Monday, 26 October 2009

Urukundo discovers Diwali

October 25th

Off to Momma’s for what’s almost certainly my last time. Louise is doing the talk this morning and has decided to talk to the children about Diwali. This turns out to be fascinating. The children know their Bibles better than most English adults, but it soon becomes clear that they have been taught Christianity to the exclusion of any other religion. They have absolutely no concept of Hinduism at all; they have barely the faintest idea where India is, even what continent it’s in. She has brought lots of little lamps which she lights and places round the room; to the orphans this is what happens during a power cut, and nothing at all to do with the spiritual aspects of light. The pictures of Lakshmi and Ganesh and Rama and Sita that Louise shows them are just fantasy illustrations such as you might find in a science fiction comic. I find it somewhat worrying that the children – the children of toimorrow – are being brought up in such a claustrophobic monotheistic way. It doesn’t bode well for a world where everyone will have to live in harmony with each other. No matter; three cheers to Louise for trying and daring to be different. Her parents are over visiting her and it’s nice to welcome them to Momma’s

I get asked to say something and they all formally say farewell to me. It’s the first of what will probably be many farewells over the coming month, and it’s a strange feeling.

For the rest of the day I write up my blog, watch a video (“No country for old men” – the Cohen brothers at their gory best), and read Milan Kundera. There’s thunder all around us during the afternoon but somehow we escape any deluge.

Tom’s stomach is rebelling, so he doesn’t come to Momma’s and lies low right up until the evening meal. At the evening meal we have more than a dozen people. Kerry, Moira and Charlotte have been to Bujumbura for the weekend and enjoyed life in a luxury hotel (drinks by the swimming pool – a far cry from Gitarama!). The setting of Bujumbura is wonderful; Lake Tanganyika is enormous, many times bigger than Kivu, and surrounded by mountains. Unfortunately the water is full of bilharzias snails, and there are crocodiles which come up onto the beaches at night. So it’s not exactly the best place to go for a midnight dip.

Becky and Karen are just back from Akagera having seen mating giraffes and come almost within touching distance of the hippos in Lake Ihema. They also stumbled on a group of tiny crocodiles, but didn’t linger for fear that mummy croc was lurking somewhere just round the corner…..

I take my travelli8ng dominoes and we manage a short game before there are too many people at the meal to be able to concentrate!

Tom’s done a big cook-up with some beef mince he bought yesterday in Kigali, and I have at least three lunches’ worth of soup in the freezer, so we’re well sorted for next week.
And that’s it. The very young students on an FHI placement leave for Kampala on Tuesday, so it’s their last Sunday with us. People are planning where they’re going to be for Christmas (Gisenyi?, Jinja?, Bujumbura?). The restaurant manages to omit at least three items from their bill, but we realise and put the money in anyway. This is one establishment we value in town and we don’t want them to lose faith in us.

It’s been another quiet weekend, but after Friday’s hectic schedule I need time to relax.

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