Monday, 18 May 2009

The Education Management Steering Group day

May 15th

Into Kigali on the seven o’clock bus. Today I have an Education Managers’ Working Party meeting; we don’t know what time it’s due to begin so I’m planning to be there for eight thirty. Needless to say, by eight thirty I’m the only one there. So I try to do some internetting but the system won’t load properly.

Gradually people start to arrive, but we’re not all there are ready to go until nearly ten o’clock, which is frustrating.

Charlotte gives us our working brief, and I volunteer for this meeting to chair and take notes. The main item on the agenda is to revise the “How To” guides we compiled in January. They need revision because two key people – especially Ken, who has the most experience of any of us in Rwanda as an education manager – were not able to be present at the January meetings. Also, when we were writing the thing in January we were all wrestling with the implications of the new primary curriculum, and now that it’s May we are a lot more confident we know what’s happening. Finally, VSO intends to submit these “How To” guides to MINEDUC for formal Rwandan government approval, so it’s important we get things right.

We manage to get through all our business amicably and we’re done by twelve – what has galvanised us is that VSO is paying for a free lunch at “La Planète”, so that’s a powerful incentive to get done and out to the restaurant before other people eat most of the good stuff.

I end up with not only minutes to write up, but to do all the changes to the guide. That will take some time, but will be an ideal thing to do on a “down day” in the near future.

The afternoon gradually fizzles out or winds up, depending on your viewpoint. Heloise’s bash at Gahini seems very nebulous; few people have received a direct invitation and we are beginning to think we’d be gate crashing an event which was never intended to be so big if we all roll up. Tina has been in hospital and certainly won’t be going; Épi has been looking after her, and in fact late in the afternoon Tina texts me to say she’s back home and feeling a lot better.

A bunch of us chat in “Stella” for an hour or so; then I go back to the town centre. I’ve promised to meet Nidhi in “Bourbon”, and just as I’m arriving Tiga, Amy and co are leaving – I still haven’t had much of an opportunity to talk to Tiga since well before Easter. Nidhi is in “Bourbon” and gradually we’re joined by more VSOs until there’s about six of us. Tonight there’s a free concert at the little stadium, and the girls are planning to go to the concert followed by clubbing. Els is in two minds about going; she’s running the Kigali marathon next weekend and wants to get some proper running training done this weekend. After forty minutes of dithering Els has opted in and I’ve opted out and I return late tm Gitarama.

Tom’s going down with a bad cold; we eat left overs and nip round to the Plateau café for a couple of beers before bed.

It’s been a funny old day. A lot of people have had unproductive weeks with all the bad weather (me included); Becky’s Gitarama house has fallen through (someone else came to see the property and paid his deposit in cash, so the agent signed him up on the spot). Becky’s feeling particularly low this evening.

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