Five things that locals find funny about me, the mazungu!

1. I can easily gather a crowd… well… more like a mob of children!

As one of my primary responsibilities here is to visit borrowers, I have the pleasure of travelling around the country to the most amazing remote villages.

As our car slowly makes its way around the busy village streets, children start screaming: “Listen everyone, there is a MAZUNGU IN THE CAR!!!”

This is followed by clapping, screaming and running after the car. In one village they started ringing bicycle bells to gather more people to observe this blonde being


2. I am not a fan of the African massage

The main roads in Rwanda are perfect, well maintained and relatively safe, if you ignore the hyperactive bus drivers

Once you get off the main road though, you begin to enjoy the wonders of the African massage – the car is either vertically going up or vertically going down a hill or a ditch… on the narrowest of roads… next to a 30 metre drop…

My driver is used to me freaking out by now and he laughs when I jump or press my feet on the floor of the car as that could somehow stop it!

3. I know five Kinyarwanda words and keep on saying them over and over

Kinyarwanda is as complicated and unique as Estonian and my efforts in learning the language have so far only resulted in mere pleasantries

So if you want to melt some Rwandan hearts (trust me, it always works!) and make the whole room laugh all you need to do is stumble through the following sentence:

Mwaramutse, nitwa Sandra, amakuru?

[Good morning, my name is Sandra, how are you?]


4. I can’t recognise any of the crops the borrowers grow

My translator stops at every new vegetable patch we walk past and says – Sandra do you know what this is?! My usual answer is no… so we stop, we look and we learn – cassava, coffee beans, tea…

We did get to a potato field once and as a proud Estonian I declared my grandmother grows these as well – they were very happy about my knowledge!

5. I find normal things funny

I guess the funniest thing is that the things I find funny are completely normal to the locals. What do you mean you don’t put goats on motor cycles in London… or carry ten mattresses  on your head… or stuff as many carrots in a duffle bag as possible?!

I drive around the country with my car crew screaming: “Sandra, look, it’s CRAZY!!!”



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