Over a month into my yearlong stay in Rwanda and I just today found a fast enough internet connection to log onto blogspot! Until now, I've been struggling with basic email and facebook via the slowest, most unstable internet connections ever. So Hurrah for good internet!!! I've decided to post some email adaptations as blog posts for the next week or so until I'm up to date. Here goes #1 of 4:
Today I left St. Paul’s Mission in Kigali, where I, along with 17 other WorldTeach volunteers, have been getting acculturated to Rwanda and receiving Kinyarwanda instruction. We will be staying in the small town of Nyanza for our weeklong teaching practicum, while we instruct students, teachers, and community members in English. After a 2 hour bus ride, we arrived at a swanky hotel, which is pretty nice compared to the digs at St. Paul’s. Even so, the rooms hadn’t been cleaned for our scheduled arrival, and promptly flooded with torrential rains, and dinner on the balcony took 2 hours to be served after we ordered. But that was dinner. Let me tell you about today!
Today we visited an orphanage in Nyanza and spent all day playing with the children. First the kids performed a traditional welcoming song and dance for us and then we all went to a field and played soccer, took photos, etc. The long-haired women in my group got their hair braided, whether they liked it or not. I let a couple of the girls take photos with my camera. In general, they cut heads off, but some of the pics turned out pretty well.
I spent a lot of time today with three girls in particular—Sementine, Angelique, and Diane, all of whom are about 13 years old. They gave me a tour of the grounds and we took pictures outside, in the church, and in the kitchen where some dudes were stoking a huge fiery oven. Diane walked me around holding my hand, carrying my purse, and at one point told me that she’d never forget me. It was strange. I haven't decided whether some of the things the kids say are canned English phrases that they pick up in movies or songs or if they are genuinely sincere. In any case, I wrote down the names and address of the three girls, so I hope to send them the pics we took together.
Overall, it was a surreal, but happy, kind of a day. More news tomorrow on how my first day of practicum went…