Monday, 10 August 2009

Charades at Nyanza

July 11th

Down to the internet café to try to get some blogging done. I manage to get my virus checker updated and read my emails, then the power goes off. I hang around in the café for forty minutes, hoping that the power cut is a temporary one, but to no avail. In the event the entire southern province is without electricity for all the rest of the morning and all afternoon too. They must be working on the transmission lines somewhere.
I get an early bus down to Nyanza, but it’s a really slow matata. Just my luck. We faff about, to-ing and fro-ing in Gitarama to pick up passengers; then we stop at every single little halt all the way down south. There’s the usual fifteen minute hanging around at Ruhango; all in all it takes two hours for what should be a one hour journey. Still, I’m not in a hurry and I won’t have many more of these opportunities to travel the African way.
At Ken’s I find I’m the first guest to arrive, but I’ve intended to get there early and help him prepare food etc for the evening. So within minutes I’m grating cabbage from his garden to make coleslaw, and also doing guacamole. We think we don’t have any lemons for the guacamole until Ken remembers he has a lemon tree in his garden, with fruit just coming onto it. So our guacamole has the freshest lemon juice in history!
People gradually arrive at the end of the afternoon, just when we’ve finally finished laying out all the food and we’re ready for them. It turns out to be a really mellow, chilled party, and good fun. There are huge amounts of food to eat, including chick pea bhajis made by an Indian friend of Ken’s who lives nearby, and fresh goat brochettes brought to the house by the bar up the road.
We set to playing charades, and the game lasts for hours. To begin with we do the usual tame stuff – films, books, shows etc; then we move on to something more challenging. We each write names of films or books and put them into a box; all the names are of things we consider difficult to dramatise. I set “Great Expectations”; I get “Amalie”. That’s a tough one to act out, but I manage it (to my surprise). Next we go a step further. We base on animals but add emotions. So I have to do an “uncomfortable flamingo”; others have delights such as a randy mosquito or a hesitant hippo or an angry ant or arthritic aardvark. It’s hilarious and Ken’s night guard watches from the distance in total bewilderment. Hayley, Charlotte and Amalia are especially good at these charades.
By eleven o’clock we’re played out and ready for bed. I’m sharing a room with Steve, and I know I’ve got to be up early to come back to Gitarama so it’s straight to bed. There’s no nightclub in Nyanza that I’m aware of, so there’s no other night life to go on to.
The road outside Ken’s house has been improved – flattened and smoothed – because they’ve just built a maximum security prison a few miles out into the countryside. It certainly makes it an easy walk from Nyanza town centre to his house, especially after dark.
Best thing about today – playing charades with friends.
Worst thing – I’m almost resigned to not being able to post any more pictures on my blog until I get home next weekend. A pity, because there’s a lot going on at the moment which makes good pictures.

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