Hey there! It’s been quite a while, I know. Things have been busy, electricity and charging have been scarce, and I’ve become so disconnected with the world in many ways that blogging was just far off my radar…Fortunately I did buy a radio so between BBC and Voice of America I’ve kept up to date with the bigger world news stories (BBC has spent about 90% of every broadcast talking about Egypt, so I’m up to speed, don’t worry). American Gossip and pop culture/media are probably the areas I’m most behind on.
It’s been over a month now, and I’ve been settling in at site, especially into my new home. A stone’s throw (literally, if you have a really good arm) from where I was living before, I’m now in a house all by myself, but right next to a woman and her children. The amount of space takes some getting used to, and I need to do a little more to make the place more “home-y”. So far I have taken to putting up some photos on the wall (oddly enough duct tape would not keep them stuck to the wall, so I had to nail in pieces of cardboard and then stick the photos onto that), and thanks to Ashley’s package, I now have a nice South Park calendar hanging in my room.
I’ve also been enjoying the virtues of cooking for myself, and all the food combination possibilities it affords. So far I’ve made anything from rice and potatoes to pancakes to oatmeal to pasta and tomato sauce to a salad with cabbage, carrots and tomatoes (the cabbage and tomatoes both soaked in bleach, and the carrots peeled) to eggs (of course) and even bought and cooked some meat on a market day (the market here is Monday and Friday, but Friday is the big market day and the day there is usually meat, always slaughtered that morning…It’s a little different then picking up a pound of sirloin or ground chuck at Stop and Shop or Kroger…). I was only using my kerosene stove for the first week or so but I finally got a charcoal stove and some charcoal so now I’m starting to use both (charcoal takes much longer but is much cheaper).
I’ve also begun teaching as Senior 1 students finally began their year on Feb 7th. The first week wasn’t easy, but I managed without any major setbacks, and I think the students more or less have understood what I’ve been teaching so far (let’s hope?). It’s a struggle since they’ve had very little English in primary school, but I’m optimistic that through time they will pick it up more and more. And if the plan put forth by my Headmaster is the one we stick to, I’ll have these same students in Senior 2 next year, so I’ll really be able to see their progress.
I’m also heading up English Club on Monday and Friday, which is gradually starting to take form as initial fascination with me as the new foreign muzungu teacher begins to fade, and only students who really are really interested continue attending. It’s also my only opportunity to teach S2 or S3 students, so it’s nice to get a glimpse of their ability levels.
I’m constantly bombarded with requests to teach everybody and their mother English, so it may be the case that I begin some sort of community English classes in the near future? Not quite sure, still working on navigating that whole thing.
As I sit here in Kigali, I take it as a good sign that I’m settling in and adjusting, because I’m actually thinking about my return to site as my return “home” in a way. Still, the early phase of settling in has not finished, especially because my house is still pretty furniture deficient (2 wooden chairs and a wooden table, along with a bedframe and mattress), and I’m still meeting people and asking their names again and again (or asking other people to tell me their names). Then again, nobody can pronounce my name no matter how hard they try (Rs and Ls are a real struggle here to begin with), and so I’ve started giving people a Kinyarwanda name, “Shema”, which is also easy for me to pronounce. While I still prefer when people try and use my real name, I’m much happier to hear Shema then I am to hear muzungu….
Anyway, I’ll try and put up another post sometime in the near future. Also, and most importantly maybe, I have a PO Box for people to……send me mail! No need to be shy or bashful….
The address is
Just give me a heads up if you have sent something so I know when to start checking for it! My wish list is still pretty valid if you’re really looking for ideas….
Much love to everybody and I’m sorry to all of you I’ve been out of touch with, hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk more soon. But yes, I'm still alive and chugging along here, no worries to all.