Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Christmas comes early in Gitarama

July 31st

The plumbing at the FHI guest house is “full of character” as they say. There’s a knock to getting hot water in the shower (pull down the red lever; make sure the bucket’s in place to catch the constant drips onto the floor; don’t leave any clothes on the floor or they’ll be soaked in minutes; don’t even try to adjust the temperatures at the shower head).

But the breakfasts are lovely – porridge, fruit, omelettes etc. Janine’s certainly doing us proud in terms of food.

My family decides that the journey, and the exertions yesterday in Kigali, have caught up with them and they need a quieter day. In the morning we walk through town to the flat, and I show them round the Gitarama Hilton. They’re al suitably impressed, especially since the electricity’s on and the water’s running. Dad may be thin as a rake and look like a walrus with his white moustache, but he’s not living in a hovel and neither is he risking some awful diseases every day through unhygienic surroundings. So that’s a relief.

My cunning plan was to take them out to Shyogwe primary school in the afternoon, but we’re not sure whether everyone can cope with motos so in the event we have a quiet day just getting to grips with the view from my flat of the whole of Rwanda passing by, usually on foot, and also usually carrying everything on their heads.

Chief event of the day is the undoing of suitcases. For me it’s like Christmas come early – new iPod, an external hard drive for my laptop, and all manner of edible goodies as well as more clothes. I think at least one of the three big suitcases must have been filled with stuff for me!

Tomorrow we’re on the road, and the real Rwandan adventure starts!

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