I had more African experiences yesterday. After doing another focus group in the morning, I walked around the surrounding villages conducting surveys. In addition to my translator, the pastor, several kids, and the whole focus group wanted to tag along. We are trying to research local cooking habits, fuel use, water sanitation etc. to best cater to peoples’ needs. The surveys are a bit tedious to be honest, but knowing that they’re providing important information for improving Rwandans’ lives helps.
Now for the story. I was doing my first survey of the day at a woman’s home. We were sitting outside, her open fire cooking food in another hut. The survey includes a question that says, “Do you ever experience coughing from smoke inhalation?” As I asked that, a wave of killer smoke wafted over the group and everyone began coughing uncontrollably. I had my answer. It turns out the woman’s kids had placed chili peppers in the fire and we were breathing spicy smoke! I’ve never experienced a respiratory sensation quite like it.
As we were walking to another home, a big thunderstorm rolled over the mountains. We made it inside just before big drops of rain started falling on the tin roof. The deafening sound of pounding rain made the survey challenging but definitely more awesome. Walking back in the rain on muddy footpaths, soaking in the bright green tropical vegetation, black volcanic soil and huge Mount Muhabura, I was once again reminded that I am in Africa. I need to enjoy every moment as it comes because God has blessed me in providing this opportunity to learn, experience and grown together with His people here.