Friday, October 30, 2009

Movement, and Lack of Movement

I recieved some bad news a few hours ago, so I'm not in the best of moods. I won't get into specifics, but I'm in a transition period right now, and it's not going at all the way I'd planned or hoped up until I got that phone call. Sux. However, I just hung out with a friend who accused me of being too negative. She's probably right--so, out of respect for her, I'll fill up the rest of this blank post space to talk about the positive things I've experienced.

I've been doing quite a bit of traveling lately. I'm done grading papers, but when I'm not keeping busy with GLOW, Books for Africa (which everyone reading this should donate to), or working on the draft for the mayor of my district, I've kept busy traveling a bit. I went to the Nrth two weekends ago, and then to the East to visit some friends, then to the South, and I'll be going to the East again for Halloween (probably). I still have a very long list of things to do and places to see before I leave in a year and a half (that's right--I'm a quarter of the way done with service!) Rwanda's a tiny country, but there is A LOT to see here-- in every province.

I went to the site where the new PCVs are having their training. I didn't present as I had expected, but it was really nice to get out of the city, and get to talk more with the new volunteers. I really like them--they're outgoing and friendly.

I didn't stay in the East for very long, just went to a small get together of PCVs to enjoy Malea's homemade Pasta, and other delicious goodies. We didn't really leave the house, but it got me thinking that I really need to get out and discover Rwanda more.

Halloween is tomorrow! So is umuganda (the last saurday of the month where everything is closed until 11, so people can do their community service), and afterwards I'll either go to the East or stay here. Haven't made up my mind yet. Since Halloween isn't celebrated here, finding materials to put together a costume has proved to be much more of a challenge than I would have thought. I really do enjoy going to the market and just looking at the clothes. A lot if it really is nice-- a lot of it is rediculous. It really is filled with what you'd find in a thrift store--basically everything that Americans have thrown out, I'm convinced, gets sent to Africa. It's hard not to chuckle when you see old women wearing shirts that say innapropriate things in English, or styles and trends that were popular in the US a decade ago (I have seen about 100 Eminem shirts). If I had more money, I'd shop more, and get more dresses made from the numerous differnt fabrics they have here just for that purpose. Unlike everything else at the market, that really is authentic and local. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Volunteers

The new volunteers have arrived! I got to meet them briefly at the PC country director's house. There's something comforting in seeing people who were just like us 8 months ago, and being able to answer their questions. From what I hear, they're going to be placed in rural areas, which means, no one will be near me :(. Oh well, I'm already living near 3 other PCVs, which is more than PCVs in most other countries can say (Rwanda is very small). I'll be visiting them at their training site in a few days, I'm assuming to speak a little about my experience in Rwanda and advice on teaching, since the new group consists mainly of education volunteers. I'm told they won't just be teaching English, but Comp sci, bio, and other subjects. Should be iteresting. I think this group has it harder than we did. We were put up in a compound all together, with regular full meals and snacks prepared for us, our laundry could be done for us, and we almost always had electricity and(cold) running water, which meant regular showers. This group is holding their training in a more rural area, which doesn't have regular running water. It's probably a good thing though, they'll be able to get more of the real PC experience right off the bat.

I went to Mutzig fest (One of the two main beers here-- the other one is Primus), which is basically an all you can drink festival. There was live music that was actually really good, as well as food. Although the majority of the people there were ex-pats and ngo employees (which I guess aren't mutually exclusive) there were still quite a few Rwandans, which I was happy about. Even though I'm honestly more comfortable with other Americans and Europeans, I know that I'm not going to truly appreciate or understand Rwanda unless I spend time with Rwandans. And really, discovering new people and learning new things is what the Peace Corps is all about.

Workwise, it's winding down. This week is finals week for senior 1-6, and in two weeks, finals for senior 1-3 only. It basically means I walk around the classroom and make sure no one is cheating. I caught one girl and made her wash her hands (where she'd written the answers). I only have two classes with finals to grade, which means no more than 40, probably less since I'm sure not every single student was present.

Peace Corps is definately a journey of self-discovery, and I'm starting to realize that, unlike most Rwandans I've met, I like being alone. Although I was nervous about living by myself for the first time in my life, I really like it. After work, I like to come home, cook, and just be by myself for a while. Nightime is when I like to hang out. I'm worried I may have offended some of my neighbors by neglecting to visit them on a regular basis, and I don't really invite people to my house that often, but that's due to trust issues, since there aren't that many of my neighbors i'm that close to (2 of my favorites moved away). Still, I think I need to expand my horizons a little and not be so closed off.

Just got a call from my mom a few minutes ago while I was writing this and I feel a little guilty because I think I should have been more friendly and appreciative of her call-- I didn't even ask her how she was doing or what's been going on. I guess that's what Saturday/Sunday is for (right Mom?). Miss you.