My time in Rwanda is drawing to a close—hard to believe it! This past week I participated in a Transformative Mediation training here at Urugo Rw’Amahoro (FPH). George Brose from Ohio, whose blog you can check out at oonka.com/george-blog/, was the trainer for the workshop.
Not too much else to report. I’m currently working on compiling the FPH annual report—though it seems that “compiling” may actually mean translating documents from French into English, as I think I’ll have to leave by the time I finish translating.
Tomorrow I’m going to visit some projects nearby that support women with HIV/AIDS. I hope to gather enough information so if any other students want to come to Rwanda through the CPGC they can find some information about other options in addition to FPH. Francine’s older brother, who lost his wife to AIDS, runs the programs, so it’s been a convenient connection!
Sunday I’ll be cooking an “American” dinner for Francine and a few other friends I’ve made here, so I’d love any suggestions you may have. It needs to be things I can cook over a fire/coals–there is no oven (and remember no running water!) so the more simple, the better. So far I’m planning chili, mashed potatoes and guacamole—a cohesive meal is clearly not the goal….
A fact about Rwandan political/geographical organization: the country is divided into four provinces, in which there are many districts, in which there are many sectors, in which there are many cells, and finally in which there are many zones. The hierarchy of these divisions confused me for a while, but I finally had it explained to me by the leader of the cell we live in, who works here at FPH. Also, local elections involve no paper ballots, but rather each individual stands in front of the person they wish to vote for. This type of voting clearly saves time and money, but is quite susceptible to pressuring and inaccurate counting.
My Kinyarwanda update is amusing, as a friend here at FPH taught me a number of “conversations” I could have, such as what I ate for breakfast that morning, when I’m leaving the country, what I’ll miss most, and even an invitation to come visit someone’s house. But if anyone’s questions or responses differ from those very specific ones given, I am utterly lost. For example, if I don’t want to come visit on Saturday the 14th…no visit for me.
I’m starting to feel sentimental about leaving: no more rogue rooster under my window, fruit so delicious it feels sinful, warm sunny days without fail, music to make your heart melt, and the five lizards who have kept me company for these many weeks. That said, I am ready for a shower and some ice cream too.