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Entries "January 2006":

Saturday, 28 January 2006

What's in a name

Well as though I haven't attended enough ceremonies lately (three day wedding including dowry ceremony near Burundi),  I am planning one of my own.  No no, not a wedding...  A naming ceremony.  In Rwanda, 8 days after a baby is born, family and friends gather around to name the baby.  Each guest present at the ceremony proposes a name for the new baby and finally the parents announce the name that they have chosen.  Well.  I met some Belgian girls a while back who told me that after only a couple of months in the country, they already had Rwandan names.  I was outraged and informed a colleague that I must be named!!  He thought it was a good idea but insisted that I should organize a party and do the ceremony properly.  Thus, a committee representing my parents has been formed, a name chosen and they are simply awaiting my invitation.  I wanted to finish the home renovations first but am now ready to stock the house full of beer and fantas and be baptized as a Rwandan.  I"ll let you know the decision in the days to come.

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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog
Friday, 27 January 2006

Well shhhh it's a secret but I have just found free, fast internet access.  I'm in the research house at the National University in Butare WHERE I AM A PROFESSOR (at least I should be to use these computers).  Well as usual I'm doing fine.  I have been teaching now for two weeks which is more than I can say for almost all the other teachers at my school.  Some days it seems like I'm the only one there.  I started the year strict and gave my students all a speech entitled "My expectations".  After explaining the word "expectation", I launched into a long list of behaviours that I expect from students including such gems as "I expect students to stay awake" and "I expect students to do their OWN work".  That last one was a new concept for many of them.  I explained my definition of plagiarism and academic dishonesty (new concepts again) and told them I would give them a zero if they tried it.  I even used the phrase "this is not a threat, it's a promise".  Whew!  What got into me?  I don't know but I've got them pretty damn scared alright, which is good.  Sometimes I hear myself talking and think, "I never thought the day would come...".  Mom, I even had a moment the other day when I sounded just like you.  I was tidying up the living room after finishing painting.  I arranged the furniture, put away some papers and then cleared a shelf and told our house boy "I've cleared a shelf for you to put all your tapes and drawings"  ?????  I even told him earlier not to put his hands on the wall because he was leaving finger prints!!  Even halfway around the world I sound like my mother.  Well, I'll probably make it to the internet again tomorrow so I'll leave you in suspense about the rest of my last two weeks....


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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog
Saturday, 14 January 2006

OK  It's been a very long time since I went to Akagera Ntl Park but I think I've finally managed to upload some pictures... there's hippos!  I have hit a major bottle neck with pictures but I am trying!  I've taken so many and uploaded so few. 

I hope everyone has managed to transition back to work alright and nobody is suffering too much from S.A.D.  I will start teaching on Monday.  It took us a week to get timetables and other stuff sorted out but I think we're ready to go now.  I have a sweet timetable that I essentially created myself.  I have Fridays off!  Yea!  I definitely feel like I've hit a new  phase of this experience.  I was walking down the sandy road in Gasarenda the other day and thought to myself, I LIVE here!  This is my new HOME!  And well it didn't seem so strange.  I've started painting the main room of the house because it was a hideous green with dirt streaks and holes.  I'm in the in between phase of home renovation where you sort of wish you had never started and there seems to be no end in sight.  I'll be heading back tomorrow to attack the walls again and hopefully finish.  I've also had a couple of boys digging up the yard and planting flowers and veggies.  I have also ordered a table and chairs for the back yard.  Trying to make the place more liveable.  Our new worker is great (the last one not so much, but I don't really need to go into detail there).  He's a great cook and has a lot of initiative so let's hope this one works out.  Anyways, I don't know what else to tell you right now.  I'm doing well as usual.  I have lots of new friends (disclaimer:  none of which could replace any of you!) and sometimes when I'm hanging out with a few of them in particular, I forget that I'm white and from a different country and culture, which I have to say is a great feeling.  Let me stop rambling there and I will catch you up in a couple of weeks!  Another wedding to attend next week...

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Written by: cathie78    in: My travelblog