Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Rwandan Valentine's Day

If it hadn't been for Claire, our houseworker, I never would have known Valentine's Day was quickly approaching. We came home from work on the 13th to our walls decorated in flowers with notes attached. This was my first reminder that the following day would be Valentine's Day.

This has been the most powerful Valentine's Day of my life. In Rwanda, it was explained to me that Valentine's Day is really only celebrated by couples. For most of the country, it isn't celebrated at all. Since Rwanda isn't such a materialistic society, Valentine's Day has a whole other meaning.

This year, I have not been surrounded by the materialistic advertisements, as everyone in the United States has. I have been lucky to miss out on the constant reminder from television and radio advertisements about Valentine's Day sales for that special someone over the past month. There has been no Valentine's Day fundraisers, no chocolates, no carnations, no roses, no cards, no jewelry. Just love, in it's simplest form.

When I was talking about this large difference with Willy, he was quick to say "no, I will get you a card, I promise!" I hadn't seen any Valentine's Day cards anywhere really, so I wasn't expecting anything Hallmark. But, to my surprise, he showed up to our house on the evening of Valentine's Day with small flowers for each of us that came with a note saying "I love you" in several different languages. He also brought a card. It was covered in plastic. He gave it to me and said, "I told you I'd get a card!" Since it was still wrapped in plastic, he hadn't wrote in it, signed it, or anything. When I showed him that the plastic was meant to be removed so you can write in it, he was surprised. He had no idea the card came with an envelope inside. After showing this to him, he signed his name at the bottom and gave it to us. It was the sweetest thing.

Willy reading the card we made for him.

1 comment:

  1. Ally - that was so sweet! I'll bet that from now on, every year, you will recall your special Valentine's Day in Rwanda!
    Elena's Mom