Words of my Rwanda life

Goats Everywhere
Banana trees Cover the hills
Motorcycles Most popular mode of transportation
Bare black baby butts Seen frequently around neighborhoods
Hills Not a single part of Rwanda without them
Carrying on the head The large items locals can balance continues to baffle me
Dirt roads Main roads paved, side roads not
AK-47 rifles All security and neighborhood guards carry them
Tropical fruit Mango, passion fruit, pineapple…yum
Broken house amenities One after another
Roosters Cock a doodle doo outside my window at 5:30 each morning
Rain Every afternoon, but doesn’t usually last long
Sunglasses Rare
Orphanages Visit countrywide as part of my internship research
Mzungu My name to locals, means “foreigner” or white person in Kinyarwanda
Compliant First word I think of when describing locals
African tea In all restaurants, reminds me of chai 
Tin roofs Cover rural homes
Tile roofs Cover new homes
Cassava Staple food, widely produced
Bidets In some larger houses, I use them daily to wash my dirty feet
Primus Most popular beer in Rwanda
Internet Slow 
Dogs Rare, occasionally owned by mzungus
Tourism Expensive and inconvenient
Baby feet Peek through waist-bound wraps carried by women and children
Bicycles Many in rural areas, often made into bicycle taxis
Voicemail Does not exist
Rice With every meal
House girls Typically one in every home
Head wraps I wish I could pull these off
Apparel from America On the backs, legs and feet and of many locals
Potatoes With every meal
Showers Curtain-less, rarely hot, sometimes out of a plastic basin
Villa-like houses Taking over the once-rural hills of Kigali 
Flies Too many
Clotheslines At every house
Posters of Paul Kagame’s face Hang in most public places
Fanta Most popular soft drink
Mud bricks Made and used to build in rural areas
Avocado Plentiful
Shaved heads Men and women
Guards Typically one monitoring the gate of every home
Cigarettes Sold everywhere, but rarely smoked in public
Desserts Flavorless and unfulfilling 
iPhones Only in the hands of mzungus
Credit/debit cards Almost nowhere, cash-only country
Shorts Rare for men, considered inappropriate for local women
Mosquito nets Above beds of those who can afford them
Chocolate Near unaffordable for people of most socioeconomic classes

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