Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Making resources at Nyamabuye

August 19th

My shoulder is still aching like mad all night and making sleep difficult. Whatever position I lie in, and whatever I use for pillows, nothing seems to do any good. And each night I finally go deep asleep just about as it’s time to be getting up in the morning.

So I wake up today not particularly refreshed, with a mosquito buzzing around and around. We all have these moments when we want to say to the mozzie “for God’s sake get on and bite me and then buzz off somewhere else so I can’t hear your blasted whine”.

The water’s still off so I have the dubious luxury of a cold shower with a bucket to use the minimum of water. The only point in this water saga is that the outside tap downstairs is still working well. So we have water, but we just have to lug it upstairs in buckets or “bidons” (jerry cans).

Mans and I are ready in good time and off by moto to Biti primary school for today’s training. We’re given a lovely modern classroom, just the ticket. We quickly find a bar opposite and arrange for two crates of fanta for everyone’s lunch. Soraya arrives dead on time, and even Ken, who we were expecting mid-morning, arrives before we’ve properly got started for the day.

One stroke of genius is to begin the day by playing games – tangrams, snakes and ladders, and towers of Hanoi. These go down really well with the primary teachers and disguise the fact the even in the middle of Gitarama the majority can’t be punctual. It’s around 9.30 when the final stragglers roll in (for an 8.30 official start).

Actually the day goes well. My French is up to the job most of the time; I do a lot of translating for Ken, and Soraya copes in a mixture of English and Kinya. Everyone goes home laden with rice sacks on which they’ve copied maps, science diagrams, the coat of arms of Rwanda, games etc. There’s nothing more calculated to make primary teachers here happy than a free lunch and stuff to hang on their classroom walls!

I have to leave at the end of the morning and zoom round Gitarama on motos picking up sambozas and mandazis. Eighty mandazis absolutely fill my rucksack and are so heavy that I feel I’m about to topple backwards off the bike! I end up chugging through the high street with a big bag of rice sacks between me and the driver, a cardboard box full of sambozas under one arm and this ton of dough dragging me backwards in my rucksack! Whenever we buy food at the “alimentations” here, we get accosted by beggars who hang around outside and whine at everyone who’s just bought food. This particular woman has obviously seen me buying huge quantities of food and gets really ratty when I don’t give her a handful of stuff. But she’s not my concern today, and she’ll have to wait on someone else’s generosity. The traffic police look disapproving at the load this muzungu’s draped around a moto, but wisely decide that because there’s nothing blatantly wrong and I’m not actually falling off or obstructing the highway with mislaid doughnuts it’s just not worth harassing a foreigner. It feels really cold today, and I’m beginning to wish I was wearing a thick shirt and not one of my flimsy African jobs.

We finish a little early because we more or less worked all through lunchtime, and the four of us go to “Tranquillité” for a beer (sorry, make that a debriefing and quick planning meeting). The next session will be at Gikongoro in Man’s district, and certainly I’ll return the favour by going down to help him. I’m sure Soraya will come too. We decide on a few changes to fine tune the INSET and then split up to get home. Mans has at the very least a three hour journey, and more if his connection work out awkwardly as they did yesterday.

Back at the flat I’m so tired I just doze off in an armchair, and poor Tom has to do virtually all the cooking tonight. But our water’s back on, albeit at reduced pressure, so that’s good.

Best thing about today – another successful training, and we’ve launched the model which Soraya and I will be repeating eleven times in all the Muhanga secteurs over the next few months. We probably won’t completely finish the last one until just before I come home at Christmas!

Worst thing about today – I wish my neck and shoulder would sort itself out!

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