Wednesday, April 27, 2011

General update

Yes, I know I've been delinquent on here! I've just posted blogs dating back to my South Africa vacation in February. Life has been sometimes hectic and sometimes so slow I read entire books in single days, but my honest excuse for not blogging is a mix between laziness/demotivation and lack of electricity. As of last week I have electricity, so that excuse is gone. The laziness and demotivation stemmed from a bit of a mid-service slump: on the heels of lovely South Africa, with my counterpart's position empty and no movement from Peace Corps on my nutrition grant submission, it was sometimes hard to figure out what exactly I'm doing here and why giving up another whole year of my life was worth it.

I'm over that now, excited (if not quite energized) for my second year of service. A new counterpart has been hired, work with ecoclubs and the continuation of my household surveys and needs assessment is imminent. My nutrition project is going forward, as well as potential collaboration on family planning, anti-AIDS and anti-SGBV (sexual and gender based violence) clubs with the health center titulaire. A new group of health trainees is coming and I'll be helping out a little with training (the lucky trainees - they get homestays!). And perhaps most importantly, I love my village, my friends and neighbors, my soccer girls, my garden. I have a few complaints - the perpetual mold problem and the fact that some teenage girls in the village seem to think my sole purpose in life is purveyor of nail polish. C'est la vie, buhoro buhoro. The anniversary of my becoming a PCV is a week away. Let year two begin!


Here are some links I’ve been collecting for the past few months. It’s a bit disorganized, sorry!

Finally, a fellow PCV wrote this great blog post on problems in Rwanda, I highly recommend reading it:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

South Africa redux: medevac

On April 4 I returned to South Africa thinking I was there for a root canal, which cannot be performed in Rwanda. When the dentist (who's worked on Bono!) took a look, it turned out no root canal needed - but he did have to repair some shoddy dental work done in Rwanda. Aside from the dental appointments, it was basically a second vacation to South Africa. I enjoyed many of the same foods, still marvelled at drinknig tap water and taking hot showers with pressure, and brought even more varieties of cheese back to Rwanda at the end of the ten days.

Partly because I'd told them about my vacation in February, I couldn't bring myself to tell my village I'd gone too South Africa to have my tooth problem addressed. People in my village were aware of the problem and knew I was having trouble, for example, eating corn. Their suggestions for this ranged from having the tooth/teeth pulled to theorizing that my wisdom teeth must be coming in (my wisdom teeth are long gone). I just could not figure out how to explain to a village full of extremely poor people, many of whom have never even been to Kigali and whose only recourse for toothaches is rudimentary extraction, that I went to South Africa on an airplane because of a toothache, all expenses paid. The inequalities there boggled my mind.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maybe don't rely on DHL in Cyangugu, Rwanda

I was in Cyangugu all week for my mid-service training. Spotted this near the border with Congo.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lake Burera

I got to spend some time at Lake Burera, in the north of Rwanda. The area has a gorgeous crater lake with views of the volcanoes and an impressive Partners in Health hospital.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Racial profiling and bus security

As I was getting on the bus to leave Gisenyi, I noticed a uniformed secuirty guard with a metal detector wand. He was sticking the wand in passengers' bags before they could enter the bus. The bags, being full of keys and cell phones and other assorted non-bomb metal goods, made the metal detector beep like crazy, and then the security guard would wave the passenger onto the bus. At no point did he look into the bags to investigate the source of the beeping. Just another example of someone here doing something that looks good but is actually entirely pointless or ineffective! However, I'd bet most Rwandans don't know what the wand is or how it works; maybe they think it would do something other than beep frantically if there were a bomb. So perhaps it is effective deterence.

I was waved on without being subjected to the frantically beeping metal detector. Racial profiling at work!

Unscheduled delay

En route from my village to Gisenyi.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

South Africa!

I had a fantastic vacation to South Africa from February 12-26. I went for the U2 concerts but was awed by the amazing cheap food and amenities such as potable tap water. To relate the vacation to my time in Rwanda, I figure a list of everything I ate in South Africa should convey just what I’ve been deprived of after a year in Rwanda. Although it probably won’t be as exciting to the average blog reader!
sushi x3, haagen dazs x3, other ice cream/gelato x3, falafel & hummus x2, fruit (grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, cantaloupe, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi), cheese (haloumi, parmesan, brie, blue, feta, cheddar), a disappointing bagel & smoked salmon, pizza x4 (with great cheese!), greek, cheeseburger, burger with brie, big mac, pickles, tons of braai (bbq) meat (beef, chicken, pork, sausage, lamb, ostrich), doritos and chips and spicy cornnuts, tons of salads with goodies like cheese and olives and bacon in them, sandwich with mozerella and artichokes and other delights not found in Rwanda, heavenly chocolate mousse from the grocery store.

 It was exciting to see the Rwandan flag scroll across the giant 360 screen with other African flags during the U2 concerts!
 Bye U2! See you in 2015?
 South Africa is truly the land of opportunity: Ice for Africa and Pizza from a vending machine!

Me at a very windy Cape of Good Hope!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dusiga! Dusiga! My unlicensed backyard nail salon

Ever since my family visited, bringing with them a selection of colorful nail polish, I have been greeted by most of the village children with cries of “dusiga, dusiga”: “let’s paint, let’s paint." Sometimes I do their nails as they squeeze their hands through holes in my fence. Both girls and boys: equal opportunity nail painting. If I have time and they're a small group, I invite them to sit in my backyard on a straw mat, giving them play-dough or crayons along with a manicure.

It's taken a few play-dough sessions, with me suggesting they make things like cabbage, chappati, donuts, and modeling my haphazard cow and sandal and tea-cup making skills, but they've finally gotten creative: a person in a chair, trees, spoons and forks in addition to a variety of soaps, carrots, candies, gums, and other common items they stack up to "sell." Score one for imagination!

Visitor Stats

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by 2009

Back to TOP