The following content is comprised of personal opinions, and in no way reflects the opinions of the Peace Corps or the U.S. Government.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Night Before Rwanda

Ok, first off, I apologize to all my die-hard fans (sarcasm...) for not posting for two whole weeks. Today is the 18th, meaning tomorrow is the 19th, the day I leave for Philadelphia, where I undertake staging before flying to Rwanda on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Here's what my two weeks have been like.

I ended work on the 8th, only to have to go back on the 13th for one last full day. I am now done with work altogether, although there are still 15 hours between now and when I leave for them to call again.

After a week of packing and recuperation, I come to find out on Friday that I have Strep Throat. Awesome. I called Patrick, the Rwandan Country Desk Attendant, among other things, and he directed me to OMS (Office of Medical Services) for some followup. Long story short, I ended up hanging out outside the doctor's office at 8am this morning until they opened, getting the forms signed and emailed to OMS, and then waiting three hours for them to decide weather or not I could go. Even shorter story, I am all better and have the green light to go!

I've now gathered all the things I am bringing in the basement. Somewhere on this post should be a picture...

Here's a list of most of the stuff:

2 pair khakis
2 pair jeans
1 pair shorts
1 pair hiking pants (zip off)
2 pair black dress pants
1 pair swim trunks
1 micro fleece sweater
1 buff
6 bandana/handkerchiefs
4 casual shirts
3 smart shirts
3 dress shirts
15 underwear
6 pair white socks
4 pair wool socks
4 pair black socks
3 white tshirts
1 gray tshirt
Black dress shoes
Brown dress shoes
Hiking shoes
Running shoes
Stretchy black bedsheets
1 pack towel
1 full length towel
1 sleepingbag
1 raincoat
1 canvas messenger bag
Nikon D50 camera plus long lenses
Insignia HD camcorder
6 2GB SD cards
3 comp notebooks
Several pens and pencils
Water bladder with drinking hose
Henry Shires Tarptent
Several ties
1 Nalgene
Spare glasses/cases
Double sided belt
Axe deodorant
Bowmore Islay Single Malt Whiskey
Ziplocks (gallon and sandwich)

Its sounds like a lot, I know. Basically, I'm allowed 2 checked bags totaling no more than 80 pounds, plus one carry-one. I haven't weighted it yet, but I'm pretty sure it'll all fit.

Tomorrow morning I'll arrive at the airport in Minneapolis at 5am for a 6:30am flight to Philadelphia. From there I will join with the 70 other Rwandan volunteers-to-be for a Wednesday night flight to Brussels with a skip down to Kigali. We'll stay in Kigali for a few days before heading out for the training facility.

Tonight is chalk full. One of my dad's neighbor's leads a cub scout den and asked me to speak to them about my path to Eagle Scout and where it has taken me. After that I'm heading out for dinner with my family and maybe visiting some friends. But its early to bed for me tonight. Gotta get up early. Got a big day tomorrow.

Don't Forget to be Awesome


  1. ...i hope the aviators are mirrored...

    maverick doesn't have anything on you! ;)

  2. Safe travels, Shawn. I will be praying for you!

  3. have fun! I don't know when you'll post again, but what lenses did you bring? let me know how having a dslr works out, i really want to bring mine but am hesitant to because of theft and stuff :-/ Good luck with staging!

  4. Elizabeth,

    I'm writing this in Philadelphia as we just finished Staging. We jet tomorrow from JFK for Rwanda! I'll be sure to let you know how well have the Nikon D50 works. I have the stock lends for the D50, as well as a nikkor 80-300mm telephoto. I'd get you the actual model numbers, but they're all packed away right now. Hope your PC experience will be grand as well!

  5. don't worry about it :) the focal length is enough, that 80-300 is huge, no?! i have an 80-200 (granted it's 30 years old) but it's a beast and i would be terrified to bring it! have a safe trip tomorrow and enjoy your immersion!

  6. Can't wait to hear more!

  7. I was sad to see that pink guitar still in the basement. I was certain that you would bring it with you. Keep rockin' anyways!
    - Brother