Jean Patrick was already awake, listening to the storm, when Papa opened the door and stood by the side of the bed. Rain hissed at the windows and roared against the corrugated roof, and Jean Patrick huddled closer to his brother Roger for warmth. He remembered then that Papa was going to a conference in Kigali. He said it was a very important meeting; educators from all across Rwanda would be there.

Pearl: Thank you for inviting me to share a meal of Rwandan food and for giving me this chance to interview you. By the way, what am I eating?

Me: You are most welcome. It’s a pleasure to have someone to talk to. Usually, during my writing hours, it’s pretty lonely in here. You are eating isombe—the green stuff—which is made from cassava leaves, a stew made with chicken, tomatoes, cabbages and onions and pili-pili (hot pepper sauce), beans—similar to our pinto beans—and ugali.