Wednesday, 18 November 2009

April and Helen's party

November 14th

A very lazy Saturday today. Tom gives me a bunch of DVDs from home including a whole series of Torchwood and a three part Doctor Who mini-saga. I start the day with all sorts of expectations of writing up the Zanzibar trip, but in the end I spend most of the day watching videos – and feel much more relaxed at the end of it! There’s something about Doctor Who which is quintessentially English, and I think Russell T Davies’s imagination and the gee whiz special effects are unbeatable.

I also spend a long time sorting through papers in the flat, making a pile of stuff to go to VSO office in Kigali and others to go to the District Office to wait for Ken to arrive. I’m almost at the point where I could start stuffing things into my suitcase and it’s nice to feel on top of events. If I can carry on like this I’ll have a couple of days when I could do some more visits before I leave Rwanda.

This evening is April and Helen’s party. We have to bring pot luck food and dress in bad taste. The latter is relatively straightforward. My shorts are droopy where I’ve lost so much weight. If I wear socks with sandals and pull them half way up my legs it will look spectacularly bad taste. I find my most “square” shirt to complete the outfit with my baseball cap. I suppose I look like an elderly rap star on a (very) bad night, but it’ll do. Tom wears his USA shirt, saying that to many people America is the height of bad taste. A bit of a cop out in my book!

We make separate forays out to buy ingredients for our food offerings. Tom makes a juicy salsa and mini bread pizzas. I experiment. We have a tin of condensed milk lurking in our cupboard, close to its “best by” date. There’s a recipe in my VSO cookbook for banoffee pie, and that’s what I make. The worst part is that I have to boil the milk, in its tin, for two hours to convert it into toffee. But (I’m really bragging here) the final result is wonderful. I had no idea that banoffee pie would be so easy to make.

We meet Soraya and LĂ©onie just as we’re setting off, and Nathan too, and we descend on the girls’ house. Most of Helen and April’s batch of volunteers have come, as well as established friends like Ruairi and Martine. The French and Irish contingent leave after a while to watch the football (France beats Ireland, much to the chagrin of the emerald volunteers). We dance away the night. By the end of the party Tom is plastered and dancing with April and most of the food has gone.

We lurch unsteadily on foot through the lanes up to the main road at well past one in the morning. All the moto drivers have gone home, but at the plateau there’s somebody washing a car – in the middle of the night! It’s been a great party.

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