Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Rwandan Staff Meeting

So we had our first staff meeting to determine the school schedule for the year this Tuesday.  Meaning that we were told to be in the staffroom at 9am to hold a meeting with the express purpose of making a schedule, what actually happened was that we had a meeting starting at 10am in which lots of things were said but when it ended at 2pm no schedule was made. Typical. When I arrived at the staffroom at 9am and sat outside with a book there were still students mopping the room so I knew we were running on “Rwandan time.” Despite knowing the meetings start notoriously late in this country – and I’ve been told most of Africa – as an American and an exceptionally punctual one I still can’t bring myself to show up anything other than on time. I was especially amused when 2 of the other teachers arrived at 9:20 saw me sitting there and commented, “you have arrived early.” I felt like telling them that, no in fact they were late, but I knew this would get me nowhere.
            Before the meeting started my headmaster called me into his office to inform me that I don’t actually have any teaching hours ( I will write  a whole post after this to explain the complicated mess that led to that particular situation). This naturally led me to ask if I even had to come to the staff meeting because I knew it was going to be pretty miserable – this kind of humor doesn’t translate in Rwanda and my headmaster said simply, “of course.”
            The meeting stretched on for 4 hours in which we covered how the new national payment system would work, the new courses being offered by the school, and some technical adjustments from the ministry. Then we covered the hours and subjects each teacher was being assigned. At which time they announced to the room that I was running the ICT, English and Modern Dance clubs to which everyone obviously broke into hysterical laughter. No one spoke a word of English in the entire meeting, no one slowed down, and no translated for me. Honestly, most of it didn’t concern me but it was still annoying.
            The last hour of the meeting was spent, I kid you not, deciding exactly what the teachers would eat for lunch in the staffroom on a daily basis. This was broken down by every day of the week exactly what they would eat and thus how much they would owe per month. Because Rwandans love to hear themselves talk every person in the room had to weigh in twice on the crucial issues of how many times a week we would eat ibitoche (boiled green bananas). This part of the conversation I could actually follow but never voiced my opinion on because they were still speaking quite quickly.
            When the meeting finally ended without a timetable being scheduled (I assume they are doing it right now without me actually – but no matter I have no teaching hours) the bursor finally decided to translate the whole meeting for me. When he finally got to the last part about the lunches and told me how much I would owe I politely informed him that I would not be eating teacher lunches because I have my own food and honestly (I didn’t say this) I am sick of Rwandan food. He was very upset by this because that meant the teachers would each have to pay more but I had understood the talk before enough to realize he was telling me to pay more than the other teachers would and thus I was being made to cover someone elses costs somehow. It wouldn’t have done me any good to confront him so instead I decided I simply would eat my own food. Everything here just gets so epically complicated. Finally I went back into my house and took a nap, the whole experience was truly exhausting.

**This actually occurred a few weeks ago now, but its still interesting


You know that paranoid feeling you get sometimes that everyone’s watching you? Or talking about you? That inflated self importance that most teenage girls suffer from at one point or another, causing them to over analyze their every move? We often refer to it as delusions of grandeur, because for the most part that is what it is: delusional. No body is interested in what they’re doing. My life is different, the delusions are real. When I leave my site, or return, the whole village knows, People can predict my shopping habits in the marker, the shopkeepers know I will buy petrol every other day. The rumors about me have already begun. They are as follows:
-The muzungu is married to an American soldier and he will visit eventually so don’t mess with her (Pl I started this one myself but it was necessary)
- The muzungu works for the US government and knows Barak Obama (I keep trying to squash this one)
- The muzungu only likes children (not true but I can see how my actions would have led to this assumption – they’re just easier)
-The muzungu is the new teacher at Ngara, she speaks Kinyarwanda, her name is Michele (finally the truth!)
At first and  sometimes still the constant attention is overwhelming, it makes you not want to do anything for fear of how it will be interpreted and people latch on to the strangest things. Me buying two basins nearly sent the village into a frenxy for example. But once you get used to it the attention is also oddly freeing. They are going to talk about me anyway. They are going to lie and make up their own explanations and so why try to be secretive? And the most entertaining thing that’s happened to the village in months. So I dance with children in the street and blow bubbles, I run in shorts, I pantamime the Kinyarwanda words I don’t know.
Let them talk.
All the attention still has its downsides, however, I tend to silence a rom just by entering.  You can watch it happen as people slowly see me. One by one, the conversations die off. Especially in my village where people know I speal some Kinyarwanda. I am left, all eyes on me, to make the first move. Usually a simple greeting sets everyone back at ease but  at times conversation doesn’t resume until I leave. I also feel uncomfortable attending meetings and celebrations. Aside from the fact that these are often long awkward boring affairs, I often become the centerpiece. I a seated on stafe, or asked to speak, or you can physically feel the distraction I am causing as people crane their necks to look at me or strain equally hard to stop themselves. I don’t mind the attention as much as I feel bad for distracting from the event. Aslo, many times, I simply get angry that people can tfocus on the task at hand  or that I am asked to give impromptu speeches in a language I don’t know well, which people only laugh at anyways.
And so my popularity becomes both a burden and a blessing (this must be what Paris Hilton feels like). Everyone knows who I am, where I work, where I live. I walk into the market and someone has already put 100rwf of peppers, onions, tomatoes and mangoes in a bag for me. The shops near my house stock the things I buy. Everything I do is interesting, and as result, it looses all its interest. I am freed from the worry of what people will think of me by realizing that they honestly don’t know what to think. But, downside, I am stuck with the awkward speeches, and front row seats

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Student Work Load

Today I was staring at the chalkboard in the our teachers lounge  which displays all the teachers hours for the day and decided to count how many courses my students take in a semester, and realized it was a lot. Instead of the American system of high school where I remember taking 6 classes a semester in an 8 hour day with 2 periods off. My students instead go 8 classes a day with a 15 minute break in the morning for tea and an hour and a half break for lunch. And the classes  are  broken into hours per week instead of a daily rotation. For example  I see each of my s2 classes five hours a week but the way that works our I see S2C three hours in one day, but none of them in a row. In the course of a week my students take  14 different subjects, fourteen! Honestly its insane. Here’s the breakdown:

Political Educatuion
Computer Science
General paper – this is a catch all class that reminds me a lot of “freshman skills”

All of their main courses they take 5 hours a day like English but some of the other classes they have 1, 2 or 3 hours a week. Religion is one  I question exactly what they are teaching because there is not an official religion of Rwanda but I have not seen a ciriculum yet. Also note, these kids are learning 4 languages and taking all their other courses in a language that is not their mother tongue. (They take all their classes in English in an effort to increase English skills more quickly). I was talking with some of the other teachers and asking them how the students handle so many different subjects – especially considering that I know that only about 70% of students pass their final exams on the first try. And yes, they have a final in all of these classes which they must pass to move on to the next grade, but national exams only in 5 or 6 every three years.  I was shocked when the response form the other teachers was, :”they are smarter than American students.” Mhmmm yea ok guys. I responded by informing them that to “pass” a test in American you usually need around 70% whereas in Rwanda 50% is passing. I guess I’ll have to see as the school year progresses but I have a feeling all these classes are too much for people to be successful in all of them. 


Spiders and I are locked in a constant battle for control of my home. There are large ones, small ones, daddy long legs, and creepy ones that have only 7 legs and look like skinny scorpions. They build webs on every surface of my home, crawl into my shower, and scuttle across my floor. The area of my house where I have my toilet and shower don’t have a ceiling they just have a roof made of beams and dirt  underneath the currogated metal. Needless to say, it is a breeding ground for spiders. Everyday I kill them and everyday more sneak in. My walls, which were already a pretty dirty white are quickly becoming a map of spider losses in our never ending battle. Honestly, I never minded spiders much in the states, they don’t really freak me out like some people, its just the principle of the thing. Spiders, like Rwandans, are going to learn that I do not like uninvited visitors in my home.  Plus, the webs are just ridiculous. I comeback after being gone for a weekend and it looks like a haunted house. I’ve sprayed at least 2 whole cans of toxic pesticides in my house and to no avail. It looks like I’m going to have to let the lizards in…

I picture this ending not unlike that song, “there was an old woman who swallowed a fly…” 

Little Differences

I realized while talking on the phone with my mom the other day just how different a Rwandan school is. And although I’m sure people at home realize that fundamentally here’s a little breakdown of how my school works on a daily basis so you can picture it better. My school is six classrooms in a row, strip-mall style, and each class has its own room like an American homeroom. Except, the students stay in these classes all day, while the teachers move from classroom to classroom to teach. The schedule, also , doesn’t include passing time I suppose on the theory that it doesn’t take any time to walk the 100 or so feet between classroom doors. Except that you do need time for teachers who don’t believe in time management to finish up, or students to finish taking notes, or me to get prepared so I lose probably 10 minutes from every 50 minute class period. All the students wear uniforms, even in public schools, so all the children are in white polos and tan skirts – my particular school has orange sweaters to go with that. The teachers have a uniform too, to cut down on distractions we all wear long white lab coats like scientists over our clothing. Sidenote: all the smocks are far too large for  me and I continually look like a clown or a ghost. My students have no textbooks, there is a small assortment of English and other subject books in the library but the students only use them to study after class. I assume if I wanted I could bring them into a classroom to use during class time but I have yet to do that. Instead the students each have two notebooks per class one for notes and one for exercises. When I write grammar rules on the board they meticulously copy them into the “notes” notebook because that is their textbook and they keep them for years. Anything that might be messier and for practice they put in the other notebook. I also have no access to copy makers or printers, if I want to do an exercise I hand write it on the board and they copy it down and complete it. If I need to give a quiz or test I have to send them out of the classroom while I write it on the board so that they can’t cheat and then they take the test by copying it down. So these are just a few differences in how my teaching goes but honestly other than that my kids are a lot like American 8th graders. They think they’re gangsters, they have little attitudes, they’re shy, I have a jokester, and a troublemaker and one girl who I’m pretty sure doesn’t understand a word I say. So despite all the differences its really the same. 


Rwanda is a hierarchal society in every sense of the word.  People refer at all times to whoever out ranks them in a situation – and Rwandans always hav a clear sense of who outranks them. I, however, often have trouble navigating these webs because I honesty, even if I screw it up I have a pass as a white lady. For example when I have a problem at school there is a specific chain of comman I have to speak to in order to get an answer even when I know that the person on the bottom of the chain can’t help me.  Also, women are simply not regarded as equal to men and as a result are shocked by my actions at times. The behaviors that have become so common to me in the past few months, but I was shocked by a recent revelation when some of the other volunteers taught me a Rwandan card game. It turns out Rwandans have changed the traditional setup of playing  cards so that Jacks are higher than Queens. On one hand this isn’t that surprising because women don’t out rank men in this society an they are just conforming the game to their own standards. However, on the other hand it seems a bit extreme to me that you would have to change a universally popular game because of prejudices against women.  Then again this is partially only a glocalization effect of making a game that was implanted from elsewhere feel a little more familiar. While I was borderline amused by this development I know that some volunteers are  much more upset about this. Its just another reminder of how different  the world I live in now is from America. Can you imagine the feminist reaction if an American man decided Jacks trumped Queens? It would be comical. 

Return to Site

Due to some extenuating circumstances I was out of my site for the first week of school. I was told it wouldn’t be a problem because all of the students don’t arrive on time anyways, so teachers generally sped the first week doing review, or ice breakers, or simply don’t show up at all. Just like with meetings, school starts on Africa time. When I returned to school on Saturday morning none of the other teachrs could be found. They had all left for the weekend and no one could tell me what the teaching hours they’d decided on were. Still not knowing what levels I was teaching or my hours I was left with the difficult task of designing a lesson that could work for any level. And assuming the week of bullshit icereakers was over I wanted to make it a somewhat valuable lesson. What I finally settled on was some introductions and then a basic overview of why it is important to learn English, where in the world English is spoken, etc. Sadly, the first day will probably be a lot of open mouthed staring at the Muzungu and trying to get used to my accent so anything too ambitious woud be a waste. I woke up bright and early Monday morning exercised to get the gitters out, and headed to the teacher’s room at 6:45 assuming assembly was at 7am. I was surprised to find, when I got there, the same schedule from last year still on board and only one other teacher – the English teacher – in the room. When I asked about the schedule he politely informed me that they had yet to make one, and no one had taught last week. He left out the implied undertone of, “because you were no here and we were not sure that you were coming back.” I felt bad for a minute and could feel the tailspin of guilt coming on that I had held up a whole school for a week with my departure when I realized that this was just an excuse. Any reason is used in this country to stall, or shirk work. Heck even at a boarding school – where everyone lives on campus  - no one comes to school when it is raining . There were other ways to handle the schedule without me here.
-Let the other English teachers have all the hours for a week.
-Make my slots free periods.
-Use last years time table temporarily.
A lack of creative thinking is a  countrywide epidemic here and I am not to blame for that. I decided to have a seat and work on my lesson plans until 8am so I could pick the brains of any teachers who emerged. I started by asking my counterpart a few questions, all of which he answered in a mumbled French that was very difficult to understand. I realized I may have misremembered which subject he taught. When I asked, in French, he confirmed he was the other English teacher. After going back and forth in French a few times we decided to go over lesson plans – his whole notebook was in French.
“That’s very impressive,” I said, “That you can translate as you teach.”
“I teach in French, “ He answered, “but write on the board in English.”
MY first reaction was anger, this was the man theyd deemed more qualified than me and he had only a paper understanding of the language he taught. But my second, and lasting, reaction was pity. Two years ago the Rwandan government decided all teaching would be done in English instead of the original French. (Teaching is only done in the local Kinyarwanda until 3rd grade). This naturally left a whole nation of teachers, who had learned and taught in French their whole careers scrambling to switch to English. (Universities have always taught in English and people would have had some experience studying it but still). The strain and confusion of this is still being sorted out but the prosperity of a significant portion of the country – students and teachers alike – who were caught tat the wrong time by this change is sad. The decision to teach in English makes a lot of sense. It will help Rwanda, but also It is just another sign of globalization and the people who got left behind in its wake. My anger at the schedule and the teacher dissipates, I sip my chai and remember that this is why I came here.
“I need a French tutor,” I say, “Could you help me with that and I’ll help you with English?”
“It is my pleasurably” he says.

Its going to be a long year.

** This teacher ended up becoming the French teacher and a woman who speaks very good English has become my counterpart instead. **

Site Day 1

I live in Rwanda. I live in Africa. Alone. I realize that I have lived in Rwanda for 3 months now but something didn’t feel real about it until I arrived at my site this week. Now I  LIVE in Africa. I cook my own food, over a petrol stove, I have my own house, I have to decorate and find places to buy silver wear and plates and mugs and there are no other Muzungus for miles. It’s a weird thought and an even weirder feeling. I woke up this morning overwhelmed at the thought of it, I had to venture to the market and bargain for food for the week and because the market closer to my site isn’t until Monday I had to take a 30min moto to a place where there was a market. Needless to say there was a lot of procrastination in my bed before I decided to get up and get moving. Hell I hadn’t slept past 6am in months, and just because I couldn’t sleep didn’t mean I couldn’t lay there and pretend.
            I first went to the center of my village hoping to find some of the items I needed a little closer to home. There is a small hill leading down into the city center and thus as I walked I could see the shops unfolding before me and slowly but surely I could see the town see me. Have you ever walked up to a place and had literally everyone stop? Fifty plus people just stop their conversations, stop whatever they are doing and watch you? Well that’s what happened. Naturally I was a bit overwhelmed.  By the time I made it down the hill into the center of the road all activity had ceased and everyone had gravitated in on me. The school I work at is a little off-set from the village so I wasn’t sure if these people had already heard there was a white woman coming, or what their expectation of me in that moment was. I froze. I was panicking. I mean really what do you do in that situation? Let me tell you that the natural response in to run, but that clearly wasn’t what I should do here. So I caught my breath, slowed my heartbeat and gave my speech.
            “Ndi umwarimu icongereza, ndi umunyamerikakazi. Ndi umukorerabushake wa Peace Corps. Ntuye hano, na Ecole Secondaire Ngara. Nzatuye hano umutwe babiri. Nitwa Michele. Sinitwa Umuzungu, Michele Kyangwa Teacher gousa. Ndishimye Kubamenya.”
            For those of you  who don’t speak Kinyarwanda it says, “ I am an English teacher, I am an American woman. I am a Peace Corps volunteer. I live here at Ecole Secondaire Nagara. I will live here for two years. My name is Michele. It is not Muzungu. Call me Michele or Teacher only. It is nice to meet you.”
            And then all hell broke loose. Every old mama hugged me and kissed my cheeks. Every old man shook my hand and every small child hugged my legs. All symphony of names were screamed at me that I will never manage to remember all of and I was welcomed as a member of the community. I don’t know if they had heard I was coming, but clearly my declaration that I had to come to teach their children English was enough to ingratiate me into their community.
            Quickly afterwards  I was asked what I was looking for and a younger woman who went to University and spoke good English became my guide to helping me find cups and plates and the like. Children were sent running through the streets to ask every shop owner if he had these items and amaceruzi (shopkeepers) were brought from their houses to open stores which were not open. Ultimately, however, the quest fell short when we could not locate forks or knives or spoons. After the town apologized profusely I hopped on a moto to the closest big city to acquire these items because clearly eating without these things would be difficult to say the least.            
            While in town I also found an internet cafĂ©, and although the internet wasn’t working today, I was able to use the electricity to charge my computer, which is nice because the electricity in my home will not be turned on until the children are back in school. Because the electricity runs on a generator we use it only when there are students who need it to study in the dorms at night, meaning that I’ve still got another 3 weeks of living without electricity. Disappointing, yes, but hardly something that I’m not used to. There are, anyways, many solutions to this problem. I can charge my phone by dropping it off with a boutique owner and paying 100 RWF to charge it there, or by taking it to a man in the village who uses a car battery to charge electronics. However, since I didn’t buy the car charger with my phone that sometimes becomes more problematic. Where the computer is concerned it gets a little harder because naturally it is a more expensive commodity. No one would steal my phone because its not even as nice as the ones that most Rwandans use, and they wouldn’t want to break my trust over something so small. A computer, however, is a big ticket item and thus to charge it somewhere I also have to stay with it, which is a long process. In Kamonyi I knew a few tea shop owners who were happy to charge me a little extra for Icayi (tea) with a side of electricity but I have yet to find that in my village. So for now I have to go into the big city where this kind of thing is more normal. But eventually, buhoro buhoro (step by step) I will integrate into my new community and know where the hot spots are. 

No Teaching Hours

After three months of teacher training and two weeks of waiting to hold our start of the year staff meeting I was informed that I will not actually be teaching anything at my school, until February, maybe. Wihangane (be patient). The whole thing is a complicated web of beauracracies and half truths and hierarchy all complicated by the fact that I was born with male reproductive organs thus command less respect in this society.
            First, my school is switching from teaching S1, 2, 3 to S2, 3, 4. The system is different here but S4-6 are basically high school and high schools here are all vocational schools were you are assigned based on your national exam scores from S3. For example the to “options” as they are called that my school will offer are MEG (Math Economics and Geography) and CEM (Computer science, Economics, and Math). S4 starts later than the other grade levels in February because it takes time to get the tests graded and the students to new schools. So if the school gets S4 (that decision needs to be made my the ministry and hasn’t been yet) I will get to teach S4, but we will not know until February.
            Also, for reasons that are unclear my school already had one too many teachers and thus not enough hours to go around. To receive their full benefits from the government teachers must have 30hours a week, but they are all getting only 24-27 and in danger of losing out on money. My best understanding of how this happened is that the headmasters nephew was hired over the winter break for obvious reasons. Since I don’t get benefits from the government it didn’t make sense for me to take hours away from paid teachers who do and further compromise their position with the ministry. So on the face of it, it makes sense that I would have no hours, but really what should have happened was for the HM to make the logical decision in advance not to hire the extra teacher – but logic never prevails in Rwanda. And thus I have to wait until February to see if I get teaching hours and until then I will just be integrating in my community and sitting in on classes. If I don’t get teaching hours at that time I will be moved to a new school that does need me. 

**The Schedule was adjusted after this and I do in fact have teaching hours now


So today I was informed by my headmaster that I would not be teaching English. The school, as it turns out, requested a science or math teacher from Peace Corps which Peace Corps no longer provides – no one in my training class is here to teach anything other than English and they know that. So, naturally, I am frustrated but I persist. “What will I be teaching then?” The response was even more annoying, “Computer Science, and running the English club.” Aka I will have almost no hours of work per week and will be teaching computer science in a school where there are 26 computers but these cannot be used because the district didn’t get electricity this term. Meaning I will be drawing computer screens and keyboards on the blackboard to teach my lessons. Also, my headmaster informed me that it was good I didn’t have my full 15 hours a week of teaching so I could have more time for community integration. 15 hours is nothing, there is still plenty of time for integration, I literally don’t have enough things to fill my days at this point. Needless to say I was annoyed and I demanded to know who would be teaching English, because clearly I am the most qualified English teaching at this school. I was promptly introduced to the other English teachers and my anger heightened to an irrational level. The highest level English teacher – the level I was told I would be teaching – and realized the man couldn’t differentiate between L’s and R’s. He said my name Michere, and asked that I “Prease not be angly. ” All the other English teachers then proceeded to tell me that I would be doing the most teaching the English club which is not mandatory. No one could really tell why I was protesting so hard that these English teachers are all qualified to teach other subjects, whereas I am not, and my English is perfect. Finally when I couldn’t get anyone to listen to me I stopped speaking in my slow English teacher voice and unleashed on them in the kind of English two native speakers would use with each other. Naturally, I was confronted with blank stares until someone finally said, “You must speak slowerly we cannot understand.” To which I replied, “THAT IS EXACTLY MY POINT! I AM THE ONLY NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER AND ITS SLOWER!” Clearly I had lost my patience at this point and declared that this was not the last time we would have this conversation because I WOULD be teaching English come 2012, and stormed off to my house. Luckily it started raining shortly after and Rwandans are afraid of the rain so no one came to bother me. UGHH this is utter nonsense. There is my rant. I just thought I’d fill you in on the types of illogical decision making I deal with on a daily basis. I have no way of knowing this for a fact but something along the lines of the man who will be teaching high level English is related to someone  important, had some other kind of clout, or is simply a man and I am a woman and thus despite the fact that I am here so that these children can learn English from an English speaker, I will not be doing so. To calm my rage I have begun drawing a mural on my walls in crayon, I can’t wait to see how the other teachers react when they  see that. Weird life.

**As of time of posting this the schedule was readjusted and I am teaching 15 hours of English 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years

Several volunteers and I decided to ring in the New Year by going into Kigali and clubbing for a night. This decision was made to prevent us from having to take 7 -8 hour bus rides up north meaning that we could go for one night and get home, but because this is Rwanda that is not at all what happened. We got into Kigali during the afternoon on New Years Eve and immediately tracked down burgers at Mr. Chips, easily my favorite spot in Kigali. It’s an American style restaurant run by a Canadian ex-pat who is constantly present at his establishment and loves PCVs, and their burgers taste like real American burgers!!! Most other places here put curry in the meat (no idea why) and thus they don’t taste quite like home. After our burgers we headed to the hotel where we immediately hopped in the pool, despite the fact that it had just started to rain.
            For the actual celebration we headed to a swanky bar named Heaven that was doing a cocktail countdown where a different cocktail was on sale every hour and came with a complimentary appetizer, aka it was the perfect situation. After we rang in the New Year, a little after midnight, we headed back to our hotel where there was another nightclub so that we could keep dancing. Some highlights:

-       Being, by far, the loudest table of people at Heaven even though most of those present were Americans and there were only 6 of us.
-       The group of other PCVs that were present commenting that we were “ an interesting group”
-       Being the only people dancing
-       When our Rwandan friend who was with us decided to get on stage and sing with the band.
-       The free cheeseburgers that came with the last drink! And us eating them extra fast and claiming we didn’t get them!
-       The large group of Christian missionaries who were there who didn’t drink, and were thus offended most of the night. Also, they all were women with buzzcuts.
-       Kim and I getting drinks with the owner of the second club until he delved into some 1994 related topics that we decided we were too drunk to discuss and then had to hide from him all night.

The next day we were, understandably, hungover and thus slept until the last possible moment. Instead of heading straight to the bus stop we went to Bourbon coffee because we had met one of the baristas the night before and knew we could get free caffeine (Bourbon is very expensive so it was a big win). Once we did head to the bus station we were alarmed by how empty it was, Nyabagogo is never empty, at least half of Africa is there milling around at any given time. This was a bad sign. We soon discovered that all buses going anywhere outside Kigali had stopped for the day. Luckily one girl we were with lives 20 minutes outside the city, and thus we headed there and the adventure continued.
      We were so exhausted we spent most of that night watching silly movies and lying on the floor. In the morning, one we felt better, we decided to head out to another PCVs site on Lake Kivu and have a nice afternoon  enjoying the view. The lake was gorgeous and definitely worth the adventure to sit and enjoy it all afternoon. That night we made pizza in a Peace Corps oven at Saaras house, it was a huge success and we stuffed our faces! I finally got home late last night exhausted and happy. It was a great weekend and a great start to the new year.

Now I have my first Rwandan Staff meeting in a few hours to decide what I will be teaching this year. There has been some contention on this point so wish me luck, because I will not last 2 years if I really have only 4 hours of teaching a week.

            Happy New years to everyone! Good luck with your resolutions! And I hope it brings you everything you’re looking for.