Friday, 12 June 2009

Film night in Gitarama; Becky's palace!

June 10th

Today I had planned to go out and visit a school, somewhere not too far away like Nyabisindu B out in Nyarusange secteur. But when I got to the office nobody seemed to know where the school was, and I still felt tired after Catherine’s visit, and there was plenty of things to do in the office, so I ended up doing a full day’s work sitting at my desk. Much to the amusement of many of the other D O workers who seem amazed that I can sit at a computer screen for hours at a time without going berserk.

I really should have gone out to the school because I’m fast running out of days to do visits this term, but what the hell, if I don’t meet my target of school visits by the time I leave in December they’re hardly going to sack me, are they?

I decide to work on the census analysis for our new tronc commun schools as they are less complicated than the bigger, well established secondaries. I won’t bore you with all the details, but here are just a few highlights. The average age of first year secondary schools in my district is 16. There are more girls than boys enrolling in these new secondary schools. Of 23 schools which have sent in their data (eight need chasing), thirteen have no computers at all, and the rest have only nine computers between them. Not one school has an internet connection. Every single school says it has an active anti-AIDS club. One pupil in 12 is staring secondary school over eighteen years old. On the positive side, the vast majority of buildings being used are in good condition, and there seem to be plenty of teachers, all of whom are qualified at the most basic level.

Ernestine, the secteur rep from Muhanga secteur, comes in to see me – there is a big meeting of secteur reps today. She gives me an invitation to her sister’s wedding, which she is organising, but unfortunately it’s taking place on the day I fly back to England for the summer. Emmanuelle also comes into say hello. One of Soraya’s closest friends from the Philippines is pregnant and has asked Soraya to be a godparent; it’ll be her fifth god-child and she’s really happy.

I slog right through till the end of the afternoon, by which time I’ve sorted all the information I can get from the figures. Even in these secondary schools they can’t make their figures add up – there are crossings out and tippexes galore. You’ve sometimes got to try to divine what the headteacher is thinking.

At the end of the afternoon I collect the post and return home. I drop Hayley’s paper off for her. She has found an American Peace Corps worker in Kibuye who might be interested in taking on Pappy, the dog, when Hayley leaves. We all hope it will actually come off. Pappy has just been neutered by the vet and is still in recovery; all that his neutering means is that he’s marginally less bouncy than before.

In the evening we all, twelve of us, descend on Becky’s to watch a video. The intention is to watch “Pan’s Labyrinth”, but we can’t get the subtitles to work and the film we have is a pirate version in Spanish. So we switch to an old Monty Python from 1983. Some of the humour has lasted well; other parts are positively painful. After all the traumas with her accommodation, it is good to report that Becky’s house is absolutely gorgeous. All the repair work seems to have been done. Her lounge has nearly the same floor area as our entire flat; her bedroom is the size of our lounge. She has three spare bedrooms and a spare bathroom; her own bedroom has an en-suite bathroom.

Just as well. Matteo, the young Italian lad who was working at Kivumu with the Franciscan Friars last year has come back to Rwanda and is looking for a place to stay until July/August. Maybe Becky can rent him a room. There’s also a possibility that the FHI intern who is arriving this coming weekend may be billeted in another of her rooms. And if she takes on Delphine as her domestique there’s the possibility that they might arrange for her to sleep over some nights so that she doesn’t have to trek all the way back out to Rutarabana every time, especially if she is working later than about five o’clock at night. A lot of decisions for Becky to make.

After the film Tom and I walk Christi home, and then it’s straight to bed. Let’s hope I make the most of my school visit tomorrow.

Best thing about today – getting another wodge of statistics’ done and finished. Film night with a gang is always good fun. We had kit kats, biscuits, crisps, popcorn, lollies and peanuts as nibbles – all of us had brought something to eat. That’s what makes these evenings such good fun.

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