Tag: home

“Home,” Scene Four

The stage is divided into two parts. The first is Lisa’s room. It very simple, only a bed and a dresser. She is sitting on the bed, and her phone is on the dresser. On the other side, KAYLEE is sitting at a table holding a phone and dialing a number. Lisa’s phone rings.

LISA: (Picks up phone) Hello?

KAYLEE: Lisa! It’s Kaylee.

LISA: Kaylee! How are you? How is Muhanga?

KAYLEE: Oh, I love it so much! Teaching preschool is amazing; the kids are so so sweet. What about you? How’s teaching English?

LISA: It’s a little difficult. I’m realizing how irregular and confusing English can be. I had to explain gerunds to my intermediate class today. I bet half of the people I graduated with don’t even know what a gerund is.

KAYLEE: (Laughs) You should have taught everyone in American proper grammar before going abroad.

LISA: But that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

KAYLEE: Is Kibuye beautiful? Everyone here says the lake is gorgeous.

LISA: I’ve seen it, but I haven’t had the time to go up close yet.

KAYLEE: It sounds like your job is taking a lot out of you.

LISA: It’s a challenge. I don’t know how to relate to the refugees. They feel so displaced because they’re Congolese but don’t have a home in Congo anymore. They live in Rwanda but they don’t identify as Rwandan.

KAYLEE: You can relate to that. You’re an American living in Rwanda.

LISA: Yes, but I still have a home in America. I have roots that I can go back to, and the opportunity to plant new roots all around the world. I have an abundance of homes. These people, they have homes, but they’re homeless.

KAYLEE: I never thought of it that way.

LISA: I’m learning so much, it’s a little overwhelming.

KAYLEE: If you ever need to clear your mind, come join me in Muhanga sometime. I bet playing with the preschoolers would be really refreshing.

LISA: (Laughs) No, that’s okay. I think I like it here. This place is starting to feel like home.

KAYLEE: I’m happy for you. Listen, I have to go, my roommate and I are going to Kigali for the weekend. Call me if you need anything.

LISA: Have fun! Say hi to everyone for me.

KAYLEE: Will do. Get some rest this weekend.

LISA: Thanks, I will. Bye, Kaylee.


KAYLEE hangs up her phone and walks offstage. LISA is still sitting on her bed.

LISA: This place really is starting to feel like home.

“Home,” Scene Three

LISA, MARIE CHANTAL, and EMMANUEL walk onstage. There is a table with three chairs. They sit. WAITER approaches.

WAITER: Welcome to Cannabera. What would you like?

EMMANUEL: We would all like chipati.

WAITER: Would you like drinks?

LISA: I’ll have icyayi, please.



WAITER: What kind of Fanta?


WAITER: I will be right back. (He walks away)

EMMANUEL: Risa, why did you choose to come to Rwanda?

LISA: I wanted to teach English.

EMMANUEL: Why Rwanda? Our country is developing country and has bad history.

LISA: Rwanda is a beautiful country. I love everyone I have met here.

MARIE CHANTAL: You did not have the fear?

LISA: I was afraid to be far from home, but now I am very happy here.

The WAITER returns to the table. He places a plate of chipati on the table, and gives a mug to LISA and Fanta bottles to MARIE CHANTAL and EMMANUEL.

EMMANUEL: The bread is called chipati. You can eat it alone or scoop up beans and cabbage.

LISA breaks off a piece of the bread and dips it in the beans. She takes a bite.

MARIE CHANTAL: Do you like it?

LISA: Yego, sawa cyane!

EMMANUEL: You like it! And your Kinyarwanda, it is very good.

LISA: Thank you.

EMMANUEL: How long are you staying in Rwanda?

LISA: Two years.

MARIE CHANTAL: Have you been to Congo?

LISA: No. I would like to visit Uganda soon.

EMMANUEL: Do you miss home?

LISA: I miss home very much, but I love being here.

MARIE CHANTAL: Earlier you said home is a place you should love and want to stay.

LISA: I love my home in America because my family is there. When I go home, I will be happy. But maybe soon Rwanda will be my other home.

WAITER: You are finished?

LISA: Yego, murakoze cyane.

WAITER: (laughs) The mzungu, she speak Kinyarwanda!

MARIE CHANTAL: She is living in Rwanda and speaking language of Rwanda.

EMMANUEL: Factile, please.

The WAITER gives them a receipt.

LISA: I will pay. (She places a few bills on the table.)

MARIE CHANTAL: Thank you, Lisa.

LISA: Thank you for showing me around Kibuye and chipati. It was such a good day.

MARIE CHANTAL: It is raining.

LISA: Oh, no. It’s such a long walk back to Kiziba.

MARIE CHANTAL: You live in Kibuye town.

LISA: What about you?

EMMANUEL: We will walk to Kiziba.

LISA: Let me pay for your motos.

MARIE CHANTAL: No motos will go so far in rain.

LISA: Would you like to stay at my house?

MARIE CHANTAL: I must be home for my children.

LISA: I understand. I will see you on Tuesday for class.

MARIE CHANTAL: Thank you, Miss Lisa.

EMMANUEL: Goodbye Risa!

They walk separate ways.

“Home,” Scene Two

The library is a house with a classroom and a small nook of textbooks and notebooks. The classroom has several desks, a chalkboard, and a map.

LISA: Welcome to Intermediate English Class. Good morning.


LISA: How are you?

EMMANUEL and MARIE CHANTAL: We are fine. And you?

LISA: I am fine, thank you. Do you remember adjectives and adverbs?



LISA: Let’s review. An adjective describes a noun and an adverb describes a verb.

LISA writes two sentences on the chalkboard: “The girl is loud” and “The girl sings loudly.” She points to the first sentence.

LISA: Is ‘loud’ an adjective or an adverb?


LISA: Yes, because it describes the girl, which is a noun. Is ‘loudly’ an adjective or an adverb?


LISA: Yes, because ‘loudly’ describes ‘sings,’ which is a verb.

EMMANUEL: What is noun and verb?

LISA: A noun is a person, place, or thing, and a verb is something to do.

EMMANUEL: Thank you.

LISA: Can you come up to the board and write a sentence that uses a verb and adverb?

EMMANUEL: (Writes a sentence on the board) The singing was loudly.

LISA: Actually, you should use the adjective ‘loud’ because it describes a noun.

EMMANUEL: But singing is something to do.

LISA: Well, you’re right. But sometimes in English, if it ends in ‘i-n-g,’ it becomes a noun. We call it a gerund.

EMMANUEL: Engrish is difficult language. But I will learn because I want to go to U.S.A. and get job.

LISA: You’re doing very well.

EMMANUEL: Thank you.

LISA: What kind of job do you want to do?

EMMANUEL: In Congo I was pastor but in U.S.A. I will take any job.

LISA: A pastor is a good job.

EMMANUEL: Now I cannot be pastor because I live in Kiziba camp.

MARIE CHANTAL: I sold fruit in market. Now I care for six children.

LISA: How old are your children?

MARIE CHANTAL: My youngest is baby and oldest is sixteen. I too want to go to U.S.A. but I do not have husband.

LISA: What do you want to do in the U.S.?

MARIE CHANTAL: U.S.A. has good education for children. I want my children to learn and get good job.

LISA: Can you not be a pastor in Rwanda?

EMMANUEL: Pastor is important job. Not a refugee job.

LISA: Marie-Chantal, can you sell fruit at the Kibuye market?

MARIE CHANTAL: The market is long walk away. And I have no means to purchase fruit to sell. All my money goes to school fees.

LISA: Do your children go to school here?

MARIE CHANTAL: They go to Kiziba school. They would get better education in Kibuye but we are not Rwandan.

LISA: How long have you lived in Rwanda?

MARIE CHANTAL: Twenty years.

LISA: Your children have lived in Rwanda their whole lives.

MARIE CHANTAL: But parents are Congolese. I know how to live in DRC. I do not know how to live in Rwanda.

LISA: So, DRC is home?

MARIE CHANTAL: For now, Kiziba is home.

LISA: But you do not want to stay in Kiziba.

MARIE CHANTAL: Kiziba is home because I live there.

LISA: Home should also be a place you love and want to stay.

MARIE CHANTAL: DRC was my home, but now I cannot go home.

EMMANUEL: I would like America to be home, but my Engrish is poor.

LISA: Your English is getting better every day.

EMMANUEL: Risa, what languages are spoken in U.S.A.?

LISA: English, but some people speak other languages, like Spanish.

EMMANUEL: Do they speak French?

LISA: Some do. I learned French in secondary school.

MARIE CHANTAL: Do you learn Kiswahili in secondary?

LISA: No, mostly Spanish and English. I also studied Chinese.

EMMANUEL: You have been to China?

LISA: No, I learned Chinese at University.

EMMANUEL: Why do you love languages?

LISA: The more languages you speak, the more people you can talk to.

MARIE CHANTAL: Most of the world speak English because of colonized by British.

EMMANUEL: But Rwanda was colonized by Belgium, so we were Francophone. Now we are Anglophone.

LISA: I love Kinyarwanda. It is a good language.

EMMANUEL: It is not useful in communicating with other countries because Kinyarwanda is mother tongue of Rwanda only. English is an international language.

LISA: Kiswahili is an international language.

EMMANUEL: Only Africans speak Kiswahili. It is better to speak English.

LISA: Just because more people speak English doesn’t mean it’s better.

EMMANUEL: I cannot get job in U.S. if I do not speak English.

LISA: Your English is getting better and better.

MARIE CHANTAL: Risa, how long have you been in Rwanda?

LISA: I was in Kigali for two months and I’ve been in Kibuye for a few weeks now.

MARIE CHANTAL: How do you see Rwanda?

LISA: I love Rwanda. It is so beautiful.

EMMANUEL: Have you tried food of Rwanda?

LISA: I’ve had ugali, matoke, and mendazi.

EMMANUEL: You have not had chipati?

LISA: No. Can I find chipati in Kibuye?

EMMANUEL: Yego. After class we will take you to Kibuye town and show you chipati.

“Home,” Scene One

An African market: colorful kitenge, people bartering, and lots of noise, animals, and pandemonium. Two Americans, LISA and KAYLEE, are walking through the stalls.

MERCHANT: Sister, welcome to Rwanda! I will make you a kitenge dress! Only four thousand francs!

LISA: No, thank you.

MERCHANT: Cheaper than anywhere else in the market!

LISA: Maybe we’ll be back later.

KAYLEE: The market stresses me out. Will you stay with me to help me say no to people? If I go on my own, I’ll buy everything.

LISA: No problem. I just need to pick up some skirts from Josephine.

KAYLEE: I hope they’re ready. It’s our last day in Kigali before going to our new homes. We’ll be official PeaceCorp members!

LISA: Where are you going again?

KAYLEE: Muhanga, teaching at a preschool. What about you?

LISA: I’m going to be living in Kibuye, by Lake Kivu, and teaching English at Kiziba Refugee Camp.

KAYLEE: It sounds like a big responsibility. You must be nervous.

LISA: I am. I’m terrified that I won’t be good at teaching it because I don’t speak Kinyarwanda.

KAYLEE: You speak French, right? A lot of people here speak French.

LISA: Yes, but imagine learning a third language through your second language.

KAYLEE: I don’t even have a second language.

LISA: It’s kind of ironic how we come from halfway around the world to teach our only language to people who already speak two or three.

KAYLEE: I understand why, though. English is more useful.

LISA: Hopefully it will help them get better jobs.

KAYLEE: It sounds like a challenge. I guess you aren’t one for comfort zones.

LISA: If I wanted my comfort zone, I would have stayed in the U.S. There’s Josephine!

JOSEPHINE is in her market stall, which is covered in fabric and has a small elevated platform.


LISA and KAYLEE: Nimeza.

JOSEPHINE: You are leaving so soon, it makes me so sad. Come, try on your clothes!

JOSEPHINE hands KAYLEE a dress and LISA several skirts. KAYLEE climbs onto the stall’s platform and JOSEPHINE holds up a large piece of fabric so she can change. LISA wraps a skirt around her waist.

JOSEPHINE: It is a little long.

LISA: It will fit my sister. She’s taller than I am. Kaylee, how does the dress look?

KAYLEE: (comes out from behind fabric piece) Ta-da!

LISA: Oh, I love it!

KAYLEE: (Hands money to JOSEPHINE) Murakoze Cyane, Josephine!

JOSEPHINE: Yego. When do you leave?

LISA: (Hands money to JOSEPHINE) Tomorrow morning.

JOSEPHINE: I will miss you so much. Be sure to come back and visit next time you are in Kigali.

LISA and KAYLEE begin to walk away.

LISA: We will! See you soon!