A Thanksgiving Miracle

24 Nov

We all know miracles are associated with Christmas, there’s even a movie about one that happened on 34th street. Well I’m here to tell you that miracles can happen at Thanksgiving too, even in a country that is not America despite Thanksgiving at the end of November being a very, American thing.

The last Saturday of every month is a national day of service in Rwanda called Umuganda. While it has flaws and a sketchy past, I really like the concept of Umuganda. Unfortunately since I’ve been at site there’s been one reason or another to keep me from doing Umuganda in my community, including this Saturday when I’ll be in Kamembe celebrating Thanksgiving.

The Thursday before national Umuganda we do Umuganda at my health center. Today was the first one I’ve been present for and where the miracle happened. Usually Umuganda at work is “gukora isuku” literal translation “to do hygiene” meaning to clean. Today I helped mop the building I work in on a regular basis. I was asked to grab four mops from the store room and joked with everyone in the main area about how I was going to use them ALL. Someone had poured water all over the floors so I did my office and then moved onto a meeting room where two other people were working and we worked side by side saying little. There you have it folks, the Thanksgiving miracle.

It is an all too common occurrence to be told by a Rwandan that I’m doing something incorrectly or that I must do a certain thing one way or another or risk being infertile, losing my sanity or some other ridiculous claim. I remember adamantly assuring my host family that I was capable of washing my clothes despite appearances. Thus it was not lost on me that no one said anything about my ability to mop and trust me I did have an audience. In fact, one of my coworkers even exclaimed that I DID know how to mop.

It was an especially good moment in a pretty good day. I’ve been feeling pretty low on energy and stretched thin these days but I slipped back into the old me for awhile, joking, learning dance moves, and playing at karate with coworkers.


One Response to “A Thanksgiving Miracle”

  1. Alicia November 24, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    a miracle indeed!!! embrace the small victories because when you look back you’ll find them to be the biggest and by far fondest memories.
    happy thanksgiving to you!

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