Sunday, 31 August 2008


August 29th

Well, the bigger your hopes, the more easily they’re dashed. Tom and I walk up to the office, Tom to try to get the next sixth month’s rent out of Claude, and me to go up to a school opening at Rongi.

Problem was – when we got to the office there’s no sign of Claude. Emmanuelle, the heads’ rep from Shyogwe was around, and tells us Claude has left half an hour ago with a man from the ministry. The rotter! Claude shafted me three ways today – I missed out on the jamboree to Rongi; I missed the chance to brief him on what I’d been finding on my inspections; I missed the chance instead to go with Soraya to Mushubi. She had set off early with the VSO crowd in a pick up truck to get her heavy furniture out of the school house at Mushubi, and store it in the guest house in Gitarama.

Tom had to go to Kigali, definitely disgruntled at not getting his rent (we’re not two months in arrears and I expect he’ll be throwing me out onto the street in a few days’ time), and I sat around trying to look busy for two whole hours just in case Claude had been on one of his usual diversions and was about to reappear and take me with him to Rongi at any minute.

So Friday turned out into another “down day”, and once again it’s not my fault. It’s just a case of the Africa thing working against me.

While I was waiting I found a copy of the major report on Poverty Reduction Strategy from 2008-2012 which to anyone reading this blog probably sounds like a good way to fall asleep, but is actually riveting reading. In a few pages it manages to combine a very detailed economic analysis of where the country is, a list of intended actions at central Government level over the next four years, and very concisely all the targets that each part of the country – including our volunteer community – is supposed to be heading for. This is so useful I can’t believe why VSO hasn’t given us all a copy.

In fact, with a whole day ahead of me, and nothing to do, I take it upon myself to make an abstract of the important bits to give to all the new VSOs when they arrive next week or whenever it is.

So that’s what I do. I go back to the flat and work like a Trojan all day long making a précis of the report. Twelve odd pages long, and that’s just my summary. As I write this blog I’m still seeing statistics slide past before my eyes!

The evening also has its moment. Tom’s left me unsure whether he’s coming home tonight or staying over in Kigali (it’s umuganda tomorrow, so a good time not to be in Gitarama). At quarter to seven I decide he’s in Kigali for the night. I can’t ring him and confirm because his mobile phone’s playing up. So I make supper for me and the guard, and I’m just in the very act of doing the washing up when Tom arrives home. Shamefacedly I have to confess that I’ve cooked stuff and we’ve eaten the lot. He’s very good about it; there enough stuff left in the fridge so that he doesn’t starve.

One of those crazy days. Claude, I hope your ears were burning all bloody day long!

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