Sunday, 14 September 2008

The day I got my iPod working!

September 11th

I’m not on duty with the new volunteers today, so I decide to make it an admin day. That means a leisurely breakfast and a chat with lots of the new volunteers. They’re being taken to the Embassy to register themselves, and Soraya’s come in to “mummy” them for the morning. They’ve all got their mobile phone cards now, and within half an hour I manage to get about half of their numbers. The rest can wait until the family get together on Saturday. I think I’ve got all the DEO numbers (the volunteers who are doing the same job as me but in different districts), and those are the crucial ones for me.

One job I have succeeded in is getting five of them to come onto the Volunteer Committee with me. I’m really impressed that they’re willing to stand even before they’ve gone out to their placements; it must mean that we’re reassuring them that they’re going to be well looked after and not overloaded. They’ve done exactly what I asked them, and we have a good distribution by age, gender, geographical area and programme. Mission accomplished!

It’s a hot, dry, dusty day. What happened to the rainy season that seemed to be coming early? I load up my pack and slog up the cobbled roads to Programme Office. Mike wants to see me, and I need to talk to him. We have a quick discussion over the French volunteers situation; he’s very quick to see both sides of the issue and I respect him for that. He asks me to join a working party looking at the Education Programme here in Rwanda. We need to rewrite our overall working strategy document and renegotiate our terms of reference with the Rwandan Government. It’s surprising how quickly things move on in the world of education and development, and it’s no surprise that what we’re doing has moved on from the original specification. That and the fact that most of the personnel in MINEDUC have changed means that we need to reconnect and get mutual agreement over what we’re doing here in the country. If we can achieve that we strengthen our position here enormously. I also give Mike a copy of all the stuff I used in my presentation yesterday.

For the rest of the morning I fight the internet in the office. The connection keeps going down and then re-establishing itself. When it’s connected things work smoothly and fast, but it’s so frustrating to be in the middle of uploading something onto blogger and lose it just before it’s complete.

Shelina’s on her last day in the office; the family party on Saturday will be her absolutely last day in Rwanda. I’m going to miss her despite the fact that she’s only been here a month or so – she’s such a live wire, and such a workaholic, too. Talk about working hard and playing hard! I help her sort out a problem with burning a CD, and while I’m talking to her I suddenly realise why I can’t get my new iPod to work. I’ve downloaded the most up-to-date operating system but I need to “unpack” it and install it on my laptop. Within half an hour I’ve not only got the new iPod working but I’ve successfully transferred some of the stuff Irene gave me onto the new machine, and it’s all working perfectly. Hooray. Who’s a happy little fella this morning!

I get the bus back to Gitarama, but when I arrive home I feel so tired and listless that it’s difficult to settle to work. The power’s off, and stays off until about half past six. I text Raima to ask if I can come And inspect Ahazaza school tomorrow – she doesn’t have a yr 6 so the concours exam won’t affect her, and it’ll help me make up my target of three schools minimum inspected this week. Unfortunately Raima rings back to say she’s in Kigali tomorrow, and so I can’t come. We fix another date for next Thursday afternoon. That means I’ll have two schools on that day, the first being Cukiro which is way out in Nyarusange. Never mind, Ahazaza will be a doddle to inspect and won’t take too long.

There’s no sign of Tom, and my phone battery is flat and because of the power cut I can’t recharge it. It’s mid evening before Tom texts to confirm that he’s staying over in Kigali and won’t be home. So I warm up some soup and add bits to it to make a really thick potage which fills the gaps just nicely. For the rest of the evening I play with my iPod and watch a film called “Ashanti”. If you get the chance to see this piece of rubbish, then avoid it. It’s possibly the worst film that’s come my way since I arrived. It actually makes me angry – I’ve never watched such a load of cliché-ridden trash. The Arabs are all cruel, gay, cheating, or cowardly. The Africans are all backward, corrupt, incompetent (except their women who are always statuesque, docile, and never quite managing to cover themselves with their clothes). The whites are brave, resourceful, organised. Grrrrrrr!

Best thing about today – getting my iPod sorted. Catching up on internet news.

Worst thing about today – I still haven’t had any replies from my texts to a load of local schools and I think they’re trying to shut me out by not answering. Tomorrow I’m going to have to get either Claude or Innocent to help me fix dates, and try to get a fortnight’s worth arranged.

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