Just over one week ago I was welcomed with open arms into the Mutsinzi family here in Rwanda. I am now the proud big brother of three awesome kids: Shaun-8, Scott-7, and Shilo-4 (pronounced Shee-low). I feel comfortable in this household and almost feel like I am watching the progression of my own childhood through their interactions. Scott will yell at Shilo to stop doing something potentially dangerous and Shaun will yell at Scott to stop picking on Shilo. Or, Shilo will want Scott to come play with her and then once Scott does she will scream and cry because Scott is using one of her toys and Shaun will once again yell at Scott to stop picking on Shilo. For those familiar with the Weinberg family dynamics at that age, these stories might sound familiar. I see so much of Sam, Annie, and I in this family, although Scott doesn’t produce near as many tears as I did back in the day. It is fun to be the much older brother who now has the right to tell everyone what to do…Ben Weinberg’s paradise.
The whole middle child syndrome things is universally real too. On my first day in the classroom at SIT, I met our Program Coordinator, Apollon Kabahizi, and we described our family situations. I told him about my older brother and younger sister and he expressed that he was the middle of seven, ending with: “IT IS ALWAYS OUR FAULT.” Truer words have never been spoken.