Orphanage Visit and Cockroach Encounter

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Last week I went to visit an orphanage near my site. It is located just off the main road when you are traveling from my site to Kigali and I have passed it many times over the past five months but I have never really known what it was. I googled the name and was pleasantly surprised to see it was an orphanage and the missionaries who are the current directors are even from Colorado! It is truly a small world. I was planning to take a motorcycle (my first ride on a moto ever) but then the director ended up picking me up in his car since he was out running errands. I can tell you that I wasn’t really devastated to have the car instead of the motorcycle! We arrived at the orphanage around 10:15 am and things were pretty quiet since most of the kids were at school. The director introduced me to the few kids who were around and then we went to meet his wife. They live on the orphanage property and have many of the amenities in their house that I have been missing while living in Rwanda. The director’s wife served me freshly bake scones and there was even ice in my water- it was fantastic! They also have an adorable little boy who was happy to lend me some of his DVD’s for the weekend and show me all the cool lizards that live in their plants. The orphanage is beautiful and I am really excited to start working there. The director took me on a tour of the land- it is a really impressive set up. They have an enormous cow (the healthiest one I have seen in Rwanda), pigs, goats, and even fish ponds!

There is a dormitory for the girls and one for boys and they all eat together in one dining room. There are almost 60 children who live in the orphanage and also about 10 widows who help out with the kids. There are also a couple of classrooms, a small library, and a neat playground that some Belgium missionaries built a while back. On our tour I met Cody, the youngest orphan there, who is about three years old. He is adorable and when I saw him he ran up and gave me a great big hug and then preceded to throw his hands in the air to be picked up- a universal sign of cuteness. They are not really sure what to do with him since he has some special needs that they are not equipped to handle. He was epileptic when he was younger and now has some developmental problems. I am looking forward to seeing lots more of him over my next two years! For now I will be working with the p6 students (in their last year of primary school- so about the equivalent of our 6th grade) once a week. They have a national exam at the end of the year that will determine what secondary school they can attend so I will hopefully be able to help them prepare to be successful and get a spot in a good school. I will be tutoring in all subjects, even math, which is a scary thought… time to brush up on 6th grade math! 🙂

Now for the cockroach encounter. Last week at dinner the nun next to me opened the sugar bowl and then causally set it back down without scooping out the copious amounts of sugar that Rwandans are so fond of. I happened to look over and was disgusted to see a giant cockroach frolicking in the sugar bowl! Ughh, it was so incredibly gross but the nuns handled it like it was an everyday occurrence. This casual response has made me rather paranoid that cockroach infestation in our food is a common thing and I just didn’t know- sometimes ignorance really is bliss. Once the nuns realized I was really grossed out by this they took great pleasure in chasing me around the table while threatening to dump it out on me. The head nun chided me like a small child while informing me that it couldn’t hurt me. I told her that I don’t really care that they are not poisonous- they are still disgusting. Someone finally disappeared with the first bowl and returned with a different container of sugar. I don’t use that much sugar anyway (much to the distress of my nuns) but now I will really think twice about taking the lid off the sugar bowl again!

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