Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tinks' Gitarama Pub Crawl

May 24th

Off to Momma’s house church on motos on a beautiful morning; what a pity it isn’t a working day because I’d be off to visit a school like a shot! Becky comes with us; her first encounter with Momma and the orphanage. When we get there we find that Momma’s been left yet another infant; this time a two week old little girl. It’s just like Victorian England; babies are left on their doorstep, left with the Police; left at the District Office. Momma’s had a policy in the past of not accepting children under about seven years old, but the demand is so great that she’s having to redraw her boundaries and accept these tiny tots. That in turn means alterations to rooms in the orphanage and building a new block. I really don’t know where all the money comes from , but it does, and there never seems to be any shortage of people willing to work for her.

The service isn’t as good as previous ones for me; we have an outside speaker who doesn’t make any concessions to the fact that he’s got an audience of children, and he harangues them just like the preachers in the evangelical churches around. It’s just not necessary. If he’d only look and think he’d be amazed by these children. They prepare mini sermons without any adult help; they fight each other to be able to preach and to lead the worship; they extemporise prayers at the drop of a hat; they sing and dance and make up their own hymns as a bunch. They fight to be in the choir. In terms of public speaking and confidence in addressing groups of people I’ve never seen anything like it from children so young, and it certainly knocks spots off almost anything we do in England with this age group.

After the service we buy a chicken from Momma, and back at the flat we joint it and cook up the carcase for stock. Becky stays with us for lunch which is a finishing up affair of all the old things in the fridge and food cupboard.

I suddenly remember that today is our wedding anniversary and after a couple of abortive tries I manage to get through to Teresa who’s in the middle of a shopping mall in Kent. Not the most romantic of communications but at least I can genuinely say I didn’t forget. Whew!!!

By now it’s gone one o’clock and the pub crawl is starting. The whole event has been meticulously planned and timed by Kerry. We start in the “Green Garden” and immediately fall behind schedule because we’re waiting for food to arrive. No matter; it’s nice to have both Berthe with us from Gatagara, and Ruairi from Gisagara (I’m glad I’m not having to write these names after a lot of drinks!), and we catch up on their gossip.

After the “Green Garden” we go to the “Plateau Bar” and Hayley comes to join us; she’s just back from Kigali after watching our people do the marathon. All our three runners finished, and no doubt they’re either drunk or exhausted so there’s not much point in contacting them to ask them how it went. We can’t go on to “La Planète” because it has shut at short notice, so we breeze down to “Nectar” just as it gets dark. Michael comes to join us, and we say goodbye to Berthe and Ruairi who are both travelling back down south this evening to their own homes.

While we’re in Nectar we text or phone all the non-VSO friends who often come to join us, and tell them to meet us in “One Love”. That’s after we’ve been to “Tranquillité” and caused mayhem in the rondavel. A Rwandan couple are trying to have a quiet Sunday evening meal, but we’re all in full swing and there are around twelve of us left. We launch into our own version of a Pub Quiz where somebody asks a question and the person who gets it right then asks the next. It gets very, very noisy and it’s absolutely not in the Rwandan cultural tradition…..

At “One Love” we order food; one good thing about the Pub Crawl idea is that everybody moves around at each venue so we’re sitting with different people each time and talking to them. I’m next to Christi and it seems ages since we last spoke to each other – we’ve both been busy during the weeks and the weekends too. I’m not over impressed by “One Love’s food”; my brochettes are half gristle. We’ll give it a try one lunchtime and see how things go.

By the time we finish at “One Love” it’s getting late and some people drop out to go to bed. The rest of us traipse down to “Orion” for the final stand of the night; we’ve already decided to miss out “Hotel Splendide”, and the rooftop café never even got considered…

It’s eleven before we tumble out of “Orion” and head home. The stars are fuyll out, and so many street lamps are off that you can see a good display of stars even in Gitarama town centre. Back at the flat we still don’t have any water; word on the street is that some important pump has broken at the reservoir and Electrogaz, of course, doesn’t have a spare in stock so everything must wait until business hours tomorrow (Monday).

It’s been a really good evening; good socially and without anyone going over the top. We’ve decided to eat at “Hotel Spendide” on Wednesday so that Catherine can meet as many of the group as we can rustle up; Tinks is also doing a pizza evening in Kigali on Friday but some of us will be swanning around Lake Kivu by then…..

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