Saturday mornings in the Village are my favorite. No matter what the weather’s been like over the week, something changes on Saturdays. Rainy weeks brighten into delicate sunshine, stale air swirls into delightful breezes, and suffocating heat lightens to a delicious temperature. Even better, stressed out kiddos have the time to sleep, explore hobbies, and enjoy each other’s company.
Saturday mornings start around 5:30 with our Village-wide Mucakamucaka workout. The kiddos either run to one of the neighboring villages, participate in Gymtonic (think Zumba meets Bodypump), or my personal favorite, practice yoga on the balcony. As we enjoy our morning exercises, the golden Rwandan sun eases itself into the sky, amidst pinks and blues and purples, until finally the bright stars are erased, and we are left with a canvas of uninterrupted blue that stretches from here until forever.
After Mucakamucaka, we have a quick breakfast of porridge and freshly baked bread rolls. The kids then go off to their various service activities. Each week, families are assigned different tasks – some help the kitchen staff, some mop the floors, some care for the animals on the farm, while others maintain the landscaping of the Village. Where ever you go, you can hear the sounds of productive young people eagerly helping to care for their community. I, of course, spend time cleaning my Library from whatever activities it may have hosted over the course of the week. Books are sent back to their homes on the shelves, papers are filed, windows are wiped down, trash cans emptied, floors cleaned; everything is put back where it belongs. By 10:30ish, the Village has been thoroughly cleaned and the Villagers go about creating the rest of their days. Most go back to sleep, some kiddos go to church, some go to study, some go to the Library.
Wide open windows allow the gentle morning sunshine to float in to the Library. Birds chatter their cheerful songs, accented by the gossip of the goats and cows who sometimes wander past. Kiddos come in to use computers, to read a book, or just to chat. It’s the perfect place and time to make a cup of tea, find a book, and sit on my exceptionally comfortable couches. Time evaporates, and all that’s left is the palpable feeling of safety and comfort and the kind of happiness that can only exist in a room full of quiet people, each engaged with his or her own mind, but undeniably enjoying the company of those nearby. We sit like this for an hour, maybe two, maybe five – me and some of my favorite people in the world. When it’s time to go, a quick glance reminds the kiddos to put everything back just how they found it – let’s keep the room clean and perfect for a little while longer, I’ll say with just my eyes. I’m thanked with a smile and a touch on the shoulder, and with peaceful footsteps they go one by one, leaving just a little bit of emptiness in a room that comes alive only when it’s full of young people. It’s ok, I tell myself, they’ll come back soon to breathe more life into this space. After all, it’s always sunny on Saturdays.