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Entries "January 2007":

Friday, 12 January 2007

Tu as grossi

Tu as grossi!

Upon my return to Rwanda, this is a phrase that I certainly expected to hear.  It’s a phrase I’ve heard a dozen times before and I’ve learned to take it with a smile.  For those who don’t understand the phrase, “Tu as grossi!” means “You’ve put on weight”, or the more hard-hitting Rwandan translation “You’ve gotten FAT!”  It essentially means ‘you look good’, or ‘you look healthy’.  It points out an essential difference between African culture and European/N.American culture.  Fat here means beautiful, rich, healthy, thin can mean sick or poor.  Of course this is not true where I’m from where thin means everything and telling someone they’re gotten fat means taking your life into your own hands.  I’m from a place where one says “Have you lost weight?” in order to butter someone up.  So hearing “Tu as grossi!” over and over again can be a bit hard on the self-esteem.  The previous times it hasn’t been so bad though because I knew that I actually had NOT put on any weight and so I was able to let it slide off my back.  After my trip home, however, the comment has a little more bite because indeed after Christmas pudding, cakes, cookies, chocolates, whipped cream, pancakes, and bowls and bowls of nuts I have put on some noticeable poundage.  Our good friend Djuma was the most persistent in his comments last night with “You’ve gotten fat!..... No, I mean REALLY fat!.... How many kilos, like 8?  ….. No it’s REALLY noticeable! ….  What does Elson think? ….  Wow, I mean you’re REALLY fat!”  At least he finished by saying “You look good!  I like FAT women!”

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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog
Wednesday, 03 January 2007

all is well

Just a quick update to those who asked me to email when I can..  I'm in Amsterdam with Annemiek and Geert and will be heading on to Nairobi then Kigali this evening.  Thanks for the memories!

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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog
Tuesday, 02 January 2007

Goodbye Already

It is with mixed emotions that I go back to Rwanda.  I am very happy there, settled, comfortable, amongst good friends and busy.  I will be happy to be back, to see Elson (yea!), to have a good long talk with Antonia and Annemiek and exchange stories about our visits home, to see students, friends, colleagues.  I have had an amazing visit... the scales tell me that I have enjoyed the food immensely.  I'm so glad that i got the chance to catch up with most of my nearest and dearest (but not all) and am only sorry that I couldn't spend more time visiting with each of you but one can only be a visitor for so long.  It's time for me to go back to my life, my boyfriend, my job, my friends, my house, my garden.  It will be a different Rwanda for me though because some of my very very favourite volunteers have gone home... Mary I don't know how I will live without you!!  We will have another batch of new ones in a few weeks.  This is the life of a volunteer... changes changes all the time.  I have made it a policy over the last couple of years not to make New Year's Resolutions but I do have many ideas and hopes for this year.  Walks into the country, ventures into corners of the country not yet explored, maybe a safari, and much much more.  I'm excited and look forward to keeping you updated and hearing about your own adventures.  Don't forget about the comment feature on this blog.  I love to hear from you!

Happy New Year! 

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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog