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January 22, 2019

Our family road trip to Rwanda

As part of the festivities, my husband and I decided to take a road trip to Rwanda with the boys and spend Christmas there. My sister and most of our friends thought we were insane, stuck in a car for almost two days with a teenager, a tween and a 15-month-old. I guess in a way we were, but we were determined and off we went.

The first day was uneventful, having left before light and stocking up on goodies. The boys spent most of that day either sleeping or watching the scenery. We spent the night in Uganda and proceeded to Rwanda the following day. It was a great bonding experience and I must admit I am so proud of the baby who did not fuss except on the last day coming home when he was dead tired of sitting in the car seat. We sang all the songs we could think of and when we were done made up our own.

Stuck together in a small space it is easy to get on each others’ nerves and I was worried we would all get to our destination irritated with each other. Surprisingly that did not happen and we had a ball. It gave me opportunity to see my children in a whole new light as they engaged with us on several issues. I realised that there was a whole lot about them that I did not know. Chief being how they saw and interpreted the things around them. I was shocked by TJ’s level of political knowledge and Toriah’s mastery of language. Of course since the baby still uses baby talk I really did not get opportunity to understand much of his goohs and gaahs but it was still amazing to relate with them at this level.

Where we were staying, there were dogs and my little boy, Thayu, loved them. One was a little curly haired fellow called Corey and the other was a huge Alsatian called Easy. Easy loved children and the first day he jumped on Thayu and toppled him over in his excitement. Thayu was terrified and I thought that would put him off, but slowly and surely over the two weeks, the two formed an understanding with the dog standing still for the baby to poke and prod. I was so proud of my little boy; he faced his fear for this large giant dog and made steps to create a bond. Toriah helped a lot as he loves all things animal and the two of them spent some lovely times with the dogs. Tj does not like dogs whatsoever. He had a nasty experience once that left him petrified of them, and he had to make do with indoor games and cable television.

While in Rwanda we attended a local wedding and the boys were exposed to a culture totally different from their own. It was refreshing to hear their perceptions about the differences and commonalities. I realised just how individual each of them was from their sharing and interaction with the various experiences. I am so grateful to my husband Tony for removing me from my comfort zone and pushing me on to new experiences.

By nature I like things easy, I also tend to be very impatient and I did not think I would survive a road trip cramped in the same vehicle for two days. Being the only lady though (except for my friend Eunice who came to help out and keep me company) I did not want to rain on the boys’ parade as they were so excited by the adventure.

Once I rested and stopped freaking out over the amount of litter on the car floor, I actually loved it. Goes to show how much capacity the human mind has for change and adaptation. I loved it so much, Tony and I have agreed that once we recover we will go on another road trip this time all the way to Bujumbura or Democratic Republic of Congo. However, I have begged for a two-year respite.

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