Today was my day off so I decided to visit one of the nuns, Cresence, at work. Before I left I stopped at the orange tree outside of my room for some breakfast and chatted for a bit with one of the convent workers who was doing some planting in the garden. It is surprisingly easy to fake fluency in Kinyarwanda because they use lots of fillers like “Mmmm” instead of words when you are listening to someone speak. I picked up this habit really early on and have a feeling it will be hard to break when I return to America and people will probably find it rather odd.
Anyways, after this I went to visit Cresence at her office that happens to be across the dirt road from the convent. She works for an organization called Handicap International and their current project is introducing inclusive education into the Rwandan school system. It is really interesting work and I am hoping to get more involved in their projects once school is finished for the term. After visiting the center I went home and read a book in the garden (it was beautiful reading weather) until it was time for lunch (rice, beans, and avocado) and then took a short nap. After my nap I went to visit the kiddos that live behind the convent. They attend the inclusive preschool every morning and then return to stay at the convent for extra help with whatever special needs they might have. It is always fun to go play with them and always interesting. I was only licked once today and I consider that a major success! 🙂
After this I went to the school to teach my adult education class. I had a grand total of three students (all nuns) at tonight’s class so it was pretty informal and quick. Most of my regular students are teachers from the primary school and they had an event today to celebrate and remember the children and teachers from this area that were killed during the genocide. English class was understandably not a big priority today. The two nuns in the front of the picture are working on some dialogues I wrote for them about shopping in the market and then nun behind them is reading a Fancy Nancy book to practice pronunciation. (Have you ever read a Fancy Nancy book? They are wonderful and the nuns love them because little Nancy is always trying to learn new French vocabulary which offers some familiar words to my lower-level readers).
After teaching I went to join a group of students and teachers that were playing volleyball. Once they realized I could actually pass a ball I was relocated to the middle of the court so I could receive all the serves. I have never, in the 16 years I have played volleyball, been labeled as an especially strong passer so it was fun to play that role on a team! The group got smaller once it started to get dark but a small group of us continued to play until we couldn’t see the ball and decided to call it quits. I also must add that I was playing with all male students who assumed I couldn’t play and it was very rewarding to play against them and even more rewarding to win. There is no better way to provide an example of gender equality than beating a bunch of cocky boys while wearing a skirt and flip-flops.
Since it was dark outside some of the male teachers walked me home and I then went to fetch water to bathe. After I was finally clean I embarked on an unsuccessful mouse hunt throughout my room. These mice are driving me crazy and my number one goal for the weekend is to rid my room of vermin. Should be fun.
The nuns and I watched some of Sister Act 2 tonight, played six games of UNO, and in an effort to capture some images of daily life for my faithful readers I took a few pictures to show all of you!
Ibitoki n’amashaza ( mashed plantains and peas)-
this was dinner tonight and is a very common meal here
The process of straining the milk – looks pretty yummy during this stage! 🙂
This is the nun’s method for making wine- I am still learning about the process but this is apparently step five. They also make their own juice like this and once I figure out all the steps I will share more information.
It is now much later than I had anticipated staying up (the photos took forever to load) so I am off to bed! Tomorrow is another day of Umuganda and one of the nuns told me that we are going to the Genocide Memorial in our district to clean up the graves since there is a ceremony there on Sunday. I am more than a little nervous for what tomorrow will bring but I am lucky that my headmistress is going with me- I am so blessed to have my nuns always looking out for me!