Friday, January 14, 2011

The PST wrap-up

Happy new year! I know I’m a little late on the well-wishes, but I mean them sincerely nonetheless.  I’m about to move out of the lovely town of Nyanza and  onto my future residence, the place I’ll be calling home for the next two years: Kiruri.  I’d like to fill you all in on what the end of 2010 brought about and what has happened to me thus far in 2011.  Well, maybe I won’t tell you everything, but let’s hit some of the highlights.  I guess the last post I wrote was all about Christmas, so I have nothing to add to that topic.  Training finished with a flourish.  I don’t mean that to be an entirely sarcastic comment either... I was actually quite pleased with how everything went during our training and I thought the ends perfectly coincided with the means.  There were a lot of little tests and evaluations: both of ourselves and of the way training was conducted.  The most monumental of the “tests” was our language proficiency interview (LPI).  This was a definite stress inducer mostly because you have to achieve a certain level of proficiency (low-intermediate).  I ended up doing just fine with that, and in the interview I had with the training staff they had nothing but good positive things to say to me.  I don’t mean to brag by saying any of this, and please don’t interpret it as entirely self-inflating, it’s just accurate.  And it’s proof that this whole peace corps thing is going really well so far.  I have a tendency to pointedly not finish with a bang, but this time I think I got it right.  Now, that’s not to say that I’m not tired and anxious about moving and immediately beginning the school year, but I know I can handle it.  So, let’s see, after all the final logistical requirements and hoops we had to jump through, we celebrated the new year.  It was different than what I was anticipating, but I had a great new year’s eve, and I think all of us were able to ring the new year in in style.  Not many Rwandans seemed to be out partying in the conventional manner you would expect to see on new year’s, but we did a great job of making our own fun, like always.  Just 2 days later, we were all taken down to Kigali for our swearing-in ceremony.  We arrived to the city Sunday morning, ran some errands (which is never fun with 65 people), went shopping, ate delicious food, hung out in the rooms where we stayed the night, and the next day we became legitimate, official, new peace corps volunteers.  Now I can refer to myself and my colleagues as PCV’s without being incorrect.  The actual ceremony was absolutely lovely!  The day was not without it’s share of hiccups, but that’s the name of the game after all.  We’re all learning how to be a little more patient (at least I am... you know patience isn’t my strong-suit).  Back to how lovely our ceremony was- It was held at the ambassador’s residence in Kigali.  We were taken around to the backyard, where they had set up a few large white tents with chairs, a podium, all the appropriate flags and camera men from various Rwandan media sources.  We all looked great, we were all in a fantastic mood, we had smiling, welcoming hosts and guests and, well, I don’t think it could’ve been much better if I had been in charge of every detail myself.  Some of my fellow PCV’s gave speeches (one in English, French and Kinyarwanda respectively), the ambassador spoke, our country director Mary spoke, as did some officials from the Rwandan government.  Possibly the most charismatic speaker was the Rwandan Minister of Health, whose speech was both appropriate and amusing (not to mention inspiring).  After we talked, after we took the oath (is that correct English? do you “take the oath”? sometimes I wonder why they think I should be over here teaching English) we were served some of the best food I’ve ever had.  At least, it tasted that way at the time.  It was primarily what we would think of as “American” food, and half the stuff I wouldn’t have touched in the states (deviled eggs, quiche, vegetarian lasagna, potato salad with real mayo) but it was so so tasty and rare that I certainly enjoyed every bite.  One of the other PCV’s said it best, I think: “the food is so great because the hot stuff is hot and the cold stuff is cold.”  So accurate!  Also, Kigali (being the land of Oz) has ice! You can get ice in your beverages! What a novelty that has become. So, as you can imagine, we felt like princes and princesses in this extravagant and indulgent city, and I think we enjoyed it for the most part.  The only possible downside to the whole she-bang could be that since we have all been trickling out the site over this past week, we spent most of our time in Kigali buying stuff so that we can survive life on our own.  Electric hot plates, skillets, towels, blankets, buckets, and the list goes on and on and on and on.  After the ceremony, the shopping sprees, the gluttony, the waiting, and incessant bus rides, we were all tired when we returned to Nyanza and the week has been fairly quiet since.  I just ran up to the center, in order to use the free internet one last time before I leave.  I’m all packed, ready to go, all I’m waiting for is the truck to swing by my house and the 4 hour drive to site.  ***Right as I connected to the internet to post this, the truck did arrive and I had to run home.  So, this post is going up about a week later than I intended. Oh well, so it goes over here :)

1 comment:

  1. Yeah Ally! You should be very proud of yourself for hanging in there and finishing with a bang! Congratulations on becoming an official PCV!! You make us very proud! Thanks for the update. Love you!