Sunday, 4 May 2008

Phone calls from home

April 27th

Decide not to go to church today; I need to get Soraya off to Mushubi, and I also want to go to the Office and pick up any papers which arrived on Friday. Just as we’re getting ready to leave, Karen arrives to tell us that there’s a Congolese troupe of singers and musicians going to be performing during the 9.30 Mass at Kabgayi. There’s no way I can go, and my priority is to get Soraya safely sorted. But what a pity. I know it’ll be a tremendous performance. Oh well, let’s hope they come again before the end of the year! In any case, Karen picks up her VSO mail and saves me a journey to her house.

Soraya gets straight onto a bus going to Gikongoro; it’s a stopper but at least she won’t have to change at Butare. She’s in the front middle seat, too, so she’ll get the good view all the way!

I walk on up to the Office, and the front door is open. I had a feeling it might be. Truly, Muhanga District never stops working (except that half the time it can’t work because there’s no money or no electricity or nobody’s been told what’s happening). I find a couple of census forms that have come in, so take them back home with me.

Back home, Cathie arrives and picks up her VSO mail and we put the world to rights. She’s wearing one of her new creations made in Kigali; it’s a knee-length shalwar top and the colours suit her complexion beautifully.

As soon as she goes I nip down to the internet café and spend a long time sending stuff. Eventually I have to give up on posting my Shyogwe pictures as the connection seems to break down every couple of minutes.

When Tom comes home from church we decide to eat out at “Le Petit Jardin”. Surprise, surprise, while we’re waiting for our brochettes to arrive I get a phone call from my sister who’s on the Isle of Wight, and also speak to my dad for the first time since leaving England. It’s really tremendous to be able to speak to them both; it just feels surreal to be under a sunshade on the Equator and talking to Dad! I have to confess that Gitarama brochettes are nowhere near as good as those at “La Palisse”!

During the afternoon I get working on my census papers so that on Monday nobody will be able to accuse me of shirking.

Then in the evening Karen texts us and we agree to have supper at “Tranquillite”. Karen’s had another unsettling experience this week on a night with no power and a man (known to her) who came to the house well after dark. She’s still un-nerved (understandably) by last week’s incident, so sent him on his way, then rang Cathie and went to sleep at Cathie and Elson’s house. We all need to support Karen at the moment.

Finally, a long phone call from Teresa; Rachel’s been at home all day doing useful things like cutting the lawns. Hooray! England’s beginning to seem a long way in the past now, and I have difficulty in visualising what the garden must look like. Teresa tells me we’ve got bees nesting in a chimney and seagulls nesting on our bedroom roof, so things are buzzy and noisy, especially in the early mornings.

Best thing about today – two phone calls from home

Worst thing – feels very flat in the evening without having visitors to talk to!

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