Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In the Interior

I have been on loan to the Rapid Response Mechanism team for the last several days. In my loaner capacity, I got to travel up north along the Kiwanja Axe to Rutsiro. It was fantastic.

The first night out, there were stars so bright you could see layer upon layer of light years lying across the sky. The Milky Way curved around to meet us like Christmas ribbon. This is my first time ever below the Equator and this is the most stars I have seen since I arrived. That means that Sunday night I saw stars that I have never seen before in my life. Some of these stars burned out millions of years before I was born and their light still shown down upon me. Sometimes you feel very small when you are looking at the stars but sometimes you feel very crucial.

Monday & Tuesday, the RRM team held a foire. A foire in NGO terms is like a distribution, but with music, dancing, local economy, and choice. We worked from 7 am until 7 pm both days. We were out in the hot sun. Dust blended with suntan lotion to make us strange colors – grays on top of bright reds. We checked off names and counted tickets and danced to drum-beats and counted more tickets and counted more tickets. I packed peanut-butter-and-honey sandwiches in little zip-lock baggies for each day and both days had stuffed them down my throat before 10 am. Monday night the glow of the volcanoes was brighter than I have ever seen it. A bright red spot of lava shone like a stoplight from the mountain top.

There were 34 of us or so, ex-pats, national staff, drivers, all sleeping on the floor of the same house connected to a lovely little concrete parish. It was a gigantic sleep-over party, like in junior high school.


Sheree said...

The stars sound beautiful. I would love to see them - especially the Milky Way. I feel star deprived here.

Rachel said...