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Snapshots of Life in Kigali: On Display

I went to a boxing match.

Our friend Eric convinced me; he’s friends with an American woman here who runs a boxing club for local kids, which is funded by the boxing-fitness classes for expats that she organizes.

Awesome, right?

A dozen fights were scheduled; $4 admission included a free soda or beer.  I sat down with my Coke and watched Rwandan kids punch each other in the face.  I was sitting in the middle of a huge group of expats in white lawn chairs.

(I am trying to say here: it was weird.)

I stayed for a few fights and walked to the bus stop to head home.  I got a jump seat next to the driver, which I like because of the wide-windshield, aquarium view of the world at dusk.  I read a chapter of Eat, Pray, Love – Liz Gilbert is in India and has this cutting realization about her own character flaws – and I felt that emotional high you get from hearing a moment of your own story from someone else’s articulate mouth.  The bus raced the settling darkness, brown streetlight after brown streetlight.

Sometimes Kigali reminds me so suddenly of its beauty (look, it says. look at me) and I just fly on the strength of that loveliness.

But then.  At every stop, every Rwandan on the street stared in at the almost-white girl, sitting on display with her knees tucked up in the front of the bus.  I was no longer quite so airborne.  One stare, two stares, ten stares, twenty-second-stares… reminded me of the trade-off for my front row seat.  I felt much, much better about the boxing, though.


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