Sunday, 20 March 2011

Four days of green

Well it has been all about green things recently. Green cards, green gardens and St Partricks day...
When I found out that I wasn’t supervising any exams or doing any teaching on Thursday and Friday I decided it was time to get my green card. This is so that I am deemed to be staying legally in my district, but the main motivation for me is that I get to see the gorillas for half price when I finally get round to going. Now I have to say it was a learning curve. First I had to get a 50 minute moto ride to my district capital Rwamagana. Then I had to go to the bank, pay some money and get a receipt. Then I had to go to the Rwandan revenue authority and get a receipt to show the fact I already had a receipt from the bank. I had to take my receipt for the receipt to the immigration office but it was closed. So the next day I went to the immigration office, filled in a form, showed my papers and got told to come back later. Which I did. I then stood in a queue for ages, made lots of small talk with immigration officers and got my green card. The sense of achievement I felt was comparable to when I beat Darth Vader in the Bristol half marathon.  I will look after that green card, I really will.
Well after hanging out with Steven and Mary in Rwamagana when I wasn’t engaged in the above process I travelled down south for the vso St Patricks day celebrations in Gitarama. Gitarama is the second biggest town in Rwanda and it has a large vso contingent and some truly awesome houses. I stayed with Trisha and April at their 5 star hotel. They have sofas, a fridge, 3 indoor flushing toilets, an oven, a dresser full of crockery, reliable electricity and running water, and finally the best thing of all: hot water. I had my first proper hot shower since the 13th of January. It was just so brilliant, I could have stayed under it forever. I will definitely be back to the Gitarama Hilton. I have been in 7 vso houses in Rwanda and their house wins top prize so far.
That evening we went to the aptly named green gardens for beer and goat brochettes. I am getting a bit of a taste for goat, its really not bad. If its old it can be a bit on the chewy side but on the whole it satisfies the meat cravings. It tastes a lot like those strips of stewing/frying beef you can get from Tescos. You just have to put the image of the little goats hopping around the hills out of your mind. People take their goats for walks here, its really lovely. The goats are amazingly obedient, much better behaved than most dogs when out for a walk. They don’t appear to pull or run on ahead and they never make a fuss when they see other goats.
The final thing to say is that I got my first couple of parcels so thank you Cheddar Michelle and Chesterfield Michelle! Love you both lots, it really made my week. It seems to take about a month for parcels to reach Kigali. I will also try and send stuff back to the UK now I’ve finally worked out where the post office is in Kigali. Its not in the town centre like you might imagine, but near ‘wedding roundabout’, a very curious place which I feel deserves a blog entry all of its own at a later date.


  1. Goat is quite common on the menu in Spain.

    Why don't you post some pictures of Nzige so we can see your environs? In looking up where you had been it struck me that Rwanda as a country on the map is a similar shape to Australia, rotated about 20 degrees anticlockwise.

  2. Yey!!!!! glad it arrived!! wedding R'about sounds v.intersting - do people get married on it?! looking forward to seeing pics of the gorilla's when you get there! hope they don't hiss & claw in your direction! lol! my friend saw ur gorilla card & was quite impressed! she could tell it was a gorilla near enough straight away! xxxxx