Rwanda never ceases to amaze me with how much character it has. Even inanimate things seem to tell a distinct story. Knowing that, it shouldn’t surprise me that the Rwandan home has a distinct and lovable personality all its own.
Though each house is unique, there seems to be a common design. First, and for many people only, there is a sitting room in the front of the house. This room is where life happens. The sitting room has many important functions. This is where meals are taken, tea is drank, and quality time with friends and family are had. This room tends to contain chairs and couches for sitting and relaxing. In the middle of the group of chairs is what many Westerners would call a coffee table, however, this functions as a Rwandan dining table. On one of the walls, there is usually a multi-purpose hutch that holds all dining ware and anything else that may need to be accessed quickly. Next to the hutch, there is what, to a Westerner, may seem like a proper dining room table, and this is where food is placed, prepared family or buffet style so everyone may serve themselves. Word to the wise: If you choose to do anything (read, write, text, etc.) in the sitting room, prepare for it to become a family activity, especially if there are young kids. Per Rwandan tradition, many visitors only ever see the sitting room. The rest of the compound is for intimate friends and family. This includes bedrooms, a room for bathing, and potentially a separate structure housing a kitchen and latrine.
The homes of Rwanda are interesting of course, but the most important character trait is that they house and shelter beautiful families that lead beautiful lives. Houses may differ based family income and geographic location, but none of them lack love and company of friends and family. I have visited a few other countries in my time, but in Rwanda, I feel like I am part of the family.