So much happens in such a short period of time, even with very limited movement from my room over the last week! I wake up every morning to the sounds of a family that has embraced me so warmly and openly. The singing, the joyful laughter, the calls of baby Joeseph and the little feet of Abbey (seen in photo above), the voices of new people that have come to visit and even slept over from the night before. All of this happening in a language that I don’t understand and with an energy like nothing else I have experienced. My first impression is one of disbelief for this being my life and how awesome this experience really is. How did I manifest living with a local Rwandan family? How am I so lucky to be living life exactly how I want to be? The answer for me is a deep desire for Truth, a willingness to do the hard work to find it, and the courage to look it straight in the eye and deal with it. I am extremely grateful for being the person that I am and I feel I have many ancestors who have paved the way for me both karmically and worldly.
The reality of this hit home a few nights ago as I helped fill water containers (yellow, plastic, usually dirty, in various sizes) from the outdoor kitchen to the “Afritank” which is a huge, black plastic container with a tap that holds their water, and doing so in the dark. Alice (Justin’s wife), told me this is called “incogo” (I maybe mistaken with the spelling) as I placed the full containers up on the top shelf along on wall of the kitchen. When I say kitchen I do not mean it the way most people reading this will likely imagine as it really looks more like a shed. It is made of 4 concrete walls painted a dingy brownish color (in some places), the door leading in has a broken window which no is bothered by and has a few shelves, a sink that does not run or hold water (!), plastic buckets full of all kinds of powdery looking things like flour. There are root vegetables in piles on the floor for cooking and a large sack of dried Eucalyptus leaves stands 4 feet tall over by the small clay pots that are placed on stands which hold the fire for cooking. There is a tiny stove but it is never used as it is too expensive to pay for electricity and a bit of counter space on each wall. I am absolutely amazed by the food that is prepared in this little room! Not only is it well cooked but the variety and the abundance of it is impressive. Something about being a part of this process revealed a new layer to me and the fact that I now live in Rwanda and this is my life began to sink in. I am seeing how all of my experiences in my own life up to this point prepared me for all of this and that this is why I feel so comfortable. Life, for me, is not about my wants and desires and controlling where my life takes me, its about surrendering to what is needed from me and going where I can offer myself. With this comes a trust that I am gathering all that I need along the way to prepare me for the next step.
I grew up with a family that loved to camp, be outdoors and really is able to “rough it”. I learned valuable skills that until more recently didn’t see as skills. I am totally comfortable peeing outdoors, bathing (or not!) with cold water, a bucket and tiny towel. I can cook over a fire and will eat it even if its been dropped on the ground. My experience at the Ashram taught me how to be grateful for whatever I am given and so eating unfamiliar foods, things I do not want to eat or feel are not the best choices for me are taken with a smile and an appreciation for the fact that I have a full stomach. I am able to sleep on or in whatever I am given and am comfortable sharing my bed with strangers if need be, which was the case last week as I shared a bed with Justin’s sister Chantal at the Hotel in Cyangugu. The added element of not speaking the same language didn’t even seem to cause a stir in my emotional core. Yesterday I came home from the pool , where I inadvertently began giving swimming lessons and having races with the locals, to find that someone had been sleeping in or on my bed and that my computer had been used while I was away. In that moment I felt this sense of entitlement come over me. I heard my mind say “I wish they would have asked me first” and my heart began to race out of fear. I felt all kinds of things like violation of my “private space”, disrespect, and even anger. But because of the work I have been doing on myself and the teachings of the Ashram I was able to sit, feel, let it go and come back to the present moment.
In this present moment, I live in a home that works very, very differently than anywhere I have ever experienced and in a way that I want to embrace. I see the woman here caring for each other, each others babies, sharing beds, sharing food, sharing shoes and clothes, bathing each other and I began to feel a sense of honor. I am honored to be a part of such a beautiful community of woman, in a country where this is the norm. I am honored to be invited into their homes and hearts and to be cared for by them. I am honored that they feel comfortable coming into a space where my things are and using them. I do not really “own” these things, as the second that I am not here they become just things for anyone to use, this is not “my” room, this is not “my” space – it is a community where everything is offered and given with grace and ease.
So again, I ask myself how I manifested this in my life and I am able to answer it easily when I look back at the natural progression that has brought me here. I am well prepared because of all the lives I have lived in this one lifetime. I know that I belong here right now because of how I feel. I am ready to heal on this level. Creating new ways of interacting with people, family and community. Learning to see my worth and ultimately everyone’s innate worth through being a part of a group where every little thing counts. Wether its drying off Abbey after her “Coga” (shower) and dressing her for bed, giving a small massage to Mujah (the housekeeper/nanny, post genocide orphan) at the end of the day, helping someone swim the butterfly a little better, sweeping the cement patio or simply saying “Amakoru Ki?” to people as I pass them – just being here, just being me, willing to offer myself is the healing. It is the life I meant to live. It is love and Love is all you need!