To say Kigali is my home away from home would be a falsehood. To say Kigali is my new home would also be untrue.
From my perspective, a home is not physical, nor spatial, nor geographical; not an object, nor a place. My home is defined by the people who surround me. Whether it is their physical presence, weekly emails, monthly phone call check-ins, or kind thoughts, the people who inspire me to carry out each day with a positive attitude and enduring spirit are my home.
And to say I have made new friends here in Rwanda that have grown my home would be misleading- I have made a family.
Each day I walk to work and am greeted by familiar faces in my neighborhood of Gishushu. I am warmly welcomed by colleagues in the office with the usual Mwaramutse (good morning). Jean Pierre, managing the small market across the street from work, gives a warm smile and slight laugh as he expects the daily afternoon visit for my evening caffeine pick-me-up.
Each weekend, I spend my time adventuring across Rwanda, exploring new places, un-trekked terrain in my mud-covered hiking boots with fellow Global Health Corps friends, walking in the hot city air to the market on Sundays with housemates, enjoying delicious food and drink for a night out in the city at a table full of new and old friends.
And at each 17:00 pm, I find a peace in the calm that seems to envelope the city. As the sun sets, a sense of ease falls upon the city’s bustling streets. I feel a reassurance of a well-spent day of hard work yet enjoyment and the promise of a new tomorrow. The air cools, my surrounds become tinted a beautiful orange and slight pink as the sky turns dark, and the Kigali sound track drops a few levels. One cannot help but rest assured and grateful amongst the grace and joy of Rwanda.