In my opinion, you have never lived until you have ridden a bike taxi. Being the fastest way to get around Gashora, it was inevitable that we would take them at one point. Yesterday, we finally got our chance. Learning we were going to visit the Gashora Girls Academy, we nervously and excitedly waited by the Covaga Innovation Center for our rides to show up. The first moments on the bike as it takes off are treated with an almost ingrained fear of falling off. As we continue on, however, those first moments of fear fade away (for some, anyway) and are overtaken with excitement. Cameras are taken out and pictures of us are taken, destined for Facebook and the inevitable disapproval of each of our mothers.
After finishing a wonderful visit the girls academy, we get back on our bikes for the ride back to Covaga, where we will be teaching English to the workers. My taxi is driven by a man named Innocent, who skillfully creates a song out of my name and sings while he drives me along the busy Gashora road. After disembarking at Covaga, I meet Jonathan, who from what I can tell is a good friend of Innocent. Thinking it would be the last time I would see either of them, I bid them farewell and went into the building. Once we get in front of the class, however, I find out that most of the taxi drivers are in the class today, and who should be at the front but Innocent and Jonathan! Seeing me, they fix me with the biggest grins I had ever seen and eagerly make a place for me at the bench. The goal of the English class that day was to learn Kinyarwanda from them while they learn English from us. Innocent and Jonathan took the first part of that to heart, and despite my insistence for them to learn from me, they easily took control of the teacher-student relationship. Anytime I messed up a pronunciation, they jumped on me hard until I had it right, amazing me with the energy they have, which I now think is present in every single bike taxi driver. Before I knew it, the hour had ended and they promised me they would be back next Thursday to learn more.
I barely got to teach them anything, but this experience was what really got me to love Rwanda.