Friday, 6 June 2008

Another wasted day

June 4th

Another wasted day. No Védaste, no Claude. Béatrice, it seems, has gone on leave. Nobody knows where the census forms are. Venantie things Béatrice might have sent them to MINEDUC at Kigali. So I can’t get on with any of the things I want to do. By Mid-day the only positive things I’ve done are blog a load of photos of the Mwami’s palace at Nyanza, and email the final information on the Shyogwe bid to Holland. I faff around creating charts and diagrams on the secondary school data that I do have, but it’s only for 9 schools instead of the full 26 or so. It’s a reliable sample, but I’d prefer to have the whole picture.

Then in the afternoon there’s a power cut. I stick it out for nearly an hour, but the electricity is clearly not coming back on any tine soon, and now my laptop battery is just about exhausted. There’s nobody at all left in the office, either. So I pack up and go home.

I’ve written two letters to email to people, so I go back to the internet café. They have power, but the electricity cut has stopped their internet connection. So I’m frustrated yet again.

Cathie’s spending the day at her old school in Gasarenda, saying goodbye to teachers and some of the pupils who remember her. She still hasn’t rung me to tell me any details about where we’re doing training tomorrow, or what time we’re starting.

I do a big shop-up in the market; at least that’s something positive I can achieve. Tom has rung to say that today is Christi’s parents’ last day before they fly back to America, and we’re all going to eat out tonight. No problem; the vegetables will keep another day.

Just as I’m walking down to the restaurant Teresa rings to say there’s a problem with our car back in England. I can’t tell her exactly what to do over the phone, but she’s got the situation in hand. It had to happen sooner or later! No sooner have I finished that call when Cathie rings. She can’t make contact with any of the head teachers in Kibangu, and at the moment we don’t know where we’re doing the training tomorrow.

It’s nice to say farewell to Christi’s parents; they’re lovely people and we’re all the better for having spent some time with them. I think they’ve learnt a lot about Rwanda, and also a lot about us crazies who’ve come here to work

Back at the flat, and for the next two hours until nearly eleven o’clock, both Cathie and I are getting increasingly anxious as we try to make contact with anyone from Kibangu. None of the head teachers’ phones seem to be working. The secteur rep, Viateur, who is the key person, is completely unreachable. We get to the point where we agree that if nobody gets back to us with information, we won’t go there tomorrow.

Shortly before eleven I get a phone call from one of the heads. It’s in fast, heavily accented French, but I clearly understand him to say that the training will be at Kibangu primary, starting at nine. I try to ring Cathie, but get a stupid message saying her phone number isn’t listed. That’s rubbish! So I text her – twice – but I can’t tell whether the texts have gone through or whether she’s read them. So I phone again and again. But every tine I get this stupid message saying that she doesn’t exist. There must be something dramatically wrong with the MTN network tonight. I even dismantle my phone and reassemble it in case there’s a problem with my battery giving the false messages. But nothing I do makes any difference. Eventually I decide it’s too late to do anything more tonight. I’ll get up early tomorrow and hope the phone system has righted itself, and that I can make sure Cathie’s got the message and is up and about in time to set off for Kibangu at six.

Best thing about today- the meal with Christi’s parents

Worst thing about today – just about everything else!

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