Anneke

Teaching two classes

Yesterday

eight o’clock in the morning Deirdre and i went out to teach the sewing ladies. They were awesome! It’s one of the oldest classes in the program, they practice yoga since 2007. It took a little while before they were ready to start. They said they just finished a big sewing job and they were tired and hungry. But nevertheless, they practiced.
This class are woman who are genocide survivors, genocide-rape-survivors, HIV+patients and more. In this class there are two women who need extra attention. One was hurt badly in the genocide and has problems in her shoulders because of that and one other lady is a woman who has Polio. Also in this class are 2 woman who have flash backs regularly. So it’s for us important to be aware of that. Especially in Sirsasana. It’s a real challenge to teach Ashtanga to all woman in the world. What to do in case of Polio? What exercise would fit a woman who can only move the hips and up? We are creating ways to work with her, create an Ashtanga practice that fits her, custom made. How to motivate hungry and tired woman?
We do want to practice with and teach Ashtanga to each woman who wants to learn. Even the ones who are struggling physically and or mentally. Also the once who are hungry and tired. They can learn how to gain energy by giving a little first. But the great lesson they are teaching is that no matter what circumstance they are in, they try, they do it and the allow themselves to smile even!

Then we went to the second class this day. Again in the church were we teach every Monday to Thursday. Now the group was a group of adolescents. Young people. They all are also HIV+. They are extremely quite and concentrated. They really are doing their best. They want to learn and practice badly. There were two little children Shadia, who seemed to be around 6 years old and Zuena, who seemed around 3 years old. They were playing outside and decided to take a mat as well. They practiced Ashtanga yoga with the rest, quietly and seriously. The did not get any modification or explanation whatsoever, they just followed the rest and just did it without disturbing anyone at anytime. They didn’t speak a word but copied the others. I was highly impressed by these kids.

note: After class i bought a SIM card called Tigo in downtown Kigali. That one can make international text messages. I didn’t try international calling, but i don’t need to, since i am using Skype every night. I bought the card for 500fr what means around 1 US Dollar and then put 5000fr on it which means plus/minus 10 US Dollar. The SIM card i had to buy in a shop but these recharge cards are sold every where on the streets.


Ciao!
Anneke

First Impressions

|| Nothing more important than a first impression||

And so that’s what happened. I got impressed! Last night i arrived in the middle of the night. Jean, a local boy, picked me up from teh airport. He was very friendly. On the way to the compound we had to stop for the police. Probably a check if he wasn’t a secret taxi driver or for security reasons. They seemed not unfriendly. The policeman waved politely.
Then i entered the compound. A big alone standing house in the middle of a super humpy dirt road. With a gate around it, it seemed very well protected. Which feels nice. This area should be the so called expat area. Lots of white people working here. Even the president is living not far from here. Pretty rich area. The dirt road may have the a function, so it will not be crowded or it doesn’t look too rich? I don’t know why it’s like that, the other roads seemed pretty fine.
I went to bed. I have a nice spacey room with a big bed. It’s not super-the-luxe but comfortable and fine. I am content.
The next morning i met Deirdre for the first time. Another impression, and a good one. She’s a very sweet lady. Nice and knowledgeable if it’s about Ashtanga yoga and also she knows so much about Rwanda, Congo and all that is happening here. Her stories are breathtaking, interesting, impressive and teaching me so much. We were going out to teach the orphans today, but that class was canceled, we will stay in and instead we would take a little stroll around the neighborhood and just chat more. The Internet connection is pretty fine, which means that i could Skype talk with my mum in the afternoon and with Stijn at night. That’s really great! I am excited about what i am going to learn and see and hear… i have the suspicion it will be more extraordinary but also sad and horrifying than i can imagine. Things i learned today even, were things i had no clue about… we actually have no idea what is more happening in the world than what happens in our safe little bubble or what we see on TV… i hope i can add something and make a little difference.
Missing my boy but I feel lucky to be in this place, is my first impression!

some facts: Internet is great here, ATM is in the airport – it needs a VISA credit card (and i don’t dare to use it, ATM’s don’t seem very trustworthy), there are no dogs, it was warm – around 28 degrees Celsius today, groceries are crazy expensive – cornflakes around 10-12 US Dollar for example, i hear birds singing – probably tropical ones cause i don’t recognize the sounds, also Catholic children are singing – all day long in a house in front of ours – no comment yet.

Shanti! Anneke