I am sitting on the patio of the Presbyterian Guest House in Kigali, Rwanda, watching a woman sweep the walkway with a traditional short broom. Reminds me of one of Millet’s gleaners.
It’s morning here, and the screeching of birds punctuates the rhythmic banging from a nearby construction site and the roar of trucks laboring uphill toward the city center. Staffers are shouting back and forth in Kinyarwandan. The aromas of diesel exhaust, charcoal smoke, and moist tropical vegetation mingle with the taste of my café au lait.
The guest house courtyard is shaded by acacias, palms, and papaya trees, and ringed by a rough brick wall. A white metal gate frames a square of hillside densely set with houses, their tile roofs nestled in greenery. Mist drifts over the landscape, softening the equatorial sun.
Weird string of coincidences: Last night, my nephew Will Miller was stuck in the Kigali airport en route to Nairobi. As we were emailing back and forth, trying to arrange a dinner meeting (it didn’t work out), my travel-writer pal Michael Luongo posted on Facebook asking if anyone had stayed at the Hotel Milles Collines in Kigali. Another friend, Barbara Mulvaney, responded that she had. I had no idea that Mike and Barbara knew each other; it turns out they met years ago in Baghdad.
I wonder if it’s possible to make a mathematical chart of this confluence of happenstance.