama Willy made sure she put her head piece on for the picture too
One last thing, Willy began secondary school last monday, and upon his first visit to a basketball practice, he made the team! They won their first game that Willy played in, and he had 9 points for the team who would win by 13 points!

1 comment:

  1. Ally - I absolutely love your recent post - and really, you do "look smart" !!!! Elena's Mom