Entries "April 2007":

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Spring time in Britain!

I have been back in UK for just over 2 weeks and the weather has been perfect the whole time. Spring is really here with primroses, hyacinths and latterly bluebells in bloom. The blossom is fantastic - Helen has a cherry tree that looks as though a fresh fall of snow has landed on its branches and the London parks are confections of pink and white.

I have so much enjoyed spending time with my granddaughter, Julia , who alters every day. She is very contented and good, sleeps like a little angel all night and is content to lie on her mat during the day observing what's going on around her. She smiles quite readily now and has just started to laugh. she thought that Tom talking nonsense to her in Welsh was hilarious! I am actually in charge at the moment so have to keep stopping writing for a little play and gurgle! Seeing her so happy and healthy has made all the more poignant the news that Louis, my colleague, buried his baby who had been  frail and sickly for several months, just before Easter. There is such a contrast in what we can provide for our babies here and what families in Rwanda are able to give their children.

I've stayed with friends and family in different parts of the country and altogether had a lovely time and reminded myself of the things that I miss while in Rwanda. I went to the Renoir Landscape  and Animals in War exhibitions in London and a wonderful Matisse "cut and paste"  (all those sinuous blue ladies), in Rhyl and two exhibitions of local artists work on Anglesey. While staying with Tom over Easter we went on a family trip to beautiful Stourhead. 

 I think that most people know that I have decided to stay there until July 2008 although I'm planning to come back for a few weeks in December. Although I flew back with Ethiopian Air partly because of the generous weight allowance, (45 kilos), I am already a little anxious about the amount of stuff I'm hoping to take back with me! Kate has very generously given me lots of paint and I've bought quite a few charts and dictionaries  and also unearthed several childrens' books and a couple of old tape recorders from my stores of materials in Wales.

Many people have sent contributions to the fund I have for supporting my work in Rwanda and I would like to say again how  very grateful I am for your support and interest.

 Karen and I are hoping to start a programme of education precoce, that is working with younger Deaf children and their parents at our two centres. It is so important to give children and their families language as early as possible as well as giving the parents some support and maybe encouraging them to form local groups. I hope to be able to continue with the programme of educational visits for the staff and children of the Centre and of course continue with the Art, sport and library activities.

So it's a bientot until I'm back in Rwanda, wrestling with the electogaz, wrangling with ladies in the market and and revelling in the yummy fruit and veg!

»8:41 PM    »Send entry    

Posted by: Antonia    in: My travelblog
End of Term and a Deaf fest!

The term ended with a flurry of activity. I organised a trip to Maraba coffee for volunteers, hangers on and four Deaf students to fill up the taxi bus. We spent quite a bit of time at a really interesting washing station, a bit off the main road by a stream in a very peaceful spot where mostly women were sorting coffee beans by hand. The beans were a marvellous deep red colour which looked fantastic against the baskets and later in the water whch was in  brightly coloured blue channels. the good beans sink and the ones that have been attacked by some bug float - just like good and bad eggs. When we tasted them they were surprisingly sweet and quite unlike the flavour of coffee, after it's been roasted.

We then went to the "tasting" department where the chief taster, (who turned out to be the sister of one of the teachers at my school), described how the process is run in a way very similar to wine tasting with notes made of the notes and overtones of the flavour. The coffee trade in Rwanda would like to enter the speciality coffee market.

The next day Ruth and I accompanied by a large group of Deaf students, 2 teachers and the new Directeur, (of whom more anon), went off to the orphanage run by JAM (Joint Aid Mission). Here the older students worked with the House Mothers to give them a bit more sign language and the younger ones and the teachers spent the morning with the class of Deaf children who are at JAM. We had a splendid lunch of brochettes and bananas and the afternoon saw everyone out on the field playing games. We were joined by several Deaf children from the Centre where Karen, a new volunteer works, so it was a real Deaf Fest and much enjoyed by all. I was so impressed by how good the older girls were at teaching sign language. Very calm and patient and also, unusually in Rwanda, very encouraging. Maybe some of my work has rubbed off!

Frere Alexandre has declared that he is siriritually empty and that he needed time to attend to his  inner life so he is off to France, if he can get a visa, for a year and he has been replaced by Frere Eugene - very pleasant, quite young and and, as he soesn't drivem may spend more time at the Centre than Frere A. id - he was always dashing off to Kigali or to attend to his building projects round butare or cutting grass for his cattle!!


»7:29 PM    »Send entry    

Posted by: Antonia    in: My travelblog

Modified on April 18, 2007 at 7:39 PM