Stuff Expat Aid Workers Like #70-Marriage Proposals
So the above is a great version of a daily occurrence. Here, fielding marriage proposals is something to be expected every time you leave your compound. It doesn't really matter the number of times you've rejected or even, accepted someone. It's like Groundhog's Day here, whatever happened yesterday is completely forgotten today and thus, repeated.
Most of the time it is just a joke that you exchange with a couple of moto drivers, you know they're going to ask, they know you're going to reject them. But the fun part of all this is thinking of the different ways to deflect the sexual harassment. Some of my personal favorites:
Rwandan man: Muzungu, i love you.
Me: I love you too, when are we off to make our many children? (if this is all said in rapid english, he won't get any of it...if they do, you laugh, then run.
Rwandan man: I want go America with you.
Me: Ok, but you're buying both our tickets. (I usually say this in Kinyarwanda so they get the full effect and realized they can't afford a gold digger like me.)
Rwandan man: You are beautiful, will you marry me? (usually spoken in kinyarwanda by the less learn-ed, but no less hopeful OR after they've realized I speak kinyarwanda and thus want to bring their flirting A-game)[hard to resist, right?]
Me: Ok, but my father wants 500 cows for my dowry. (This is an absurd number. There's even a phrase in kinyarwanda for a girl that is worth 100 cows. Most families work their way up to one. My host father was rich with his 3. Again, working the gold digger angle is very powerful.)
Although sometimes they reply with: Ok, I will work for this. (this is my own way to encourage development)
Rwandan man: You are beautiful, do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Yes, I have one in America.
Rwandan man: Then you should have a matching set. One here in Rwanda, one in America.
Me: I don't think my boyfriend would like that.
Rwandan man: But I would.
Rwandan man: What is your nationality?
Rwandan man: Would you like it to be Rwandan?
Me: Huh? (keep in mind the only context is a daily conversation, i don't ALWAYS know where they're going with these questions I only mostly understand in kinyarwanda
Rwandan man: You can marry me, become Rwandan.
Now often these proposals are thrown at you in the most unassuming situations Ex. walking to the market, buying your food at the market, walking from the market, boarding a bus, waiting on a bus, getting off the bus...I think you get the idea. But you don't always know how to respond to them. When you are ready, gems like this come out...
Rwandan man: You are beautiful, you will marry me? Me: Ok, but you must be like an American man.
Rwandan man: Ntakibazo. (no problem)
Me: American men cook food and do laundry and take care of children. Sometimes they will even stay at home when their wives go to work.
Rwandan man: *laughing*
Me: No really, if we will marry, you must do this.
Rwandan man: I will learn
Now you have to appreciate their flexibility. Their willingness to learn, change and grow is very inspiring, but sometimes you've just had one too many proposals in a day. Travelling days are particularly arduous. But it's really annoying when they don't get it or can't take a hint. It reveals an underlying lack of respect that's really irritating.
But you have to keep your head up. So sometimes, I pretend I'm just a regular muzungu who doesn't understand kinyarwanda. Now this increasingly ineffectual as more and more people learn English. This is when I bless America and say...
Lo siento, yo sólo hablan español.