Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Volunteer Committee in Kigali

February 21st

Tom’s having a major lie-in today, so I’m up and off reasonably early for a VSO volunteer committee meeting in Kigali. We meet at Karibu, which is in the old colonial quarter close to the city centre and just up from the infamous “Mille Collines” hotel.

We’re an interesting bunch this time, and it’s a mark of how time is passing by that apart from Martine, Tiga Épi and I are the three longest serving volunteers on the committee.

We have a very good natured meeting with plenty of meaty issues – a new all embracing volunteer handbook which has come out in draft form but hasn’t yet reached all the committee (me included). It’ll take a lot of editing and I’m going to be chairing that meeting in May.

We also have a good chew around the subject of visa renewals; I’m certainly not the only one who is going to incur a fine this year for late renewal. There’s an awful lot of confusion over exactly what the procedures are, and above all there is confusion over when we are allowed three months grace for a tourist visa and when we have to ensure our successive year’s visas are dated end-on. I think the best way to look at this year’s problems is as a one-off which needs solving before any other batch of volunteers comes up to renewal time.

After the meeting I come straight back to Gitarama and fall asleep for an hour. Tom’s been doing some cooking. We both decide to have a lazy afternoon and evening; in a way it’s nice not to be going to a party; I think we both need to recharge our batteries this weekend.

I draft a schedule of visits which means I’m going out on visits every single day to the end of this term, and even then I’m not going to get to all the schools I want to inspect. I wonder how many days this schedule will last before outside events blows it to smithereens!

We spend a lazy evening reading and listening to music. On the one hand it feels a bit of a letdown not to be off partying on yet another Saturday; but after last weekend’s disasters I think it’s time I acted my real age for once instead of pretending I’m still m thirty….

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