This morning I was in Kamonyi quite early (7am) and after mounting the moto (yes they require a specific mount/dismounting mastery) the driver hit a bump and literally used the term "Ooh La La". Cracked me up big time :) Among other charming moments of the past few days, I brought badminton to the neighbourhood kids. Fils, the boy I told you about in the last blog, momentarily resembled a typical ten year old boy. The creased forehead disappeared and was replaced by giggling and a wide smile. He was quite a pro too ! After that, it was rocket balloons. There were maybe 20 kids in total and watching them watch the balloons zip across the sky, was worth the 3 dollars the balloons cost.
I keep seeing things on the bus and thinking, I should blog about it but then forgetting to. Like, in the trees, are man-made beehives. They are rolled up like bundles of wood and then placed very high. They're everywhere. Also, most trees have have their bark stripped off. Just an observation. The level of CO2 emissions here is incredible. Dark, black puffs of exhaust from trucks, buses and motos combined with dirt being stirred up from the unpaved road makes breathing interesting some days. It's really humid right now too. I'm sure it'll improve in the rainy season.
I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new volunteer who will work in my district. The dynamics of the office, my commute and my workplan will all change from it being just me to being part of a mini-team. I am excited about this. The Italian leaves on Friday. They've paved the main road in Gitarama with tarmac. I received my first letter from London, Ontario from one of my favorite former students ! What a nice treat ! We had the first annual Gitfest on Saturday (Gitarama Festival) and everyone had to dress up in costumes acquired from the market. I went as a hippie. There are photos tagged on Facebook. Our water returned this morning after ONE WEEK of having no water. I've met a South African guy who works with JAM (another NGO) and he has running water so I took advantage and borrowed the shower there.
I'm beginning to get a bit of a travelling bug. I hear stories from people who have been to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, even Ethiopia and think perhaps I can plan some trips too. I will keep you posted.
The weekend after next I have been invited to two weddings. One is a guy from the guest house I lived in the first month I was here, Emmanuel. In other news, Fulgence (remember I watched his law dissertation at ULK?) lost his sister on Saturday- she drowned in Lake Kivu. It is terribly sad however his friend Theo (also a guest house employee) just had a baby girl with his wife. It was a bad news, good news kind of day.
I have started running. I think the fact that I waited a few months to get acclimitized was a good idea. The runs here are planned based on which route will draw the least amount of gawkers. I try to run early in the morning as it's cooler. This is all a plan to get ready for Kili in November.
On the work front, I am on my way this afternoon to Nyamata to help another VSO with her Primary Methodology Training Workshops. It will be extremely helpful to me also. Unicef wrote a very kind letter to the VSO Office singing our praises and I have also passed my resume along to the Director for future consideration. OH ! I found a New England Patriots T-Shirt for 2 dollars in the market. Awesome ! And I have discovered chocolate ice cream for 1 dollar here in Kigali- there's hope yet...
Little things continue to irk me though, like the cap of my hand soap dispenser won't pump, or the domestic making food enough for 6 when it's just me (I hate the idea of wasting food), I have worn a hole straight through the heel of my only sandals, moto drivers and ladies in the market still feel inclined to rip the "muzungu" off with extortionate prices, our power cuts sometimes interfere with things like cooking or cut in the middle of Kerry's surprise party on Monday night so the laptop dies and there's no music and day to day household maintenance can (if you let it) occupy most of the day. I have laundry down to a science (it's a Saturday morning activity). I still hate the food here. Three neighbours yesterday solicited me for a) food b)money to finance the opening of her store and c) my English Language/Kinyarwanda book. Caterpillars are my new nemesis- DID YOU KNOW THEY BITE? And the other night ( no joke! ) there was a dog, or possibly werewolf, outside my gate, growling viciously for about an hour. I swear he must've shred a goat or something in the process or was suffering major irritability. We have bats too. They are just squeaky, I thought at first they were rats and I'm actually relieved because I think I prefer bats to rats.
Well, I'll leave you with some funny questions I've gotten recently.
"Do your freckles hurt?"
And then there's Bruce's classic encounter of a student asking him this existential question:
"Why am I?"
I like this one of me saying to the kids I'd be right back as I returned to the house to get more balloons mid-play yesterday and Peter yells after me: "Run!"
And on the shortcut route to the main road from my house, there is an older lady I pass who is always sitting on her mat, sometimes preparing food or working on handicraft. I have tried to engage her in conversation using my Kinya/French/English/Charades combo and she looks at me and laughs hysterically. It's not in a manner that makes me feel embarassed. I feel like I'm her days entertainment. She has such a grand belly laugh and I wonder, with the location of her house being hidden away along this path, perhaps I'm a little welcome distraction for her. Either way, I love it.
Maybe the highlight of the week would be having little Rhia sit on my lap and try to pick at my sparkly nailpolish, after I had decided that spinning was a fun game I had needed to sit down for a moment to gather myself :) I really hope to acquire more Kinyarwanda because my experiences with the kids are so limited by my lack of language. They don't speak French, or have only had a year or so in school. Charades come in handy. I have learned to say "You are my friend" and "May God bless you".
Well, off to find a bus to Nyamata. Would love to hear how everyone is doing at home. Can you believe it's almost August ?!!