Sunday, July 18, 2010

Patriotism, etc.

I was under the impression that no one read my blog other than my parents (especially since I never receive any comments!) so it was surprising to me when I got nagged on several ends to "update your blog already!". Ok, here I am. It's not that nothing's happened- A LOT has happened, but I guess I just wasn't sure how the events of the past two months could be taylored to fit my blog. So, a few highlights:

The theater performances are finished. We ended up having 10 instead of 15 for various reasons. I really love my theater group and am trying to find ways to still work with them, especially since many of them are unemployed and don't go to school, and really need opportunities to fill their time and use their talents.

I got interviewed by Philip Gourevitch! He came back to Rwanda and we had a general interview about my time here so far, my impressions of things, etc.

Emma is back in America, and is getting married soon (congratulations!). There are now 3 other people here at NAR, but they'll only be here for a month a piece.

In late June, there were a bunch of international theatre groups showing their work at Ishyo (an art and cultural center in Kigali). I thorougly enjoyed it and look forward to seeing the Canadian play that two members from One Family (the theater group I worked with for NAR) are involved in.

Celebrated both 4th of July and Bastille day in style. 4th of July was spent in Kibungo, where there was a huge get together of PCVs. We roasted a goat, and pretty much just spent the whole weekend cooking and eating till we filled ourselves silly. It was a lot of fun being with that big of a group of us, it was like one huge family reunion. of course, we had the traditional round of games like Mafia and pictionary, and sang along to Brandon's guitar-playing.

Bastille day was spent at the French Ambassador's house. I didn't talk to the ambassador directly. I did however, enjoy amazing food and free champagne. It was nice meeting new people, although this confirms my suspicions that there are very few French expats in Rwanda, especially those under the age of 35. I did see some familiar faces as well of course. The new PCMO (Peace Corps Medical Officer) who's a French native (though he's lived in Africa for several years) was present, and we joked about how we're the only two people in Peace Corps Rwanda who hold a French passport.

After the theater festival performances, we were supposed to have trainings in secondary schools by the actors. The students were very excited about this and so was I, but unfortunately this will not happen. I'm not going into details...

It seems like my job for the next few months is to recruit new youth into Never Again Rwanda- both schooling and non-schooling youth. I think this will be fun and interesting. I like finding out about the IGAs (Income Generating Activities) and other projects the NAR youth have come up with, and getting ideas on what else can be done.

My parents are coming in 3 weeks, and that's 3 weeks too far away. I feel like these past few months have been inching by at a glacial pace. We are going to see the gorillas in the North, and then go to Nai Robi and do a tour of the Serengeti in Tanzania. God I can't wait.

I'm going to climb Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent! Anna (another PCV) and I just bought our tickets and will be heading out there in mid-September. Our goal is to reach the top, and I'm confident we can do it. Super excited- this is going to be epic!

Visited my old umudugudu this weekend. I hadn't been back there in a long time. Some kids recognized me immediately, yelling out "sonia, sonia" and coming to wave and hug me. Some had completely forgotten about me, which is understandable. I didn't get to see everyone- some people weren't there and my old neighbor's house was all boarded up. I asked about what happened to them but couldn't get a straight answer. It really is amazing though, how fast kids grow when you're far away. One of the pastor's sons not only shot up about a foot higher, but his voice, once that of a little kid, has completely changed into and an adult's. No squeekyness whatsoever! The babies I remember are now walking and talking, and toddlers have become little kids. The woman who works at College Misericorde (as the one who cleans the school and serves tea) found me and invited me into her house for milk and cake. I offered to pay her when I saw she ran a small business of selling these from her house, but she insisted that as her guest, I should just take it. Her and I had never talked much while I was teaching at that school, so I found this gesture very hospitable, though not unusual for Rwanda.

We had Peace Corps mid-service in early June. It was in Kigali this time at a nice hotel with hot water and a pool. While I did not have as much fun at MST as I did at IST in Kibuye, I learned a lot more. There were representatives from Peace Corps Washington present, and they informed us of funding opportunitites available solely to Peace Corps volunteers, and encouraged us to take advantage of them.

There's more but this entry seems long enough. I don't predict I'll write again until my parents are here. Missing all of you. Take care and until next time. ;-)