Thursday, July 31, 2014

Igisoro

On my way to visit a young friend near the headquarters of AEE Rwanda, I saw some people playing a board game.  It was played with seeds on a board with 32 pits in 4 rows.  Each player seemed to own 2 rows.  There were some seeds in some of the pits.  A player picked up the seeds in one of the pits, and started placing them, one by one, in the other pits, in sequence. I couldn’t stay long enough to figure out the rest.  

Later I found out it is called Igisoro. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

African Tea (with milk and ginger)

This is one of the many things I like about Rwanda - African Tea.  It seems to be made of tea, hot milk and ginger.  At some places, such as this coffee shop in the city centre in Kigali, at a shopping mall overlooking the valley, you can clearly see and taste the tea.  There is also un-mistakenly ginger, but it is not overwhelming.  

At other places, however, there seems to be hardly any tea in the "African Tea".  It looks more like just hot milk with ginger in it.  Even then, it is quite enjoyable. According to my Rwandan friends, it is quite popular all over East Africa. 




Monday, July 28, 2014

Food and Sex

In Jared Diamond’s book, The World Until Yesterday, he talked about what we can learn from traditional societies. He was concentrating on the bands and tribes of small scale farmers and hunter-gatherers, mostly from New Guinea, South America, Africa and Australia.  

He has this observation on the Sirionos Indians in Bolivia, 

“the Sirionos’ strongest anxieties are about food, they have sex virtually whenever they want, and sex compensates for food hunger,”

while

“our strongest anxieties are about sex, we have food virtually whenever we want, and eating compensates for sexual frustration.”

It is a sweeping statement, but many people will probably agree with Diamond.  By “we”, I suppose he is referring to people living in developed countries such as the USA, Europe, … and Hong Kong.  For many in Rwanda, Cambodia, and elsewhere, food hunger is still a major concern.  




Saturday, July 26, 2014

Driving at night in Rwanda

Driving at night in Rwanda is a hair-raising experience.  The highways outside the city do not have street nights.  So they are pitch black.  But people walk on the shoulders at all hours in the dark.  I don’t know how they can see where they are going, but it seems that they manage it somehow. 

So you drive along.  Every minute or so, people suddenly appear out of nowhere, flash by your car some three feet away and disappear into the dark again. You keep praying that they stay on the shoulder, that you don’t hit them.  I don’t want to drive in Rwanda. 

Why are so many people walking on the highway 9 o'clock at night, …, 5 o’clock in the morning?  It does not happen even in China. It does seem like there are more people in Rwanda than in China.  








Thursday, July 24, 2014

Water purification

Here is another of African Evangelical Enterprise’s projects.  Traditionally local people in this valley near Rwamagana have been fetching this murky water from this water hole like this man in the foreground.  Obviously the water is not good for human consumption even after boiling. 


AEE helped to dig a big hole in the ground, put in a big tank and filtration material.  


The tank and filter is located right under where the people and jerrycans are standing. The water, after filtration, is much cleaner which is suitable for human consumption, after boiling. 


Judging by the long line of cans waiting to be filled, people have much more faith in the filtered water than the murky water in the open.









Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tree tomato


I finally figured out what I have been eating for 2 weeks in Rwanda. It is quite popular in the markets and restaurants there, along with passion fruit.  I have included some passion fruits at the top of the photo, for comparison. People often get the two mixed up.  


It has a distinctive and complex flavour, tasting sour but flesh. It can be made into a juice, or served as fruit after a meal.  I have asked many people, but no one has been able to tell me its name in English.  Below is the cross section of the tree tomato.  A passion fruit is included in the upper left for comparison.  


It turns out to be a tree tomato, also known as tamarillo, or tamamoro.  It is high in vitamins and iron. 









Sunday, July 20, 2014

Passion Bearing Fruit

We return to a passion fruit farm that we “helped” to water last year.  Most of the plants were barely a couple of feet tall a year ago in the summer of 2013. 

Today the farm is a beauty.  The plants are tall and strong, the fruit bountiful.  


The flower is fantastically intriguing.  It looks like something that a child blessed with wild imagination would create.  But perhaps not by a level-headed adult, who might find the design unnecessarily complicated. 


The unripe fruit is green.  It is ripe when it turns dark.  


The proud owners of the farm are full of smiles.  The fruit is very popular in Rwanda, and brings in a lot of money. We are proud to have been allowed to be involved in it.