Friday, July 1, 2011

First Impressions

Finally the day has come, I have an official Peace Corps invitation and a country to report. I will be teaching English and doing English teacher training in Rwanda. This girl is officially fleeing the country September 12th for those of you who need to mark your calendars to weep my departure or celebrate my absence in your life, whichever floats your boat. Despite my own excitement about this assignment it has been met with its fair share of less-than-enthusiastic and down right negative responses. Although I have gotten very tired of calming people's fears I do understand their natural impulse. While I'm going to gloss over the history of Rwanda in this particular post, let me tell you my first impressions of this assignment and the things I am excited for:

1. French, English and Kinyarwanda are the national languages; meaning I'm already 2 for 3. Not a bad start.
2. There is no snow in Rwanda! It appears that my four years in Syracuse have acted as "time served" towards my life long snow count, and I'm completely ok with that.
3. Rwanda is described as the land of eternal Spring. See reason #2.
4. As a program that is repopulating itself after several years of absence, we will be reestablishing Peace Corps as an organization in Rwanda. Hopefully this will mean we are busier and working more closely with each other to achieve this goal.
5. Rwanda is a small country. So hopefully I'll be able to see all of it in my time there.
6. MONKEYS! and GORILLAS! yes I know this should not be a major factor in my excitement, but it is!
7. Plastic grocery bags are apparently illegal in Rwanda to prevent litter and to preserve the beauty of the landscapes. I couldn't love this law more.
8. What better place is there to learn about and actively participate in the process of Peace than Rwanda. Considering their recent history and the steps they have taken to overcome it, Rwanda stands to teach us all a lot about Peace and reconciliation and I am excited to witness it first hand.

Since my departure is still 72 days away (yes there is a count down) there will probably be a few more posts before I leave. Until then there is lots of shopping to do, English grammar to study, and American experiences to fill the time.