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Monday, 14 July 2008

The past couple of weeks have been agony as we get down to the wire and wait every minute for Elson's phone to ring with news that his visa has come.  It is now action time and I have contacted VSO to pay for my flight and cancel Elson's because his visa did not come today.  I will be back next Tuesday or Wednesday.  I'm afraid I don't feel as excited about it as I should just now as I'm so angry at immigration and disappointed that Elson won't be coming with me.  F&*k!

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Written by: cathie78
Monday, 07 July 2008

the end is near

Well the end is near, just how near is not quite clear. 

VSO is booking tickets today, I think.  But they are subject to change as we still have not received notice of Elson's visa.  They asked for his passport more than 3 weeks ago and we hope that he'll get news this week.  If not, I'll have to change the tickets.  

I'm not working, sort of packing and tying up a few loose ends.  Last week Elson and I went to Bushara Island, Lake Bunyoni in Uganda for a couple of nights.  Very nice.  We stayed in these safari tents and they had this wonderful contraption for the shower.  Every morning a woman would come with a jerry can of hot water on her head and climb up this ladder to dump the water in a big metal cannister with a shower head and valve attached to it.  YOu turn the valve and the water comes out of the shower head.  Brilliant.  We ate good food, lounged around the island watching the otters swim in the lake and sat by the fire in the evenings.  A much recommended and very affordable place.

We then spend two nights at Elson's parents' house.  The nieces are all growing up.  Martine and Gentille are starting to talk, especially Martine who is like a little parrot.  I also likened her to a rabbit during those couple of days for her habit of picking flowers, ripping off the petals and popping the centre into her mouth for a little snack.  Elson's parents now have a post box so that we can send them letters and packages from Canada.  

After that it was off to Gisenyi for three nights.  It was wonderfully relaxing and so nice to spend a last weekend in Gisenyi with Antonia and Annemiek.  We reminisced about our first trip 2 and a half years ago... Elson was there too... when we walked from Gisenyi to Rubona and the hot springs.  We visited the hot springs again and spent a whole day moving from one restaurant to another around the bay.  It was a great weekend and I bought lots of things at the 'atelier de poupees" in town.  

See you soon. . . I promise to post when i KNOW.


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Written by: cathie78
Wednesday, 28 May 2008


I remember as a small child sitting in church with my mother, turning around in the pew, legs tucked up under me and having a good long stare at the woman behind me with the high hair.  I also distinctly remember my mother poking me in the ribs, telling me in a clipped whisper to turn around because it was rude to stare at people.  Disappointed, I turned around to continue the colouring job I was doing on the church program.  It was disappointing because, truth be told, I enjoyed staring.  Another difficult lesson learned in church was that, even though the nice old ladies brought candies in their purses for the express purpose of giving it to children like me, I was not allowed to ask for it.  The years went by and I learned that not only was it rude to stare and ask for candy, it was also rude to belch (another disappointing one for me), ask strangers personal questions, scratch certain parts of the body in public, tell someone they look fat, ask them why they don't have any children or how much money they make.  I became a fully-functioning member of Canadian society.  Then I moved to Rwanda.  I learned that it was rude to whistle, eat in public and speak to someone without greeting them first.  I also learned that it was fine to stare, ask for candy, belch, ask strangers personal questions, scratch certain parts of the body in public, tell someone they look fat, ask them why they don't have any children and how much money they make.  So there mom!  I stopped whistling (I wasn't very good at it anyway), became very discrete about eating wherever I was, greeted everyone I met.  That was easy.  Learning that it's ok to do something that you've been told not to do your whole life takes more time... but I can say today that I freely belch, stare, tell people they look fat and ask why they don't have any children.  The scratching is still disconcerting to me and I won't ask people how much money they make for fear they ask the same question in return but I'm well on my way to becoming a fully-functioning member of Rwandan society.  But guess what?  I'm going back to Canada soon.  So please, my friends and family , try to be patient with the belching and staring and I promise not to say you look fat!


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Written by: cathie78
Thursday, 15 May 2008

Click Click Click input information click click click In Process click We started processing your application for permanent residence on February 20th.  Logout.

This is my life these days.  Following by click click password click job search click nothing.  

It seems to be an endless wait for Elson's immigration and an equally frustrating wait for jobs to be posted on the Peel website.  It was better when I only had internet connection once every two weeks, then I could forget about it.  Now I click in hope constantly.   

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Written by: cathie78
Monday, 21 April 2008

I have been so very busy disengaging myself from Rwanda as the time to go home draws nearer that I feel that it's worth reflecting over the things I will truly miss when I go home.  I will miss the way that my body naturally wakes up at sunrise every morning because it's pretty much the same all year long.  As frustrating as it can be, I will miss the ease with which one can just say "tomorrow" when things don't get done today.  I will miss the beautiful hills that change colours with the seasons.  I will miss being in bed when the rain comes like a train passing overhead.  I will miss volunteers who pass the night, I will miss passing the night at other volunteers' houses.  I will miss long mornings over porridge setting the world to right; being able to walk to the nearest shop, to work, to the market; making friends with people I would otherwise have never met.  I will miss speaking Kinyarwanda, East African music, hearing choirs singing in the distance, maracuja juice.  I will miss the babies and children I see everywhere and the expressions on their faces when they see me walking by.  I will miss negociating in the market, buying clothes that I probably donated to charity years ago.  I will miss the friends that I have made, both Rwandan and not.  I will miss my Rwandan family - I mean my in-laws but also my surrogate family in Rwanda (Antonia, Annemiek, Han and Mans - you have been as close as family and as dear as friends).  As I prepare to leave and feel happy to be going home, I cannot deny that leaving will be hard, really hard.  I'm not really sure how to live in Canada anymore and I'm leaving behind a lot but I will be taking many happy, sad, hilarious, touching and meaningful memories with me.

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Written by: cathie78
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