I love that the men here hug each other.  Mostly a handshake is exchanged but sometimes they embrace out of gladness to see each other. In Canada you often see women hugging like this but it’s rare to see men do so.  I mostly observe men hugging when they’re really really sad, like at a funeral (usually on tv),  or when they’ve scored a goal in soccer or some other sport, but rarely just because they’re happy to see each other or haven’t’ seen each other in awhile.  I’ve also seen Rwandan men lightly tap their foreheads together three times, left right and left (or right left right). I believe this is the more traditional and formal way of greeting each other, especially if it’s been a long time and you want to show respect.

There’s just something about human affection and the physical touch that makes me feel like sometimes, things are right in the world. Last week as I walked to work I saw these two near bald-headed little babies walking down the street hand in hand.  They walked with such confidence and satisfaction, swinging their joined hands up and down as if it was the most natural and pleasing thing in the world. One of the babies, the girl, had on blue plastic flip-flops that were too big for her but she never lost her stride with the little boy.  I got all warm and fuzzy watching them and wanted to walk behind them forever.  I think I let out a sigh of admiration in the presence of such simple and effortless love.   I admire touch that is not romantic or sexual .  Touch that is sweet,  just so natural and says more than words.  However, if forced to be put to words (in English), these touches might say things like ‘I like you’ or ‘you’re a-okay with me’ or ‘I love you ’or ‘we are together’.

One thought on “Touch

  1. jp says:

    someone been doing some observation…i like it. Thats the good thing about Africa or at least i would say for Rwanda. I’m afraid by the time you come back you’ll know more about my culture than i do…but its good coz then you’ll have to teach me.

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