Thursday, 10 July 2008

six months in Rwanda

July 7th

Hey, we’ve been in Rwanda for six months today! The time has simply flown by. And what better way to celebrate than wandering around Gisenyi with Épi!

The other men in my dormitory are awake and leaving even earlier on this workday – at quarter to three in the morning the first one is clattering around. At five o’clock somebody even has a shower, and the noise of water hitting the bucket wakes up the entire room. But, of course, this is Rwanda and everyone’s far too polite to tell him to sod off!

So once again I’m up early and this time I go for a walk around the “African” part of Gisenyi, exploring up by the mosque. It’s the usual muddle of shops, businesses and houses. They clearly don’t get many muzungus in this part of town – the Europeans usually make a beeline for the lake shore and never move far away from it. So I get plenty of curious stares, especially as it’s just gone seven and all the schoolchildren are on their way to school for the last week of term.

We get a big, comfortable bus back to Kigali and make sure we get the seats we want this time! Right near the front with some of the best views of all.

The journey back seems quicker, but visibility is no better. You can just make out the shape of Nyiragongo volcano at Gisenyi, but it doesn’t look at all impressive because it’s struggling to appear at all through the murk. I think this haziness is the only disadvantage of what has been a really lovely weekend.

Back at Kigali we go to VSO to do some shopping and check our emails. Épi’s Rwandan friend Janneau comes up to meet her; he’s had a slot on last night’s broadcasts on Flash FM Radio, but we haven’t been able to listen to him at Gisenyi. Never mind, it’s a regular slot and we’ll both listen out for him this coming Sunday. Hey that’s two DJs I’ve met now; Won Tu broadcasts on Wednesday lunchtimes, all Congolese music and I’d die to get hold of his record collection!

Épi leaves with Janneau but not before we’ve tentatively arranged some more forays when her brother Olivier arrives next weekend. Épi wants to take him to both Rusumo and Cyangugu, and both are on my hit list too. If I can get Soraya to join us, or even Tu Chi, we can make a foursome. And Épi and Olivier can stay at our place on their travels, too. He’s going to be here at the same time as Teresa arrives, so it would be silly not to get together at some point. We’ll see.

I spend the whole afternoon sorting out computer business and some VSO matters, not least of which is a huge claim for travel expenses for all my gallivanting round the District.

Back at Gitarama I feel really tired, and poor Tom has to do all the dinner on his own. It’s all I can do to lift a finger and write my blog!

It’s been a fab weekend.

No comments: