The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and … Malaria?
The honeymoon in Africa is definitely over. Project aside, daily life is finally getting a little too real. Our return from Rwanda started with me “losing” my wallet (read: probably had it pickpocketed) after the bus made a pit-stop in a small town. The loss was an annoyance but included little more than some money and my driver’s licence I used for ID - nothing to lose sleep over. Things got more complicated when the equivalent of just under 100 dollars US disappeared from a drawer in my room.
Since I’ve arrived, the routine has been the same. Every week I exchange 100 dollars US for spending money and I take about 20 dollars each morning with the intention of spending around 15 to stay on budget. Passport is locked away along with my US money, but the stuff I need daily stays at my bedside. The lock to my room broke last week, and if I exclude Sabrina and Bridget as suspects (which I do!) then there were three other possibilities; our two guards/housekeepers or the lunchtime cook. After our meal on Wednesday, our freshly paid cook (end of two weeks) mysteriously left without doing the dishes. Next morning I realized the money was missing and before an inquisition could take place, noon rolled around and no cook at the house. Things got more complicated the next day when he returned with a note saying his wife was sick and he’s sorry he didn’t show up, but since we had already honoured our contract and were just looking to extend him, the decision was easy. I say that, but there’s something about firing someone who is clearly in need that just doesn’t sit right, especially when they deny wrong doing. However, the additional act of “sabotage” - an unplugged fridge that rotted our food the day of the initial incident – inspired our imaginations with a narrative of need, contempt and then regret. The filmmakers in us never quit.
We do slow down however. Raymond’s new sickness meant he stayed in Rwanda for a few more days while we finished editing the films and started to plan the festival. Neither of these things are done yet (especially the festival planning) and more obstacles keep making life feel unnecessarily difficult. Just yesterday our friend had the front light of his car stolen in mid-day while we were running errands organizing the festival. One more expense that wasn’t in our already non-existent budget…