Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Bruce and Tom's iced bun workshop

March 28th-29th

More idleness. Saturday is umuganda but this time we all decide to give it a miss (even Christi). We get up late and keep the curtains closed all morning. I spend an energetic morning watching videos – I end up watching more videos in three or four days than in the previous three or four months. “The Golden Compass” is particularly good.

Our torpor is only shifted at the end of the afternoon. The evening is both Michael’s 61st birthday, and a farewell to Sally and Nicole who are returning to England at the end of the month after their three month placements. They are not best pleased with VSO’s admin; somehow we seem to have a knack for never getting things quite right. (And it is a bit rich if we receive nit-picking queries over a few hundred francs travelling expenses when we have volunteers here used to handling and accounting for million pound budgets in their schools.

Michael has opted for a meal at the “Hotel Splendide” to mark his birthday; not for him a night of bopping and general excess at Gahini! The food is good. Tom and I decide to make up one of the packets of cake mix I received as a birthday present, and to our great surprise we find it comes out very well. Michael gets twelve buns with “umunsi mwiza Mike” (Happy Birthday Mike) lettered on them. Everyone is suitably impressed, but in truth all we had to do was add a couple of eggs and some water to the dry mixture, which is, and bake it in our oven.

Ken has come up from Nyanza for the occasion, as has Joe from Nyamasheke. It’s nice to see both of them again. Piet is back from Uganda and we catch up on his gossip.

After the meal Hayley, Charlotte, Tom and I are not yet ready for bed (it’s only ten o’clock on a Saturday night – come on folks!), so we go to the “Orion” nightclub. This is a brand new venture, and is underneath the restaurant which hadn’t got its act together when we visited it. The dance hall sounds as if it’s almost completely empty, so we go to the outside bar which is very pleasant under a large thatched canopy, with TV screens showing endless replays of football (no sound), and a sound system competing with the even bigger system in the club itself.

We spend the rest of the night discussing philosophy and getting steadily more tipsy and taking silly photos of each other until, at around half past one, we decide it’s a decent enough time to go back home to sleep.

On the way home I realise that the sound system I can hear from my bedroom is, in fact, coming from “Orion”, which is almost a mile away from our place. I dread what it must be like for those poor people living above town centre shops!

Tom has had a tad too much to drink. I fall into bed and go out like a light. He goes to the kitchen to refill his water bottle, and somehow manages to fall asleep on the kitchen floor and not wake up till after three in the morning.

Needless to say we have a “slow Sunday”. Joe comes round on his way to get the bus back to Nyamasheke and collects a flash from me with loads of pictures on it. Like a clot I’ve forgotten to download a long letter from the US Peace Corps girl who is going to be based at Nyamasheke, but I’ll forward it to him as soon as I get back to my emails.

Geert texts me from Holland to see if I’ve survived the hacking attack on my computer, and says he also has emails for me. Tuesday first thing is going to be email time!

Kersti phones and invites me to Kigali for the evening, and to help her in the American School tomorrow morning for a geology revision session with her pupils. That’s a perfect arrangement because I’m going into Kigali anyway to get money changed.

We eat at Sole Luna with Leah, her mum (who’s a volunteer at Kibuye, working with refugees), and Catherine. Catherine has just landed a job at one of the English speaking private schools in Kigali, and in fact she is teaching one of President Kagame’s children in one of her English classes. She’s also lined up for quite a lucrative job teaching English to civil servants in a scheme due to kick off later in the year, although the funding and arrangements for this are not yet certain.

I know I’ve had a terribly lazy few days, but I feel all the better for it. Monday and Tuesday and Thursday of next week are already mapped out as active days; Wednesday will be a quiet day with some English lessons and Friday will be getting packed for an early start on Saturday to Uganda. So there – and that’s another school term and another three months done in Rwanda!

No comments: