Week 6: Keith Geisler Does a Dance

This week started and ended with a bang. Last Monday, the Embassy interns went to Sole Luna for their weekly trivia night. We thought it would be a fun activity, and an excuse to eat delicious pasta. We got there too late to get a table and had to participate from the bar area. Everyone seemed like seasoned trivia frequenters. AND THEN WE BEAT THEM ALL. Kind of. We came in 2nd place of like 60 people. 1st place winners are required to organize trivia for the next week, so we won because we had the highest score without having to do any actual work. And they paid for our drinks. Score. We will be returning tonight to defend our title. I feel like a gladiator.

To end my week, I wore one of my handmade Rwandan skirts to work, where I proceeded to sit down and bust the zipper open. On a scale of 1 to frog in the toilet, I would say this is equivalent to stepping on a lizard spine.

Thank god I have my own office. The secretary had thread and a needle so I just had to sew myself into my skirt. And now I’m paranoid to move at all, so it’s going to be a long and very still day. The zippers here are all very cheap so I will probably have to have them replaced upon returning to the Promised Land aka America.

This week was a super cool week at work. This weekend was the Kigali Up! music festival. They hosted artists from Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, and all over Africa. It’s the third year of the festival, and it gets larger every year. The U.S. Embassy sponsored the headliners both this year and the year before. We brought in the jazz musician Joey Blake, and had a week of packed activities for him before the festival Saturday and Sunday.

As we paid for their trip and participation, the Embassy has to have someone escort them to all of their functions, so I was tasked with being a groupie for the week. It was awesome. The guys are great; one is from LA, two are my age and from Boston, and Joey is amazingly talented. I got to watch them jam with Rwandan musicians, workshop with Rwandan students, and perform for aspiring artists.

It was beautiful to see what the impact of one cultural program like this can be. Three of the four members of the band are African American. Several Rwandan students came up to me to ask how they could become like these musicians, and how they had come to be successful in America. The kids really related to this group, and it was interesting to see how that simple combination of awe and relativity made the band’s tour that much more successful. Jazz is not a popular genre here, and so we knew it would be tough selling their music to Rwanda. But their talent and their ability to work at such a close level with the kids really made their visit a worthwhile experience for both them and the Embassy. I will post some cool videos later of some casual jazz improv by the band.

Unfortunately, I did not make it to Kigali Up! this weekend, mostly because I had seen Joey perform for four days straight, and after dealing with a hundred middle-schoolers on Friday, I was not mentally ready to be surrounded by thousands of Rwandan teens at the concert. Instead, I went to THE MOVIES. It was the most amazing thing. The theater just opened in May, and it’s the first one in Kigali. I felt like I was momentarily transported back to America. It was a beautiful theater inside a mall, and I saw The Heat with my friend Michelle. It was hilarious. And empowering, because it was a comedy ensemble film with females as the leads. #WOMEN

Personally, this week was rough because of all the things I wished I could have been a part of in America. On Saturday, my beautiful cousin, Susan, became the first Geisler of my generation to get married. My entire extended family came in from out of town for the celebration, and my dad was the star of the dance floor. I’m basically devastated I missed his dancing. Here is a picture my cousin Tara sent me of his performance. Brendan, A+ on your twerking form.

Image

My bff/sister wife in LA, Emily, had her birthday party on Saturday as well. She is only the sweetest and best person ever, and I was so sad to not be able to share in her special day. And also, in case you’re wondering where in the world Riccardo was, he was sailing on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea this weekend. Like you do. I would have preferred participating in any one of these 3 events rather than going to the movies in Kigali, but you win some, you lose some. In Rwanda’s defense, before the movie, I had amazing Indian food. So there’s that. I always recommend drowning in your sadness with copious amounts of naan and masala.

Finally, I went out dancing on Friday with some of the interns. It was a hot mess and I loved it. I will leave you with one of the most popular African pop songs currently, by Nigerian twin R&B artists P Square. YOU ARE WELCOME.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWaNr5fNm84

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