Sunday, 26 June 2011

I’m looking at the man in the mirror...

Well quite a bit has happened since my last post. For starters Darryl, another vso volunteer who works in the field of Special Educational Needs came to talk to my S6 students about disability. He did some fabulous sign language with them, although one of the student’s signs for the word ‘woman’ was less than wholesome! Further to this he came and delivered loads of resources for the TRC that have been sat at the VSO office since Easter as I have been unable to find a way of getting them back to the village due to the lack of public transport and it being too heavy to get on  moto. I can get most things on a moto these days but a rice sack bigger and heavier than a person and an enormous crate of books is too much even for me.

Then on Friday I did some consultancy work for the Teacher Service Commission in Kigali. My CV had been sent by VSO to them and a Canadian NGO apparently and they had selected me and three other volunteers to work with them. We are going to be writing a resource centre manual for UNICEF’s child friendly schools in Rwanda. Its going to be quite a bit of work (and the hundreds of dollars worth of consultancy fees we will be earning all have to be given back to VSO, booooo!)  but its a great opportunity to work on a personal level in a small group with people from the Ministry of Education, Kigali Institute of Education and UNICEF so I feel very lucky.

The weekend was passed in a haze of partying. It was Tammy’s birthday (fabulous volunteer friend) and she had hired a live band to play for us. It was lovely sitting out in the sun surrounded by trees listening to live music, beer (or waragi and tonic) in hand. The evening was spent at Papirus dancing the night away. I must admit, people watching in a Rwandese nightclub is totally fascinating. The first strange thing that struck me was the way that people love to dance opposite a mirror. Now if I accidentally catch a glimpse of myself dancing in the mirror I usually move myself so I cannot see, but here people literally dance at the mirror as if it was their dance partner...I only have the courage to do that behind closed doors!

Another strange thing I also discovered that night was that people in Rwanda love Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers. American country music in Rwanda....who’d of thought it? I just never expected to hear that country twang in Africa. I am also starting to learn the words to some of the simpler and more repetitive Rwandan pop songs like Bella, Bella, Bella and Dugadugadugadugadugadoo Dugadugadugadugadugadoo which is making me feel very culturally integrated. In fact they have started to go round and round in my head as I hear them so I can feel pleased with my progress in learning Kinyarwanda especially as someone said to me that it is the 14th most difficult language in the world to learn. God knows where they got that statistic from but it makes me feel less stupid so I’m going to believe it J


  1. Hello

    I think UNICEF are doing the same thing here - our SEN volunteers have been asked to put together a resource book on SEN resources.
    They are also doing a survey of the schools which I am helping with.

    Here they love Celine Dion - its strange to hear the power ballad being played alongside the Soca!

  2. Hey Cam!

    It all seems to be happening since you donned that white coat!! loving your blog including the pics - you look great!