Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ntakibazo

Well, here it is. It's Thursday night and it's hard to even know where to start. In two days, I've gone from having no words, to having more thoughts/words/emotions running through my brain than I even know what to do with. As I journal, I find myself getting so caught up in the details that by the time I get to the point I have carpel tunnel. So, we will get to the details. Later.

For now, I'm not going to talk about the incredibly interesting and diverse people I met on the flights. I'm going to skip over the blissfully ignorant part where I was greeted at the airport by Jane (our awesome trip guide from January) and Gadi (another one of my favs from January). I'll bypass the amazing lunch Jane had prepared for us at her house. And I'll not mention the beautiful (BEAUTIFUL) countryside on the 3-hr drive out to Noel. I'll get right to the point where you told me so...

I landed at Noel with a resounding "thud". We arrived around 7:00 in the evening. It was dark and it was lightly raining. My bags and I were whisked away to a back bedroom where I would be spending the next 3 days as I waited for the guest house to be available. Jane entered with Madame Director (Mom) and introduced me. Mom speaks Kinyarwanda and French. I was told to make myself at home because I am her daughter now. Sweet.

Jane promptly showed me the restroom and left. Not so sweet.

So, there I was. Staring at 6-ish women and nothing to say.

No.Thing. What have I done?

So, the ladies shuffled off back to work and I stood in the middle of my room trying to decide who to contact first to get me out of here. What the heck was I thinking?

Enter Jackie.

Jackie is 19-yrs-old and was orphaned during the genocide in 1994. To say that she is stunning to look at is a vast understatement. Tall and slender, she elegantly entered the room like a peacock, "Herro, I am Jackie."

Oh, thank goodness. Her broken English was music to my ears.

Jackie took me on a brief tour of the property, as most of the children were getting ready for bed. The younger girls were excited to have guest (Ma-ti-ti, phonetically) and sang welcome songs. In French, of course. The older girls stared and giggled.

On our way back to my room, the heavens opened and I saw another mzungu (white person). Yes! And as we walked closer, she said the rudest thing anyone has ever said to me, "Bonjour!" and the heavens slammed shut. (Ok, I don't mean that...but I did then.) :)

So, there were four of them; two married couples, probably 60's and late 30's, and we all dined together with Mom and about 4 other (Rwandan) ladies at the most awkward dinner of my entire life. One half of the table was speaking Kinyarwanda and the the other half French and somehow I got stuck dead (being the operative word) center. Jackie had gone and I was left to fend for myself. The Frenchies also spoke broken English (way worse than Jackie) just enough to make me feel like crap. "You are? Alone?" "Only English?" "What? You can? Do?"

Gaw. How could I be so dumb? Did I know no one could speak English? Had I forgotten? Was I so wrapped up in myself and my American teammates that I failed to notice? I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to leave. Seriously.

After (barely) making it through dinner, I was back in my room looking for some kind of sharp object and there was a knock on the door. It was Jackie. "Come." She wanted to introduce me to Revocotta, who was at dinner and who I recognized as the cook from January. Revocotta smiled sweetly and hummed as she grabbed my hand to hug me.

Ahhhhh. Exhale.

She kept ahold of my hand as she turned to sit and wrapped my arm around her neck as she continued to talk to Jackie in Kinyarwanda. Though I had no idea what they were saying I had nothing to do but listen and I would have stayed and held Revocotta's hand all night. I could tell the conversation was coming to an end and Revocotta let go of my hand and put both of her hands in the air and said, "Ntakibazo".

I recognized it. About the only Kinyarwanda word I knew. I said, "Ntakibazo! No problem!" Both girls fell out laughing.

No problem. No problem. I hope that's you, God.

The thing about it is, I am passionate and reckless and I mess alot of things up. Fortunately, for me, I'm not the One in charge here.

Ready. Fire! Aim.

Tara

4 comments:

Rob Farrah said...

Your smile speaks a thousand words. Rock and roll, Tara Jill!

tara said...

Thanks, Rob! Things are definitely rocking and rolling now. :)

Chelsea said...

Oh, wow. I love this story even more in blog form than on text. :) You are amazingly strong, my friend. I love that you are now able to share your story with the world!! Thank the Lord for internet! Love you!!! And, I'm SO glad the first day is different than the ones since then...

j.R. said...

I just read your recent blog to my two boys. They had many questions. They were surprised to hear you had a new mom. As I try to explain, I realized it was beyond my ability. I hardly have a clue what you're doing there.

Then I remembered something you told me, "God loves my children just as much as He does the children in Rwanda". You have a "least of these" mentality.
Beth and I, and the boys, will pray for your continued impact on the children. Remember you don't always see the impact you're having on them. You do your part, God will do His!

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