Monday, May 2, 2011


Workers of the world unite.
Although, as a government- employed volunteer teacher with a sweet set-up and a 14hr work week, I am sitting on the sidelines this year.  Hope the revolution is still going strong back in Tallahassee (or wherever you may find yourself)

I am sitting on my new wooden love-seat, enjoying a quiet transition from day to night, waiting for my dough to rise so I can eat some simple skillet bread and cassava leaves for dinner.  And while I’d rather be reading my book, I have been thinking about writing a blog post for quite some time, and figured now may be the perfect opportunity to do so.  A very important day passed without recognition from me, so I want to take a moment to go back to April 21st.  Does this day mean anything to you?  For me, it marked my 6 month anniversary in Rwanda.  Unfortunately that means I still have a looming 21 months of service as a Peace Corps Volunteer here, but it felt like a nice little accomplishment nonetheless.  And when I say “looming” I don’t mean to sound overtly negative, it’s just that 6 months out of 27 really isn’t a great percentage, and, well, I’m going to play the role of realist during this post.  What was nice about April 21st was that I was with all the other volunteers in my group, participating in what PC calls IST, or In Service Training.  Actually, I suppose we were on our way home after spending the better part of a week together to talk about our jobs, possible secondary projects in our communities, life, the universe and Mars.  Ok, we may not have actually talked about Mars, but I did get in some good star-gazing/ speculation with some fellow PCVs.  Although I was initially dreading getting together with 60+ other Americans to sit around and talk about teaching for 4 long days in a row, I actually really enjoyed myself and was able to leave IST feeling refreshed, with a solid list of ideas for classes and clubs at school.  
Here are some more fun facts about April in Rwanda:
  1. Most of April is a break from school. Here, we begin school in January, and we have 3 terms for the year.  Between each term there is a three week holiday, and the school year ends at the end of October.  Yes, this means I will have nearly all of November and December off from school, and yes, this means I just enjoyed the first three week holiday of the year.
  2. April 7th begins the 100 day period of mourning/ remembrance of the 1994 genocide that took place in Rwanda.  During the first week of this period (April 7th- 14th) meetings are held every afternoon at the umudugudu level (neighborhood level) and government mandated discussions take place.  Since this is orchestrated by the Rwandan government, all people are given the same list of discussion topics.
  3. Because of the break from school I was able to travel around Rwanda and see and learn many new things.
  4. Because this is the genocide memorial period, travel was difficult and I had more unexpected delays than usual BUT during these delays I was able to witness and take part in some of the genocide memorial activities.  Except for the delay caused by a tree falling in the road.  That one just led to me hanging out in a taxi eating pineapple.
As of last week, we are now in our second term at school.  I had a nice full day of teaching today, and all of us (students and teachers) are back on track and ready to go!  The rainy season is still in full force, which makes doing laundry not so fun, and makes for consistently cool nights in my part of the country.  It’s time for me to get up and knead my dough... plus, this new love-seat is still sans cushions, and sitting on wooden slats is starting to hurt.  I have much more to share with you about my travels!  I made a quick list of little happenings and anecdotes while I was traveling around the country so that I could remember them and share them with you crazy kids, so expect another post soon.
Also, tomorrow I will be chaperoning a field trip to the Gisozi Genocide Memorial in Kigali.  It will be me, the Secondary history teacher from our school and 16 students, and we will be attending a day-long seminar/ educational event hosted by the memorial staff and specialized teachers.  After this event I think I will probably have a bit to say about the genocide, and about modern-day Rwanda, so you can also expect a more serious and educational post sometime in the near future.
Did you check out my vacation photos?!?!?! Please do... you can find the link to my Picassa page somewhere to the right of what you’re reading now.  
Love and miss you all!