29 June, 2010


Shaun Groves was in Kenya.

He took this picture of a woman doing her laundry. We did it the same way in Rwanda. By the end I could get the dirt off my clothes, but they were far from clean. It's hard work to wash your clothes by hand. While I was there I was thought about the many things that we take for granted in our lives - dishwashers, washers, canned food - and how, maybe in the "conveniences" of our lives, we've lost the art of community and hard work and allowed our perspectives to become a bit off.

Most things in Rwanda seemed to center around community and fellowship. Even if you didn't want it to. Without fail, I would have a group of people watching me wash my clothes. So do I ignore them or do I engage? Most days (not all) I engaged. Said hello, the kids would come say hi, I made conversation. It was fun. The same thing happened at dinner. While the food slowly cooked over the fire oven/stove neighbors talked. The cooking was done outside, in little shacks, and so everyone congregated in the back area. Imagine a backyard area without fences. People stopped by the house all the time. They would knock on the door and life in the house would stop. You did not do anything while a visitor was there. I made the taboo more than once on walking out on someone who was there to see Pastor. But they were speaking in Kinyarwanda and had come for a reason. If I left, Pastor would stop being distracted and the guest could speak (more) freely, though I had no idea what they were saying anyway.

Today I tossed a load of laundry into the washer and yet seeing this pictures brought a tinge of Rwanda-sickness as I think of the moments in the backyard, the girls teaching me how to do laundry, their laughter rising from the "kitchen" as dinner was prepared.