Sunday, 18 May 2008

An oven, a volcano and a good day's work

May 10th

A quiet Saturday. Tom’s off somewhere all day for a meeting, so I spend a productive morning at the internet cafe in Gitarama. It seems to be the case that, provided you go early in the morning, the Gitarama set-up is fine for sending and receiving emails and for blogging text, but it’s definitely not a good enough connection to be able to send pictures. So sorry to those of you who are still ploughing through all my verbiage; I’ll be posting pictures, I hope, on Tuesday when I go to Kigali.

The day is much cooler and fresher than Thursday and Friday, which is a relief. Everything’s covered in a fine layer of powdery dust which you can feel between your teeth and which catches in your throat. I wonder what it will be like by the end of September just before the next lot of rains are due to arrive!

In the afternoon I decide to do some “school” work so that I can justify going to Kigali next Tuesday, and I correct the data I had wrongly entered and finish entering all the primary school data. That’s the really long slog done. The “synthèse” for the whole district won’t take more than a full day, and compiling a powerpoint for the district schools will wait until I’ve had another conversation with Mans on techniques.

During the afternoon there are thunderstorms visible in the far distance, but nothing reaches Gitarama.

However, the rains clear the air and in late afternoon it suddenly strikes me that a perfect conical peak; just visible on the horizon peeping behind one of our nearer hills, might be Muhabura volcano. So when Tom returns I get his big map of Rwanda and my compass and carefully take bearings, and it’s true. We can see a volcano from our flat! And not just any volcano; Muhabura is the most perfect and also my favourite. So there!

Tom returns from his meeting with sausage rolls, and it seems a perfect occasion to try out my oven idea. We have two big aluminium saucepans of Polly’s, and if I stand one inside the other with a spacer we have a very heat-tight oven. It certainly warms up well, and heats the sausage rolls though. We’re worried whether it will burn through at the bottom, but it seems to be resistant enough. Next week I’ll try something more ambitious – if I can find golden syrup in Kigali I’ll try making flapjack!

Best things about today – the oven, the volcano, getting some internetting done, finishing transcribing all the primary census data. A really good day’s work!

Worst thing about today – still no replies to either of my messages to Épi and Soraya. I’ll be seeing Soraya tomorrow, so will wait and see what’s happening. But next weekend I want to get out of Gitarama!

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