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diary of a geographic bachelor

The first week passed in a haze of cruel jet lag. The next was marked by Rwanda’s presidential election – a week full of long days at the office that seemed to persist long after the final ballots had been cast. The third week was blissfully uneventful and marked in its passing the midway point of our separation.

After a while, the days began to run together. Let the dog out. Drive to the office. Run an errand or two on the way home. Try to catch a few rays of late evening light. The sun sets around 6pm every day year-round in Kigali, so more often than not it’s dark by the time D hangs up his suit and finds a few minutes to play fetch with Emmie in our yard. Eat dinner. Check in with the fam. Watch a movie. Rinse, repeat.

The house seemed more or less in order when D left Kigali in June, and it wasn’t much changed when he came back a month and a half later, and yet he found that a surprising number of things needed taking care of before S returns with the kids. A few things wound up taking far more time and energy to resolve than D had anticipated. A routine maintenance check on the car, for example, opened up a Pandora’s box of minor repairs. After making the mistake of entrusting his car the first time around, D wound up spending several hours this week at a bustling “car garage” that was high on character but not much else.

While D’s mechanic disappeared for several hours in search of a small replacement part, D kept himself entertained by watching the local pool sharks in action. After observing for the better part of an hour and figuring out the rules of the bizarre game they were playing, D used his remaining few words of Swahili to announce his desire to play a game. The crowd that immediately gathered to watch the mzungu play let out an appreciative murmur when D sank his first shot. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there as D wouldn’t pocket another ball the rest of the game. After two games, D shook hands and handed the warped cue back to one of the idle mechanics. Five hundred francs ($0.60) well spent.

It’s a bit cliché to say, but we are creatures of habit, and much as D sometimes yearns for a quiet respite from family responsibilities now and then, after six years of marriage, he also feels somewhat out of his element on his own. Much of our social life in Kigali revolves around Munchkin, and with his family still stateside D mostly has kept to himself, the occasional poker game and weekly trivia night serving as the main sources of his diversion. A bit of alone time is good for the soul. The only question is whether D will wish he had done more with it once his family returns to Kigali in a couple of weeks.

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