I’ve just finished reading Baking cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin. It was one of those books that I wanted to hold for a bit when I finished. To sit quietly and soak it all in.
I keep picking the book up and flicking through it. Reading a paragraph or two and feeling emotional. Some paragraphs make me grin and others so thankful that I live in a peaceful country. But they all make me feel something.
Angel Tungaraza – mother, cake baker, keeper of secrets – a woman living on the edge of chaos, finding ways to transform lives, weave magic, and create hope amid the madness swirling all around her – Publisher
Baking Cakes in Kigali is set six years after Rwanda’s genocide of 1994. As Angel bakes each cake she touches on the the subtle story of reconsiliation in a country recovering from horror. As a pillar of the community, Angel bakes the cakes and mends the hearts.
The engaging characters let us into their lives to experience their customs and relationships with humanity and humour. All the while Angel weaves connections and brings the community together and fills us with hope.
Gaile Parkin lived in Africa, including Rwanda, where she counselled women and girl survivors.
Snippets I loved …
She cut him another thick slice (of cake) and he held out his plate to receive it without offers needing to be made or accepted.
‘There is no shame in a mad shedding tears. If a man doesn’t cry when he needs to, those tears that have not been cried out can bil in his body until he explodes like one of the volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains.’
When at last they returned to the vehicle, they brought with them a deep and impenetrable silence.
‘All the feelings inside me flodded out onto the page. They went from my heart to the pen without passing through my head.’
The degree to which her skirt strained across her buttocks and thighs already told her as much as she wanted to know. Why should she pay a hundred francs to stand on that scale and find out a number that would only add to the weight that she carried?
Then this about the children who live in the skip …
‘When I opened the lid to put the rubbish inside, a voice there spoke to me and hands grabbed the rubbish from me.’
‘Eh, the mayibobo are back.’ A group of street children sometimes slept in the skip at night. She went into the kitchen and filled the rice-pot with water to soak overnight, thinking as she did that the few grains of rice that cling obstinately to the bottom and the sides of the pot would probably seem like a big meal to one of the mayibobo outside in the skip.
Big hearted Angel fried up some onions and gave the meal to the security guard to give to the children.
‘When they are finished, the bowl must come back to me. I’ll wait here.’
I loved every insite from this vibrant and chaotic world. I’m just begining her next book When Hoopoes go to Heaven.
I’m waiting for the next book in the series to arrive When Hoopoes go to Heaven by Gaile Parkin. Hurry please Mr Postman!