On Being Polite

As much as the Rwandese are reknown for reservedness, conservative natures and saying what you want to hear, they are certainly not on the same politeness page as Canadians. Even remotely. Around the tea table at work I find myself shoved out of the way by my colleages so they can get the milk first. Don’t think someone will ask you if you want that last donut, they will instead be diving for it amongst 5 other people. I don’t understand the way food is horded or eaten here in such mass quantities.

I miss politeness. I miss the respect for the people that surround you. I believe that should be at the heart of a society – respect and appreciation for others. I can understand here, amid the tension, why that may not exist. I can feel why it does not exist. But it is a shame, and I wish for it most days.

On the other hand, my female colleages can be awesome – but sometimes incomprehensible. They have this tendancy to touch me continuously while I am around – play with my hair, hold my hand, rub my back – which makes me feel really at home with them. Other times they are joking about me in kinyarwanda! What is really going on, ever?! I rarely know. Just going by gut instincts.

Things are good. I am so close to December I can taste it. I have huge ups and downs but I am stable, pretty much. I love my room and the dark and my book and being alone – that is the gift of Rwanda. At least today, I feel that is the gift!

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~ by kcanderson on October 29, 2005.

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