Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Dry in Nyamata

July 28th

Today is one of those “quart into a pint pot” days. I’m off to the District Office via the bank (good time to go – no queue) and the post office (no mail yet again).

At the Office there’s no sign of Claude, nor Védaste for that matter. My first priority is to re-check all the maternelle census forms to see if I’ve missed any; sure enough I find a couple of schools I’ve missed. One is called the “Love Academy” which sounds more like a steamy, sleazy American strip joint than an expensive private African nursery school. I quickly adjust all my figures.

Eventually, by late morning, Védaste arrives. I’m all ready for him and simply load all my data – primary, secondary, nursery – on to his flash drive. Then its time to pack up and leave. I’m on my way to pick up Teresa, via a day’s training at Nyamata.

As I’m leaving the Office, who should be strolling in but Claude. I’m sure he’s getting a bit of a tummy on him – obviously married life is suiting him well! Fortunately I have my own flash drive with all the data on it and I can just give it to Claude in the street. He knows Védaste has got all the stuff too; I think it’ll be better for them; they’ll be able to present the information in a “Rwandan” way without risking my treading on people’s toes and being too blunt and insensitive.

I rush off to the COPARWA craft shop to buy leaving presents for the two deaf girls and for Tu Chi. Easy job – there’s a massive range of baskets to choose from. Then back through the heat to the flat and a very quick lunch while I’m packing my bag. I’m getting a dab hand at packing the minimum now, and not forgetting anything important!

Then it’s off to Kigali on a rickety express bus, and a quick transfer to Nyamata. While I’m waiting for the Nyamata bus to leave I meet Paula, who is going to be helping us. She’s buying a ticket for a later bus. That means there’ll be five of us doing the training. The new bridge over the Nyaborongo is now open; confusingly the sign on the bridge says it’s the Akagera river while all the maps call it the Nyaborongo at this stage. Just another item to confuse us!

Els greets me in Nyamata; she’s been under the weather for a couple of days with a stomach bug but is soldiering on as best she can. Marisa and Soraya are in good form, and Paula arrives later in the evening.

We decide to dine in despite having to cope with a sever water shortage in the town. Not only are all the taps dry in Marisa’s house, but the local standpipes are also out of use. We’re reduced to trying to find any house in the vicinity which still has water, and to buying it from them at whatever price they decide to charge us.

Never mind; Soraya cooks us a combination of onions and green beans in coconut milk and with rice it becomes an unusual and filling dish.

Lots of gossip later and we’re ready for bed. Soraya’s staying in a guest house; her heavy furniture and stuff is still at Mushubi; her light stuff is at Tiga’s (but between all the girls they seem to have mislaid Tiga’s back door key so they can neither use the toilet or wash place at her house, and nor can they properly feed or check on Suerte the rabbit). So Soraya’s pretty nomadic at the moment. She’s tried to perm her hair but isn’t happy with the result and is waiting for it to grow out again.
Her house at Gitarama has fallen through and at the moment she’s got nowhere to live there, but she’s anticipating getting a call any day about accommodation and doesn’t want to commit herself to anything out of range of a quick drive down to view any potential living space.

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