Two American nurses came to the school to give classes on sex education and one of them was telling me about her trip to Senegal. As I’m writing this it sounds like the beginning of a bar joke. Two nurses walk into a bar and one of them says ouch… Hardi-har-har. Anyway, the organization she was going to be working for requested she bring a suitcase full of condoms so they could distribute them in the community and promote safe sex. Well, when she was in the airport, of all the suitcases they decide to search, they decide to search hers. (When the nurse told me this she was already chuckling with laughter.) When they opened the suitcase they asked her “Are you traveling for business or for pleasure?” The nurse at this point in the story laughed heartily and said “There really was no response I could give without it being hilarious.” She offered the airport security guy condoms and he took a handful and sent her on her way.
Every once and a while I’ll mix up the words muracoze and muraho; thank you and hello. The other day I asked someone in the kitchen for a cup. They handed it to me and I said “Hello!” and walked away. Then, I was walking along the pathway of Gashora village and saw a couple women walking past so I waved and said “Thank you!” and they gave me a quizzical look.
Kinyarwanda is rather confusing for both parties sometimes because the word for Yes in Kinyrwanda is yego whereas the word for no is oya. No sounds like “Oh yeah.” As you can imagine it gets confusing. I was walking back onto campus from taking a jog through the village and one of the women who takes great care of our trees and grass said something like “kwiruka?” and I made a gesture to signify “what?” And she pointed at me and mimicked the act of running and I smiled and said “Oh. Yeah.” She looked slightly confused and was probably wondering “No? Then why are you wearing running shoes and look all sweaty?”