Soap Sud Culture

A look of shock appeared on Iradukunda’s face.

​Yes, Teacher Lion, the American trying to teach what “respect” is, just swiftly scooped a handful of soap suds from the wash basin and sent them flying into his face.

There was a pause. We looked at each other, and the kids looked at the suds perched on Iradukunda’s head.

Suddenly, we were all doubled over laughing and many hands began scooping up soap suds and sending them flying as they unleashed their battle cries.

Living in a village in Rwanda is a new and challenging experience, but in moments like these, sometimes I catch myself reliving my own childhood.

My siblings and I used to have “bubble wars” which were the only thing that made dish duty after dinner bearable to a restless 8 year old like myself who preferred to run barefoot through the woods in New Hampshire and pounce on unexpecting frogs sunning on lily pads.

I see myself in these kids sometimes–a bit reckless with a touch of a need for humorous moments–and a love for soap sud wars. 

Washing clothes by hand is always a character-building experience, and as soon as I pour the water into the basin the village posse appears, demanding that they help. 

It’s a miracle my pants didn’t rip or turn into a rope after they attempted to dry them.

Though I often have to send the village kids off with scolding remarks, I’m reminded of the fact that the younger we are, the more aware we can be of our connectivity.

Children around the world aren’t that different in their dreams and games at the root of it all.

Yes, the issues are different. Health issues and poverty may raise its head more menacingly here, but personalities? They’re the same. And I love it.


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