Saturday, July 16, 2011

From the Archives: Have you had the ole?

The year is 2009. We were with a team of about 10 people had been staying in Bugongi, a village not too far from the Rwandan border. We spent a week with limited electricity, limited water, and a toilet that worked on a limited basis. We ate rice at every meal and had more bananas than we knew what to do with. We painted, we played, we spoke at churches, we hiked the hills, and braved the bugs...well most of us. (This is where the tick made a home in my toe and all the rest is, thankfully now, history).

But we made the most of what we had and always found ways to laugh and have fun.

We spent quite a good portion of our days painting at the childcare center. The fumes were pretty strong from the paint, which may have added to the fun. I'm not sure. As we painted the main hall both inside and out we found many interesting creatures. There was a dead bat in one of the side classrooms. And dead bats falling from the rafters outside. There were live bats very disturbed by our work, which sent my mom screeching more than a few times. (I think bats hold grudges because the ones that didn't swoop at us during the day would come swoop at us during dinner at night).

One of the AMG roof, found a little critter up there, and brought it down. Later on another worker was talking to us and he asked, "Have you seen the ole?"

We were perplexed. "Ole? The old? The old what?"

"No," he said. "The ole."


"You know. Ole," he says, then spells, "O-W-L."

"Oh. The Owl."

Up on the roof they found an owl's nest with a little baby owl. He was so cute, and he stayed under a small bush on the grounds of the center. A few days later, the kids came for the Saturday program and started looking at him. And, because they're kids, the looking turned to poking.

Fastforward to our last night in Bugongi. They have a special meal for the team, and towards the end they come out with this meat on a stick. We have no idea what it is, and one of the guys on the team looks at me and says

"Oh my gosh, is that the ole?"

And as he says that our team leader is coming around giving us each a stick of meat, all the while ever so quietly saying,


- Aly

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