In my element...

January 3, 2016

Today was a break from all of the emotional stuff. Today we went to the market and to Inema  Art Studio. Going to the market was exciting. One, because I love to shop, but also because it was interesting to get to see more of Rwandan culture. There were so many beautiful things like hand weaved baskets, beaded jewelry, animal figurines, and much more. My favorite, though, was the African fabric. I bought some fabric and had a skirt and a dress made for me, but I have to wait until Thursday to pick them up. The only bad thing is that I spent so much time in the fabric area, that I didn’t get to buy as much of other products that I wanted to. Luckily, we are going back!

Shopping in the market was a unique experience. This was different than my normal shopping experience because here it is common to barter. I was very shy and apprehensive about doing so at first, but soon learned to become very good at it. Now if only I could barter when shopping back home.

After the market, we had lunch and then when to the art studio for an African dance workshop. Originally we were supposed to learn African drumming, but that got canceled and I was ery disappointed with that, as that was one of the activities that I was looking forward to the most. So, as soon as I saw drums at the studio I took advantage of the opportunity to somehow get myself drumming lessons. One of the guys taught me a basic beat, and I played while everyone else learned the dance. It was simple, but challenging at the same time. It took me a while, but I eventually caught on to it. I was able to play the basic beat, but the mixed beat gave me trouble.

I eventually gave up the drums and joined the others in learning the dance. I must say, African dancing is very intense, and what we learned was simple in comparison to the routines the dancers do.

After the dancing, it was time to paint. I followed the others back to the area with the canvases and the artist who was leading this activity told us to paint as if we were sketching. I am TERRIBLE  at drawing, so I didn’t even bother picking up a paint brush. I quickly decided that this was out of my element and went back to the drums. I decided that I would practice the mixed beat that was giving me trouble. One of the guys, Christian, came over to help me. It took a while, but I eventually got it!!! Then, when I went to take a break, I notice children coming forward. They were dancing and so I walked over and asked if they could show me the dance. Well, that didn’t work out to well because they were way too advanced for me. So, I decided to show them step.  They immediately became interested and wanted me to teach them. I started teaching a small group of children, but before I knew it, my small group became pretty large. This was such a fun moment for me. The children were so eager to learn and they were having a lot of fun. It felt good to be able to give them something. They were practicing even when I stopped teaching, and left me with the impression that they would keep doing it long after I left.

When the others were done painting, it was time for the children to perform. We basically saw young children do what we were struggling to learn with ease and perfection. However, I didn’t mind because they were so great and it was a joy to see.