Barrie Adleberg
Digital Play Designer
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Imitunu

Imitunu means "wide open eyes" in Kinyarwanda.

YOU ARE SO "SMART"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Every Erev Shabbat the volunteers organize a small get together for all who wish to join and rejoice in the coming day of rest. This past Friday I decided to wear my new skirt I had made in Rubona (the nearby market). I hand picked the fabric- a bright green base adorned with a pattern of navy blue and bright yellow peacock feathers. All evening I was greeted with compliments, "Wow! You are looking soooooo smart!" For some time I thought they meant "sharp". However, "smart" is actually the expression they use here if you are nicely put together. I like to interpret it as: "You KNOW how to look good."  People in Rwanda like to stay fresh. Even if you only have 2 outfits, you wash them every day and those who can afford to sport button-ups and dress-shoes through the dusty village paths.  

I didn't bring many "smart" outfits to Rwanda. I have 2 pairs of jeans with many holes in them! I thought I'd be painting all the time and didn't see the use in messing up other clothes. One the first days here, a counselors asked me, with considerable concern in her voice, "Are those your only pants?" I laughed it off until one day, while showing my girls pictures from back home, one turned to me with a straight face and counseled me, "Barrie, don't you know you are pretty?" I guess I need to step it up. 

Barrie AdlebergComment