Friday, June 4, 2010

Checking in

A few notes:

1. I got a postbox in Gisenyi, so my mailing address has changed:
Trude (last name)
B.P. 304
Gisenyi, Rwanda, East Africa
I’ve updated my contact info page accordingly. I’d love packages – especially with food. Nuts, dried fruit, candy (rease’s pieces), canned treats (jalepenos, peaches)… Also magazines (New Yorker, Atlantic, etc) and new movies and whatever else might surprise me. But packages aren’t necessary – I’d love mail or even just email!

2. I’ve been a Peace Corps Volunteer for one month as of tomorrow. They aren’t lying when they say there’s lots of ups and downs, often within the same day! There are countless frustrating moments, but I’m getting very good at keeping my emotions in check – and I've learned that many things that are frustrating one day might get resolved the next day, or the next week. As Rwandans say, ihangane (“ee-hahn-gahn-ay”), have patience.

Each day presents new challenges, new vocabulary, new discoveries, new confusions, new triumphs. Some days I’m pumped about my awesome coworkers and working with cooperatives, other days I’m not sure how I fit in with my assigned organization – but then I’m excited about all the other potential projects in the community. Some days I’m down on having a housemate, but then I love my neighborhood and view LINK. Particularly when I see tons of other white people, I still get bummed about not being rural and isolated, but then I love the opportunities and bustle and character of Gisenyi. Cries of “muzungu” irritate me one minute and the next I’m smiling because I’ve introduced myself and made a new neighborhood friend who’s impressed with my infantile Kinyarwanda.

I’m celebrating small victories, like when the Congolese woman who lives in one of the other two houses in my gate fed me dinner of cassava “bread” and delicious greens on Tuesday. Speaking of food, yesterday I ate a mango the size of a (slightly flattened) football (it was expensive, but well worth it). The daily views of lake Kivu and the Congo beyond, the nightly volcano show, my wonderful (and funny) coworkers, text message exchanges with my fellow volunteers, the proximity of the beach, lots of worthwhile potential projects, and never being bored: I’m mostly happy, and always happy to be here.

3. I’d like you guys to comment with your questions about Rwanda, Rwandans, or my life here. What topics should I cover in the future? Is there anything you want to see a picture of? Who’s reading this?


  1. Pictures of your house please, inside and out! As far as who is reading, I wanted to introduce my friend and former colleague, Jane Erickson. I noticed that she is in your "followers" list and I don't think you know her. She worked at Hearth for many years and recently left to move to Iowa.

  2. I saw Polly K. today and gave her your blog address, so I think you can expect her to be reading your blog soon. Helen

  3. i'm reading it! but in my g-reader so i forget that i should come here and comment! it has been super awesome so far! keep it up!

    i really like your scouting of American sports logos!

  4. I'm reading :) I haven't missed a post since you started, everything has been very interesting and well written.

    I'd like more pictures in general, of the landscape, food and I second the request of pictures of your house!

    - Rachael R.

  5. I'll try to follow through on the pictures. I have a lot of photo-essay type stuff planned but both taking the photos (I don't always want to flash my camera now that I'm at site and trying to convince people I'm not a tourist) and uploading them can be tricky. Buhoro buhoro I'll get it done!


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