Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Who’s sleeping at the muzungu’s house?
Today I was once again the main topic of gossip in the village. Its funny how you can tell even in a language you can’t understand. It all centred around my mission to buy a mattress for Steven and Mary’s visit to Nzige this weekend. There is no way its possible to sleep on that floor without one, you would probably get bits of peeling paint stuck to your nose and a very sore backside.
So once again I ventured out into the baffling world of the village centre. Now it is not just a case of going to a shop, picking something up and buying it. Oh I wish it was that simple. First of all you have to work out which of the identical looking shops sells what you want. I never get it right first time. Usually I get a colleague to help me to write what I want in Kinyarwanda. Then armed with this piece of paper, I will go to the first shop I come across. 9 times out of 10 they don’t have what I want, but most of the time they will direct me to someone who does. Then you have to find out how much it is. They say the number impossibly quickly in Kinyarwanda. Then they say a completely different (usually higher!) number in French. So then I usually get them to write it down. Most of the time I bargain a bit, especially for something expensive like a mattress, but I’m not particularly good at it.
Well buying a mattress was a right saga. I stupidly went at lunchtime on market day. Big mistake as there are many more people than usual around. When word got round that the muzungu was buying a mattress the tiny shop filled up with interested onlookers. I swear I had about 20 children (and a few adults!) watching my every bargaining move. As soon as I walked down the road carrying it I knew there would be trouble.
I heard a trail of whispers....probably something like this....look at the muzungu carrying that mattress...why is she buying a mattress?...someone must be sleeping at her house....who’s sleeping at the muzungu’s house?....does this mean the muzungu has finally got a boyfriend? (everything ultimately comes back to this question)...is it anyone we know?....I can’t wait to see their reaction to there being more muzungus, it will be very interesting!