Entries "October 2006":

Tuesday, 31 October 2006

End of term

This will be the 3rd time that I'v trid to update the blog loss of connection and other intrrruptions hve wiped my words of the screen and I've given up in disgust!

This is th 1st day of holidays and I've been to collect electogaz bill but didn't feel my elbows were sufficiently sharpened to cope with the mass of aggressive queueuers so came to internet instead.

Tomorrow I go to work with Annemeic to prepare for her 2 workshops later in November on making language teaching more interactive.

A few of us are planning to go to Gisenyi  for the weekend and the I'm going East for a few days.

The last school trip went very well -we played with clay at a pottery and once again visitd the kings palaces  old and new in Nyanza. The big event of the last few weeks was the Deaf Conferece. Thanks to the Ugandan Deaf who came to help it all went very smoothly, more or less according to time with lots of interaction and the elections wer so transpparent and fair Iwas amazed!

The sign Language project was officialy launched with media there  I've met a few people who've said they say me on telvision!!  that was before the gathering degnerated  with some Deaf getting very drunk and refusing to leave!!

Ruth, the new volunteer, is getting all geared up to start the Sign Languag research. 

She and I took the 2ndary  students out for a meal last week which was great fun as they piled their plates and then signed enthusiastically across the tables to the amazement of other customers!!

We had the final of the Football competition on Thursday  and I'm to meet the 3 teachers who were involved, for a drink tonight. One of them has ben preparing banana leaf cards which I'm bringing home to sell.

Some of us went for a picnic on Sunday in the arboretum of the University  - no one else there - it was very peaceful in the bamboos!!


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Posted by: Antonia    in: My travelblog
Sunday, 08 October 2006

Anther week in Rwanda

A quick update  - this has been a good week with some fun english lessons - cooking - a bit of science - how quickly does ice melt in the sun? continuing to make the library a good place in which to read and work, a visit form Lawrence the volunteer from Gahini whose 30th birthday party everyone went to last November, trying out the new local bar restaurant - which we have decided to call the RED LION - for no particular reason and a gruelling but satisfying day yesterday. Ruth and I took 10 deaf students to an orpanage to teach the house mothers basic sign language.

the students were marvellous - very encoouraging and endlessly patient but they were a bit dismissive of the older people who had trouble getting their fingers to form the signs, especially the letters. We were given a great reception - free fantas and brochettes and fried bananas at lunch time and it was great fro the Deaf orphans to see grown up Deaf people who could really communicate with them.

Have had a lazy day today lunch at the Credo Hotel - where we watched others swim but didn't take the plunge ourselves.

I'm beginning to put together a vague itinerary for my visit home - am very much looking forward to seeing everyone in the flesh - I look at all my photographs nearly every day.

Another school trip is planned for Thursday - it is to be with one of my favourite classes so I hope will go well!

The new bar is in the building that used to house the International Red Cross and is only 5 mins walk from my house - so could be a great temptation - but not for a quick bite - it's the usual hour long wait for whatever you order to eat - happily drink comes almost immediately!

The rains have sort of started but are not very satisfactory - only a few downpours and already people are saying "Oh it's too late to plant the beans".

Cathie has brought me chick peas which she can buy in her part of the country. My new Domestique refuses to accept that they are not "petit pois" - just like split peas but take for ever to cook - she won't have it that they should be soaked over night - so I think I shall have to hide them or my electricity bill will be through the roof ans she cooks them for hours!!

Or I shall have to make hommos which I can now do as Jessica gave me her blender and I can get tahini from the Labanese at the local shop.Such culinary treats!

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Posted by: Antonia    in: My travelblog
Sunday, 01 October 2006

Many miles and a few drinks later

Since I last wrote up this blog I have been on 2 more school trips.The first to Nyanza to visit the traditional great grass hut lived in by the last King(Mwami's) grandfather - quite spectacular screens and woven ceiling - I'm pleased with the pics I took which I'll bring home. We also saw the modern house built for him by the Belgians - the best things here were the fireplaces. Then a visit to the milk factory where one of the teachers had a brother in law working - half an hour of the usual hanging about and I was initially told that photoraphy was interdit but I remonstrated and said that we had our own perfectly satisfactory pasturising plants in UK and that photos were for educational purposes only. The children were a bit bemused by all the pipes but delighted with the free yoghurt that was dispensed.

After a melange at a local restaurant, we went to the palace built by the King for himself which was quite a fine building in a wonderful position and........ it was full of pictures!!! I was so excited I neally cried - ART and some of it was good - all Rwandan artists with some predictable subjects - Reconciliation, Resurrection Genocide- but the children were fascinated and really looked at all the pieces with amazement. there were sculptures too.

The second trip was a big bus with 4 classes plus teachers all the way to Kibuye - too far and not that great to my way of thinking - I became very fed up with being ignored except when it came to paying or taking photographs!! but I think the teachers loved it and we did go in a boat  round some of the islands which was pretty exciting for everyone.

A real Rwandan moment on the way - we stopped to vist a Genocide memorial - where an entire congregation of people taking refuge in a large church had been buried alive by bulldozers knocking the church down. Everyone got out of the bus and went to walk about in sombre mood and lost in personal reflection. The children totally unsupervised got bored and returned to the bus where they let off the fire extinguisher - clouds of billowing dust and some very shaken pupils greeted the anxious teachers and a poor traumatised woman who had rushed at me with little cries of delight and many kisses - she wanted to come with us and looked utterly crushed as we drove off. At Kibuye some of the teachers swam while the wretched children wilted in the sun and complained of hunger as their teachers disported themselves with shouts to me of "photo photo"

I went to Kigali yesterday for a big joint birthday party given by at least 3 vols - masses of food - lashings of drink and dancing. It was great to see nearly all the vols old and new - I made vague plans to meet up with Inga in Wales over the new year - how strange.

Work wise - the cooking goes on and I've just started doing a bit of English with the older girls - they are so excited and seem to be catching on really well - I should have started months ago - in fact I'm now beginning to see all the things I should have done and all the things I should not have done and to be quite cross with myself.

It has been fun getting to know the new vols and to making a few plans with Ruth who is to work on the Sign Language project and is based at the secondary school where the deaf pupils go if they pass the vital exam at the end of Primary. they love her as she is young - about the same age as some of them and pretty and very engaging and is learning Rwandan Sign very fast.

Last Sunday we took a picnic and a bottle of wine to share with Maggie, a new vol who has a huge house just by the prison in Gikongoro. A perfect place for the next party!!

In just over 8 weeks I'll be back and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone, having some roast beef and all the trimmings and eating a choc bar! And having a few glasses of decent wine!


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Posted by: Antonia    in: My travelblog