|Kate (with Lizzie and Mel) after a successful barter|
I do not enjoy writing, but today I found out how much I love bartering. This morning we went to a market in Kigali. We had to barter because a huge part of Rwanda culture is building relationships and relationships are built through conversations.
In general, I would never start a conversation with a stranger, but when I saw a shirt that said Muzungu, I had to buy it. For those of you who do not know what a Muzungu is, it is what all the children yell at you when you walk by. It means white person or foreigner. Since this might be the one and only time I visit Rwanda, I jumped at the opportunity and asked the woman selling the shirt how much it cost. Jen K told us to immediately cut the given price in half and I did so until the person selling the product and I agreed on a price.
My favorite quote form this morning was from Mel R. The woman selling her a pair of earrings asked for 1,000 Franks and Mel hastily replied with, “How bout 5,000?” when she meant to say 500. Overall, today was the first time I realized it was ok to question people whether it be because you want to better understand someones culture or just because you did not understand what they were saying.