We drove past shanties, tin tacked to plastic tacked to bits of plywood. These shanties had dirt floors, and children in underwear with pot bellies, and those with no underwear and ripped shirts, and everyone outside sitting and sweeping the dirt with grass brooms or selling piles of potatoes and plantains.
It’s all beauty, and this is their home. This is where their babies were born, where they make their bed–a blanket on the dirt floor–where they brush away stray clots of dirt because, as the mayor of Rwanda says to his people–you may be poor, but that doesn’t mean you have to be dirty. And this, why Kigali, Rwanda is one of the cleanest cities in Africa. Their mayor believes in giving his people dignity.
There’s also dignity in wearing a beautiful skirt amidst the slums.
In rising from the dirt to do your hair in the cracked plate of glass that hangs on your tin wall. In putting dangly earrings in your lobes and pulling on a bright yellow shirt because you may not be able to control your surroundings, but you can still be elegant.