Thursday, 2 October 2008

Counting my cash

September 28th

A lazy day today. Irene’s up and off for a ten o’clock appointment with one of the teachers in the Gihembe refugee camp who is being sponsored by Finland to relocate there and begin a new life in Northern Europe. I have to say, the cold and rain of Gihembe is at least a half-way preparation for the rigours of Finnish winters!

I get up and off by half past ten, to go up to the VSO office and do some blogging. Fortunately for most of the morning I’m the only person in the building, so it’s nice and quiet and I can work at my own speed. By just after mid-day Épi’s surfaced and arrived with Janneau to download and print stuff for next week’s lessons. Her computer has completely broken down, so she’s rather bereft at the moment. Like several of us, she’s going home for Christmas and no doubt Santa will provide her with a new computer.

Thinking of Santa, I discover that Irene is doing a Sint Niklaas party (traditional Dutch Christmas do) on December 5th. But that’s the day Els and I are flying home. Oh well, we’ll hand in our presents beforehand. (It’s rather like one of those “secret Santa” stunts we do in England).

It’s yet another boiling hot day, burning hot in the middle of Kigali. I drift down to the “Blues Café” (one of several new hip joints in the town centre. Kigali’s getting more westernised by the week). As with yesterday there’s a clutch of the new arrival VSOs who seem to have adopted it as their Kigali base. Els is there, too, and we discuss some of the day to day problems she’s having in her work and the ongoing festering saga of her accommodation. Hayley and Nidhi arrive, and Hayley and I leave straight away to get a very sweaty and stuffy bus back to Gitarama. It’s so unbearably hot and humid on the bus that we both doze off. Half way along the route it starts raining, and those few windows which were open are slammed shut immediately. I think we’re only saved from suffocation by the constant opening and shutting of the main doors to drop people as we start getting close to Gitarama. The new buses have those horrible plastic seats and after an hour and a half your clothes are stuck to them and saturated with sweat. Niiiiice!

Back home I fall into bed and sleep for a couple of hours. Tom’s there and says I’m snoring enough to rattle the windows! I know – I’ve given myself a raging sore throat with my snores!

The important job today is to count all my Euros and see if I have enough to pay for my flight home. Fortunately I think I do, or at least to pay in a mixture of Euros and Rwandan francs if necessary. I’m still really cross with my credit card company, but of course at this distance and with communication so expensive and difficult it’s not very easyto sort out these things.

I wake up in time for the evening muzungu meal but don’t feel too wonderful. Once again I’m 60 trying to play at being 30! It’s Tim and Michelle’s last evening in Gitarama; they give us (yet another) bagful of spices.

On the way home I fall in a deep rut on an unlit piece of dirt road between Soraya’s house and ours, and almost sprain my ankle. That reminds me to get my torch handle mended when I come home at Christmas.

Back home both Tom and I are feeling whacked, so we both fall into bed. I can’t even remember if I locked the front door. Fortunately Teresa doesn’t ring me; even if she had I quite probably wouldn’t have heard the phone ringing even though I sleep with it next to me on the pillow!

Best thing about today – just being able to slob around and recover from Saturday’s excesses!

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