Sunday. What a day. It began with church. Both last week and today, we walked past the market and down the road to “Rwanda for Jesus.” What a great church! This is a different one from the one I attended last time, for those of you keeping track. We’re hoping to make it back there as well. Rwanda for Jesus has two services: one in English and one in Kinyarwanda. Last week and today, we hit the tail end of the English service (for the muzungu’s benefit!) and stayed for the Kinyarwanda portion. The church is alive and flourishing. The kids really like Sunday School. The walk to and from church is a long one for the littlest kids. I pulled Ingabire along for most of the walk home, but toward the end, her tired eyes won me over, enough so that I hoisted her up on my shoulders. I got a lot of laughs from passer-bys. I believe the translation of what they were saying: “look at that white person with an African baby on her shoulders!” I just smile and laugh along with them.
After church it was a lunch of chips (French fries) and sauce (tomatoes and beef). It is the kids’ favorite and they lapped it up with fervor. Manuel is a great cook! Nap time was next… for everyone. As we rested up at our house, we found out that we could get tickets for the FESPAD festival. And the headliner was…. Lauryn Hill! (!!!) For those of you that know me, you know she is one of my most favorite all time artists. Thanks to Erica (Chantal’s daughter) we secured tickets, hopped on a moto, and headed to Kigali’s beautiful stadium. I love riding by moto! Contrary to what I’ve heard, my driver was actually very cautious.
At “the stad” (stadium), we joined a rather short line of people to get into the concert. The line, however, quickly turned into a mob of people very determined to get in. We stuck together and made it into a line to get searched and patted down. After making it through security, yet another mob formed, which could have quickly turned into a stampede. Thankfully, we made it through and got into the concert area. Lauryn Hill was sound checking. I was in disbelief…. I am in Kigali’s stadium. Lauryn Hill is literally 30 feet away from me. Unbelievable.
We settled into our seats and listened to the 5 acts before Lauryn. The standout was Mike-E, an Ethiopian-born, now Detroit-based rapper / spoken word artist. His lyrics were incredible – SO relevant to Rwanda and inner city areas in the states. Do yourself a favor and look him up! Lauryn Hill came on after midnight. I can’ t think of a better performer to bring to Kigali. Her lyrics are critical and empowering. She sang “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do…” What a powerful message to sing to a country in the trenches of forgiveness.
I’m not going to lie, it was an incredibly late night, and after an (expensive) taxi ride home, we crawled into our beds and barely hit the pillow before sleep set in. I never expected to have this kind of day in Rwanda, how amazing.Abby