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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recalling a Month in Rwanda

This past Sunday marked the 1 month anniversary of our arrival in
Rwanda. As instructed, we prepared for the worst but hoped for the best.
The fact that I am writing this on a bed in the Training center
Infirmary while being pumped full of antibiotics and acetaminophen is
testament that the Peace Corps is not all fun and games. Not to worry...
Its just a small sickness and the Good Doctors are willing to release me
back into the general population by lunchtime. I'm just glad I was able
to dodge taking the oral re-hydration salts....

Last week, as i mentioned, spent 4 or 5 days visiting our sites where we
will be placed in January after completion of Pre-Service Training. I am
at a Catholic boarding school in the Southern Providence, about a
stone's throw away from the Burundi border (which I am not actually
allowed to cross). I am replacing a Volunteer who taught English, but I
also have another Health Volunteer in my town until the end of
March/April when she will return to the States. Having so many
Volunteers in my town was a little unexpected given the relative size of
the village which, when school is not in session, is about the size of
my high school graduating class.

My headmaster has informed me that they have S4 and S5 (equivalent to
grades 10 and 11) and they want me to teach these upper secondary
classes instead of the lower secondary (S1-S3). This is a welcomed
change, although it doesn't in any way mean that their English will be
any better. However, I met my Headmaster, my Dean of Studies, and my
Deans of Discipline and they all have pretty decent English. My
Headmaster (who is really cool, by the way) is in a distance learning
Masters Program out of Kampala, Uganda and the texts he was studying
from when I was there had some pretty sophisticated English. Since his
wife is attending University in Butare, he is back and forth between my
school and there fairly often and he has a decent truck. This is
fortunate because there are only two other ways out of my village. I can
take a 'bus' (which they pack people into like packing peanuts and only
come very early in the mornings on Mondays and Fridays) or by a moto
(either an actual motorcycle or a really crappy dirt bike). Either way
it takes me about an hour to reach Butare, which is the nearest large city.

I have a house to myself at site, which I have already decided to make
into a bachelor's pad. I think my Headmaster's truck will come in quite
handy in getting furniture to my house. I have pasted pictures of what
my house looks like on the Picasa site that was listed in my previous
post. Check 'em out.

On the way back to Training from our site visits I met up with some
other Trainees and went for Ice Cream in Butare. I capitalize it because
it was so good. I'm not sure if its because of the actual quality of
said ice cream or if its because of the relative scarcity in Rwanda.
Either way, its going to be a major pit-stop for me for the next two years.

This week we hit the ground hard.... 4 hours of language and 4 hours of
Tech Training almost every day. The monotony of the schedule begins to
wear on you a bit, but at least we will always know what's coming next!
For now, I have to return to sleeping so I don't miss more Language
sessions from being laid up with the Good Doctors. In the end, I suppose
it's close to a fair trade...

-Don't Forget to be Awesome

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