Sunday, May 9, 2010

Life.....a Beautiful Ride

Life Ain't Always Beautiful -- Gary Allan

Life aint always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life aint always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin it's sweet time

No, life aint always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life aint always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride
What a beautiful ride

The other day I was riding my bike along the road to Gisenyi and the song above came on. It made me think a lot about the last couple of months.

Before I went to Italy I was "burnt". I was short fused, irritated and just flat out worn out. Africa has a way of doing that to you. My gauge is Max, Mr. Easy Going Ntchybazo Man. When he starts to yell, become annoyed and call people stupid, it's time to go. He can take it more than all of us and if he snaps we are all over the edge.

Two weeks in Italy was an experience in all things esthetically beautiful. I stood in awe of the beautiful hundreds year old churches and buildings. In Asolo, Italy I sat in a 17th century cathedral as the clock struck 12 and listened to the ringing church bells. I completely love that sound. It reminds me of the churches in the small town in Wisconsin where my grandparents once lived. I stayed for a week at Lake Como, breathtakingly beautiful. I rode a beautiful tricked out Specialized through the tiny towns along the lake, all picture post card gorgeous. The cars were beautifully new and not one spewed the dreaded black cloud of diesel so familiar on my rides in Africa. But Italy is supposed to be beautiful. The people are friendly, warm and welcoming. This is why we go to Italy. Italy reminded me it is okay to appreciate the finer things in life once again. It doesn't mean I don't care for my life in Africa, in all actuality it brought me to remember the beauty I found when I moved here over a year ago.

Beauty in the colors of Rwanda. All the colorful clothes worn by these amazing, hard working women of Rwanda. (Picture courtesy of Mjrka Bees)
I once again see the beauty in the smiles of the children running alongside me when I ride on the road to Gisenyi. I do not see the boys that ride alongside me on their single speeds hauling potatoes as a "nuisance" but rather as just wanting to be part of that moment with me. Plus, they can all tell their buddies over banana beer that they beat the Muzungu girl on the fancy bike! I am talking to them again, trying to remember, how fortunate I am to have grown up how I did. I stop and see the beautiful smiles of the young girls as they marvel at this girl with the wild blonde hair riding with the local boys. I want to teach them to ride.

The most beautiful thing about the boys of Team Rwanda is their skin. I have never seen such beautiful skin. Their black is almost a blue black, especially on Kiki and NicNic. God made a perfect sculpture when he made the Rwandan cyclist body. Their smooth dark skin over their lean muscles with not a mark or a freckle is a creation of perfection.
(Photo courtesy of Mjrka Bees)
The smiles of Nathan and Obed...beautiful.

The conversation with Nathan about how much better is life is being on Team Rwanda after dealing with a not so grateful long term Team member complaining and demanding more....beautiful....

The hills on the way to Kigali during sunrise with the mist coming off the valley floor...beautiful...

The sound of this glorious 7th Day Adventist choir singing next door on the Sabbath...beautiful...

In Italy I was reminded to treat myself to things that are nice, that make life easier, so I can better handle the rest of life, the not so pretty parts....I bought a beautiful desk that makes it easier to work and a joy to work at and...a washing machine....a beautiful, commercial capacity, 10 cycle washing machine. Yes, I have found joy in washing 10 loads of clothes.

I have even begun to find beauty in the not so beautiful things in life....instead of stressing about the lack of electricity, I plan my time around the outages and have actually read two very good books, The Blue Sweater, about microfinance in Rwanda and the Acumen Fund, and an old school classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Maybe that book has had a little to do with my finding beauty in the little things again.

I have found beauty in things that would only make me angry in the past. I appear to have this nasty, hateful "stalker" on my blog who insists on posting the most ignorant rants and childish comment posts after most blogs. What I find MOST BEAUTIFUL about the "anonymous (read too scared to stand behind my rants)" commenter is that they are READING my blog. If Mr./Ms. Anonymous really hates me so much why do you waste your valuable time reading my blog? THAT is truly BEAUTIFUL!!!

Yes, things still frustrate me, I am human and I am Type A. But I have been reminded what an amazing RIDE this last year has been for me. I have learned so much about myself and I have learned the importance of people and relationships, stability and security, faith and risk. I truly have a beautiful life.


  1. Glad to hear that the trip to Italy restored your body and soul. Dad and I found ourselves so full of joy to be walking the streets of Rome once again. The coins keep going into the Trevi fountain and we know that we will return and return.

    Thanks for the Mother's Day call, dear daughter. Life is so full today.

  2. Lovely takes haters to make the world go round too! You are a spreader of Sunshine and Love! Keep up the good work. Hugs!!

  3. Oh sweetheart! You’re not cool enough to have a stalker. No one cares about you that much. Just got wind of your blog recently (and have seen you around the area) and think you’re an arrogant piece of sh%t. (The grape vine supports my suspicions, too.) That’s all. I’m not interested in signing up for your blog. Just wanted to voice my opinion, that’s all. I don’t follow your blog, and I won’t be reading anymore after this. There’s nothing beautiful about it (me reading your blog, that is) so stop kidding yourself with this idiocy. Your blog reads like that of a 13 year old girl’s diary entry (read: Not very enlightening, just pointless drivel.) You’re quoting Cher and scenes from the movie Rudy. Please! Need I say more?

  4. Hey Anonymous, get a freaking life bitch! I know your kind. You're jealous, you're unhappy with your own life, so instead of doing something positive, you lurk in the shadows of Web, finding other people you can tear down. But you know what, people like you accomplish nothing with your nasty words. You might as well go on and post about the stink of Lindsey Lohan's snatch. Nobody gives a flying f*&k what you think.

    Keep up the good work Kim!

  5. Kim - I think that you are cool. I have never heard you be biased and judgmental like the anonymous comment above and I appreciate that fact about you very much. There are not many grapes grown in the area so I don't know what grape vine she/he is referring to but I know everyone in this town and have never heard a bad word spoken in your direction. What kind of a person other than a stalker would leave anonymous negative comments? Sounds like they are jealous of all that you are accomplishing. You look young but calling you 13 is pushing it. I don't see your blog as a diary, more like a news letter for people back home to have some insight into your life here. I never could understand the depth that some people stoop to in trashing others simply to try and feel better about their own failed and miserable lives. I like Cher and the movie Rudy. I guess some people are just hard to please. Maybe if the anonymous stalker was so superficial she/he would find some portion of your blog to relate to and appreciate like the rest of us.
    - Johnny Umuzungu