Monday, November 2, 2009

C'est L'halloween!

Sunday November 1, 2009


It’s November. I left in August. I’m sitting in a room at St. Paul’s in Kigali, listening to the rain and looking at the valley and a papaya tree outside my window, thinking about the last two months. I was on the plane over Kenya thinking “How will I be away for an entire year?” I suppose this way: one taxi-velo ride at a time….


After waking up Friday to no water leak, I took a slow morning of wonderful Rwandan coffee, not so wonderful Rwandan bread, did a few things – like giving two heads of cabbage to my neighbours! – and caught the bus to Kigali. Never mind that I ask, specifically, if I was catching an 11:15 am BIG bus and what turned up was a flea ridden mini-bus. But, I got the front seat and so the journey was much more comfortable that if I had to stuff my backpack and suitcase in with me. I had more stuff because I won’t be back to Kibungo until next Saturday. I have In Country Training this week here and so I packed enough things to keep me clothed and entertained while in Kigali. Then threw in my IPod and enjoyed the scenery. School just let out. We haven’t been in schools lately because they were all in exams and training will really start in November. It was cute to see all the children showing each other their report cards on the walk home. Some things are universal! I arrived in Kigali just before the rain clouds and made it to VSO for a 2pm meeting of Basic Methodology Trainers. I am still unclear of the purpose of the meeting except we discussed budgets for training for now until next March. Oh – and it was nice to see everyone.


Christine, Karen and I decided we’d spend Friday night in Karen’s village. She lives in the Southern Province in the Muhanga District (the district of my second offer for Rwanda…) in a village called Shoygwe. After the meeting we rushed and caught the last express bus out of town and arrived in Gitarama in time for some dinner. We went to a night club and ordered Omelette Special (omelet with veggies, meat and fries in it – AMAZING), had a few drinks and listened to Gitarama’s best karaoke performers. It was about 9:30 when we decided to catch motos to her village. So, it’s cold (no more than 15 degrees) in the mountains of the south and it’s foggy but we hop on and sail down the mail road at a clip I’m comfortable with. Then we turned off the main road on to the a dirt (read: mud) road and continue at the same said clip. The drivers were swerving to avoid puddles and mud and swerving back to avoid edge of the road. It was too foggy to really see much for the first while but we hung on and then….stopped. There was some miscommunication over the price because they thought we only wanted to pay 500 because they heard cinq cent when we said sept cent. Okay, communication cleared up and we continue on into the middle of nowhere when Karen tells the motos to stop near her house. One refused, at first, to give Christine the proper change to she hopped back on the moto until he agreed! I guess, she decided if he’s charge her an extra hundred, she’s at least get her money’s worth! Shoygwe is a village….well…..I’m not sure about that. There are a few houses and a few schools. And probably a church but it was dark so I didn’t see it.


We spent such as nice relaxing evening and morning though. It was umaganda the next day so – “unfortunately”, we couldn’t do anything but sit around, listen to music and drink coffee. Ah, life is tough. In order to catch a bus back to town we decided to take a taxi-velo back to the main road. Okay, Karen decided. Her words were “You can’t come to Shoygwe without getting the shit scared out of you by a taxi-velo!” For my non French speaking friends “Velo” is a word for bicycle and so taxi velo is just that….paying some to drive you on the back of the bike. Not so scary when they are going up hill but down hill….whoooo hooooo!!!!


We arrived in Kigali in time to do some shopping – I bought my Halloween costume and a shirt for work – ate dinner and got ready for Tom, Sarah and Christaine’s Halloween Party. Originally I was going to dress up as Jason – not from the movie but as the VSO bird watcher extraordinaire. In the end, I didn’t. There were some great costumes. I still asking myself where one finds angel wings in Kigali! As you can from the pictures, we had a great time. 

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