Sunday, August 19, 2012 in Byumba
I moved to my home in Byumba on Friday. I have been trying to make a blog entry, but the internet service has been sporadic. Let's give it a "whirl".
One startling scene I observed just adjacent to the Byumba Hospital was a large yard filled with busy women. Jerome told me they were cooking for the patients in the hospital. Under a large shed with a corrugated tin roof are many wood stoves lined up. They seem to be roaring with flame most of the time and people are definitely cooking. The mystery is whether they are family members cooking for their loved ones in the hospital or whether there are regular cooks who are cooking for all patients. Can you imagine preparing a low sodium diabetic diet under these circumstances? There is also a lot of laundry being done inside this area with the clothes hung out to dry along the fence that encloses it. (I actually have a clothesline in my yard--quite a rarity, I think.--But my clothes will still be laundered the old fashioned way, by hand. I have yet to see a washing machine.)
I knew I was coming to a rural area, but was totally unprepared for the two bovine ladies in a shed just outside the fence to my yard. And, believe me, these cows do not “low” (remember, “the cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes”?) they holler! I love having them here. They are like two nearby friends chatting with me through the day. They go out to pasture for part of the day.
When I can look out at the landscape from my yard I see beautiful mountains, layer upon layer, into the distance. And nearly every one of them is covered in small, terraced farm plots. I can’t always tell what is growing. Along the roadway to get up here, there were lots of rice paddies. Also, bananas and sugar cane. There must be avocado trees as they sell huge avocados in the market. These avocados are about two-three times the size of the ones we can buy in Chicago and are delicious. (Everything that grows here seems to grow 2-3 times the size one would see that same plant in the U.S.)
I saw some honeysuckle and some day lilies on a walk this AM. It is comforting to see plant life that I might see in Oak Park.
I have slowly been unpacking. Just one bag to go. There is plenty of room in my house for my belongings. There is no hot water in either the kitchen or the bathroom. Not sure if this is permanent. I will ask Jerome. I could certainly deal with this, but a warm shower would sure be nice.
I took a walk this AM down to a little village center near the hospital. Dirt roads with lots of rocks make me very careful. I found my tiny bananas and a couple of avocados to purchase. I was happy to find vendors so close by. They place their fruit outside in front of their stores, but I'm not sure what they have inside. I didn't venture in today, but will soon.
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