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Meet Brooke Hartman, one of World Next Door’s newest year-long journalism fellows, currently on assignment in Rwanda. You can find “behind-the-scenes” thoughts by Brooke and the other WND writers here on the WND blog, but she will also be a major contributor for World Next Door Magazine, available now for tablets and smartphones
(click here for details).
Hi! I’m Brooke. Sometimes when I’m traveling, I have strange experiences that cause me look around, confused, and say: Wait, what? For example, that one time I hopped into the front seat of a taxi to see a raccoon on a leash in the pick-up truck in front of me.Yes, things like that.
Here are some Wait, what? moments in Rwanda so far:
1. Waking up on March 6th, traveling all day, going to sleep at our destination, and waking up on March 8th. Wait, what? What happened to poor March 7th?!
2. Traveling halfway across the world to be greeted at the Kigali airport by long-time friends from Wisconsin. Wait, what? Our friend works for UNICEF? And her family is in the middle of a two-year assignment in Kigali? Such an unexpected and providential coincidence!
3. Catching myself trying to absorb everything with that Oh-I-wish-we-didn’t-have-to-go-home-soon feeling, then realizing WE DON’T! Wait, what? We are here for two whole months? And this is our job for an entire year? Score.
4. Sleeping like a princess. Wait, what? The mosquito nets. They look like giant white flowing canopies. Barry’s even has lace, which makes me wonder if he feels like a *special* princess.
5. Waking up to Princess Barry doing Insanity in our little shared 10×12 foot common area every morning and then watching him sweat profusely through breakfast. Wait, what? Exercise? Early morning? Tiny space? No breeze? He may soon relocate to the gazebo as soon as he’s comfortable spotlighting his Insanity skills.
*I am a week late posting this. In fact, he HAS relocated to the gazebo, and the maintenance dudes sweep and stare, sweep and stare, sweep and stare.
6. Attending a National League Basketball game (Army Patriot Rwanda vs. the oldest team in Rwanda) with tens of Rwandans in the stands. Wait, what? Yes, tens of Rwandans. Across the parking lot was the entire country at the football (soccer) stadium.
7. Taking a walk downtown and passing by the Tulane University office. Wait, what? That’s my graduate school! What are those guys doing here? Guess I’ll go find out.
8. Rwandans interchange “r” and “l” at random. Also “k” and “ch”. For example, Cyimbili is pronounced Chimbili or Chimbiri, and Kigali can be pronounced Chigali. ALARM is sometimes pronounced ARARM and Road is pronounced Load. You can imagine my surprise to hear all the talk lately about the Kenyan elections. Wait, what?!
9. Walking to breakfast each morning along a path covered with avocados that fell from the tree outside our room. Also in the tree outside our room: ten thousand giant hawks. Wait, what?
About the Author: Brooke Hartman is a year-long journalism fellow with World Next Door. In her other life, she was a clinical social worker, counselor, and disaster mental health graduate from Tulane University in New Orleans. Her favorites are: creative writing, travel, photography, weather patterns, and eating dessert. Any cupcake, any time.