Sunday, 6 March 2011

All the small things

As I head towards my two month anniversary of being in Rwanda next week, I think its timely to do a little progress check and reflect on my small achievements.
1) Getting on a moto
Now I’m still a long way off being able to do this in an elegant or ladylike fashion, if indeed I will ever achieve this, but I can now do it without splitting my trousers. Now everyone who travels along the roads to the East of Rwanda will be spared seeing my pink la senza knickers flapping in the wind. Thank goodness for that.
2) Being creative in the kitchen
 Again, its not something I’ve completely mastered but progress has been made. I can now make risotto using Rwandan rice, creamy potato and tomato curry, corned beef hash, chips and a rather nice pasta salad. So I’m getting better at making stuff with tomatoes, potatoes, onions and bananas. Delia should watch out. I still have at least one culinary disaster a week, but that means I make around four edible plates of food so the balance is tipping in my favour.
3) The rice sack queen
I’ve made some really pretty rice sack visual aids. I’ve copied out a poem in French, made a map of Rwanda (going to do one of the whole of Africa next), made a quiz on learning styles just to mention a few things. I love spending so much time drawing J.
4) Languages
Again, definitely a work in progress but the French is starting to improve a bit. I said something in French to a guy when I checked into a hostel and he sort of understood me and I’ve sent my first ever text message in French. Kinyarwanda is proving to be a challenge, but at least I’ve remembered most of what I learned in the first place. I’ve not given up yet, I will improve!
5) Packing
I’ve become very good at packing as little as possible for a weekend away in order to fit loads of food and rice sacks in my bag for going back home. Its a fine art, it really is, you have to think of dual function. A sarong doubles as a towel and a skirt or scarf, a pair of flip flops stops you getting electrocuted in the shower at the places us vsos stay at and can also be worn out and about, shampoo can also be used as soap, a hoodie can be used for keeping warm but also as a pillow if the one you are given looks worse for wear...
6) Squatting
Ok so none of you really want to know this but I’ve developed muscles which facilitate the process so to speak. Its still a challenge but not as much as it was.
7) The bucket shower
Definitely mastered this one. You fill up half of a small bucket with water from a jerry can. You boil 1 kettle full of water and tip it in. You carry the thing with a cup in it to the outside room. You go back and grab a bag containing shampoo, conditioner etc and put it in the room. You lock the door to the house because you can’t see it from the wash room and  voila. You have to remember to unlock the front door and take everything back to the house after the ‘shower’.
Well thats it for now. Quite a long list!


  1. Hi Camilla, am enjoying your blog and getting lots of tips for when we come out to Rwanda with VSO in September. Will be strange to meet you as already feel I am getting to know you via your blog. Lesley Hooper, Frome, Somerset.

  2. Its amazing how much you learn - do you think these skills will transfer back home - maybe you'll never sit on a toilet again! Do you have skype at all? Sxx