May 252010

I’m planning to visit Sister in Rwanda soon. So I’ve been spending lots of time trying to convince Craig that it’ll be a perfectly safe trip, mostly by making up stories and statistics that I’ve “read recently.” This is how I prepare most of my opening arguments. When I wanted to get pregnant with Amma, I told Craig that I “read recently” that couples with three children are statistically likely to become filthy rich and also make out ridiculously often. Welcome, Amma!

So I was Skyping with Sister the other day and she mentioned that she was exhausted because she’d spent the whole day interviewing potential guards for her new Rwandan home.

At dinner that night I said to Craig, “Honey, strangest thing. I just read that Rwanda was recently listed on Forbes’ Safest Places for Women to Visit Alone In The Whole Wide World list! Isn’t that great news?” Then I told him about how tired Sister was from all the guard hiring.

Craig ignored the exciting fake Forbes news and said, “Hon, If Rwanda is so safe, why does Sister need to hire a guard?”


I ran upstairs after dinner, Skyped Sister back and said, HEY! If Rwanda is so safe why do you need to hire a guard, anyway??

Sister said, “Well, there’s really no violent crime here, but there is theft, so every compound has a guard on the premises so the house never appears vacant. But it’s mostly for show. The guards don’t even have arms.”


Now over the past few months I have learned that there is a lot about Africa that I just don’t understand. And I have finally accepted the fact that just because something doesn’t make sense to me, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. And so I keep my mouth shut a lot. But I draw the line at armless guards.

“SISTER, WHAT THE HELL? WHAT is your lovely guard going to do if someone DOES try to break in? Bite him? Kick him? Give him a really dirty look? Why don’t you just guard yourself, Sister? At least you have ARMS!!”

Sister was very quiet for a moment.

Then she said slowly. “Um. I meant guns, Sister. The guards do have actual arms, they just don’t carry guns.”

My turn to be a little quiet.

Oh, I said. Ohhhh. Right. I thought maybe it was some sort of “armless affirmative action” program. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, Sister. I mean, if that were the case, I would totally support that program.

I know you would, G, said Sister. I know you would.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  26 Responses to “Up in Arms”

  1. That is conversation is SO perfectly happy! So, are you really going to visit Mandy? I hope you do! You need to write about a developing nation for us, just so we can get all fired up and outside of our little American world. So we can change the world. Wow, I really am ambitious, aren't I? Well, ambitious for you, at least!

  2. The only thing I can think of is Monty Pyton. But set in Rwanda.


  3. Great story, Glennon! You continue to crack me up!

  4. okay, love the story. So Glennon! Love the Amelia Bedelia comment as well. That was great!

  5. MEL!

    I always wanted to call you Mel, but I worried you might find it too familiar. But now I shall.

    Mel,Mel, Mel.

    All of you make me laugh. Just love hearing from you guys. And I keep wishing I had an elderly guard with a bathrobe and zebra cowboy hat on my front porch right now.


  6. G, you are Amelia Bedelia.

    with designer jeans.

    and better bangs.


  7. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl, are you insane? Just kidding. I think it's great and wow, what an adventure. Don't forget your flip flops. You can throw them at intruders to divert their attention if you ever have any. They fly through the air really fast like a frisbee.


  8. Glennon, I am sooooooooooooooooo excited that you are going to Rwanda…and a bit jealous too! Africa has been on my "list" for a very long time. I can't wait to live vicariously through you! YAY!!!!

  9. Couples with three kids do make out ridiculously often. Yup. They do. I'm going to keep telling myself that. Can I come to Rwanda with you???

  10. great story :)

  11. Great story — thanks for the laugh!! I hope Rwanda is in your very near future, arms or none.

    Your story reminded me of the "guard" at the school I visited in Sudan. They were so pleased to have him, yet he was an elderly 80 year old wearing bathrobe and pimp-like zebra print cowboy hat. Safety first!

  12. Thanks for the comic relief this morning!

  13. I'm on the laughing boat about the 3 kids! Waiting on the money, and my husband is waiting on the other thing! (TMI?)
    Hilarious about the arms thing…my husband would ask me how I get around by myself; in fact, he asks me that all the time!

  14. Arms! Cracking up! (and I agree that couples with 3 children making out ridiculously often is even funnier!)

  15. I keep listening to When the Sand Runs Out by Rascal Flats this morning.

    Such a good song. Reminds me of you guys.

  16. Classic!

  17. Like Kristi said, my favorite part is that couples with three kids make out ridiculously often. That's weeeeeird. Pete told me the same thing. But, he elaborated. Couples with 3 kids make out ridiculously often, b/c husbands get a vasectomy. Did I say that out loud?

    Glad to see you smiling.

  18. I had to come back and tell all you Monkees to go see what Monkee Joey is doing on her drawing-a-day! It is truly amazing what a gift she has! Check it out!

  19. Oh, G, I love you!

  20. Jen M-

    This story is from when she hired that very same lovely couple.

    I'm going to ask her to write a post for us soon to get us all caught up on her life over there!

  21. Ok so I have to ask. What happened to the lovely couple that were hired originally to the guard and cook?

  22. I don't know which part is more fun ~ your thinking her guard would have no arms, or that couples with three kids make out ridiculously often.

    xoxo ~ kristi

  23. First, to you and Sister: Please stop being so flippin' gorgeous already! You both have so many beams of light coming out of you that I can't stand it!!! Just kidding. Beams of light are amazing and they make everyone shiney and colored like rainbows. Love it.

    I told my husband once that I wanted to go to Rwanda to see the Mountain Gorillas and he told me if we did that he would be forced to buy 4 guns to take with us, which is completely against my no guns rule. He's not even allowed to keep his air-soft gun on the property.

    I'm not sure why he thinks mountain gorillas will need guns.

  24. Oh my gosh, SLM. That is so amazing. The sacrifices military families make blow my mind. Christmas song tapes! How precious!

    Craig reads it all, but it's okay, he knows I'm a big liar.

  25. You do know Craig reads the blog? Somehow I think your Rwanda statistic won't help. (Smile) Seriously, I'm glad you two are able to Skype. Technology is so great. A lot of my young friends are military families separated by depoloyment. They "talk" all the time via cell phone and computers. When my dad was in Viet Nam we would make Christmas song tapes (on a reel to reel) in AUGUST to send out so he'd get it in time. It was surreal.

    Love you and love that you're allowing yourself lighter moments. That's what living on the Bay was supposed to be about. Heal. Heal. Laugh. Love.

  26. HAHAH you goof!

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