Today was a little challenging. I was at the office at 10 and by 12:30 my scheduled appointment still had not arrived. I met another VSO who took me downtown with her and I had lunch with three new friends. As it is unclear whether or not my house is ready, I am in limbo at the Guest House in Kigali. Most of my attempts to "get things done" have been laughable. I think the challenge lies in the fact that most volunteers arrive together and therefore figure things out amongst themselves. I do not have that luxury. So after lunch, I headed out to find a replacement phone (the one I bought Friday has ceased to function). I'm pretty sure I got ripped off but having no phone is unacceptable around here. I might try and return the damaged phone at some point but we'll see. I also need to get household equipment like pots and pans/blankets/pillow/jerrycans but doing that without a driver to bring them home is impossible. My next task was setting up a bank account. I went to the bank to try and set one up. The letter VSO had given me was not sufficient and after waiting 45 minutes in line to get to the teller was told that I couldn't set up an account. At this point I'm on my own in downtown Kigali, there are ominous gray clouds overhead and my only choices to get back home are taxi (expensive), bus (can't find the bus stop) or mototaxi (looks like suicide on wheels). Feeling pretty overwhelmed, I find the nearest African gift shop so that I can buy myself a little trinket to lift my spirits. I don't see anything I like except lots of ceramic turtles (I have too many turtle things as it is) so I leave the shop. Getting harassed on the street is commonplace and I think it's wearing on me a bit. I was feeling quite low and then.. "Rebecca?" I turn around and there is Victor- the charming "businessman" kid I met yesterday on my walk to the Amahoro Stadium. He is selling batik (artwork that his brother has made such as postcards and maps) with a friend. I have to say, seeing Victor and chatting with him absolutely made my day. It made me wonder, had I waited to try again at the bank, had I gotten right into a taxi or lingered longer at the store- would our paths have crossed?
I get a text from my morning appointment that he will meet me now at the office. I hail a mototaxi driver and remind him "Slow, slow, slow" and put on the helmet he gives me with a cracked faceshield. I think my eyes were closed for the first few minutes of the trip. I was torn between looking and not looking as we weaved in and out of traffic and over speedbumps and potholes. It was quite the ride. When we arrived, I dismounted and my legs were like jell-o. It is highly unlikely that I will learn to ride one of these myself !
So I head back to the office to meet my appointment, wait about 20 minutes and he doesn't show. It's 5pm. I decide enough is enough and head home. Altogether I'm not sure what I accomplished today. I'm glad I have a working phone, I'm glad to have met Victor again (I bought four of his brother's postcards- a sure "pick me up" souvenir !) and I met three new VSO friends. Maybe all in all it was a productive day. I skyped with Leah and David and then went out around 8:30pm to find dinner. Amazingly American Pie 2 was on at the restaurant- in kinyarwanda !! Last I heard my house still isn't ready- my curiosity has peaked.
Tomorrow I will attempt once again to head into town and get my much needed supplies and try again at the bank- but I think this time I'll travel by bus :)