My First Rwandan Birthday

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I have decided that the best part about starting your birthday off by throwing up in a bucket is that the day can only get better from there! Getting sick during the night, or early morning before your family gets up, really complicates your life because our host families lock us in the houses at night. So when you wake up sick sometimes a bucket is your only option. The life of a Peace Corps volunteer is not always glamorous.

Yesterday was probably not my best birthday considering I was battling some type of stomach flu for a majority of the day, but I ended up spending the afternoon in the infirmary watching movies with another friend who was sick as well, so really it wasn’t that bad of a day (besides the minor complication of having to vomit in the outdoor latrine which really just makes you feel more sick than when you went in). I didn’t really miss too much during my sick day thanks to the fact that it was rained consistently through the night and into the morning so the students didn’t show up to model school.

You can always tell when it is going to rain here because the streets are empty and even the children, who usually roam about at all hours of the day, are tucked safely away in some type of shelter. It is really interesting to see how everything just shuts down when the rain comes. From what I can tell this is partly because of the condition of the roads when it rains and partly due to a cultural belief that you should not be outside in the rain. One afternoon, after a particularly intense game of soccer, I attempted to stand in the rain to wash the mud off of my legs. My family does not like when I am dirty and I did not want to waste precious drinking water on washing mud off of my legs so using rain water seemed like a very logical solution to this dilemma. Standing in the rain was a very upsetting action to my family and I was eventually pulled inside the house by my 9-year-old brother and given a brief lecture about coming inside when it rains. Apparently even the children here know better than to stay out in the rain- lesson learned.

I am now a year older, and after a few months in Rwanda I think that I can safely say that I am a year wiser. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday cards and facebook messages- it really helped brighten my day to hear from everyone back home! After this week we have two more weeks of model school and then we start the home stretch to swearing in as official Peace Corps volunteers on December 15th. Then I will move on from training to my permanent site for the next two years. I am very excited to finally be at site and it gives me something fun to look forward to on the days when we have 7 hours of language class and things are looking rather bleak!

Sending everyone back home lots of love from Rwanda!

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