Thursday, 9 August 2012

The final post!

So now I've been back home in England for two months I think its time to muster up the courage to write the final post as Camilla is no longer in Rwanda. I will miss writing this blog as it has been my constant companion since I was recruited to do VSO right through to now as a returned volunteer. It has helped me to focus my attention on all of the positive, memorable, funny, strange and wonderful moments doing VSO. Of course there have also been difficult times, times when I just wanted to go home, times when I missed my family and friends and times when I just felt totally frustrated by a culture that was so different from my own. And looking back on my blog I can see from my posts exactly when those moments occurred!

It has been a learning process to try to capture and communicate some of my experiences. It is by no means a complete account of all I have done and experienced and you always have to remember that an internet blog is a very public forum and that is a difficult aspect of using one to write about personal experience. So I am going to finish by thinking about three big questions....

Would I volunteer again?
Yes definitely but not right now. I would love to do it again when I retire as its such an amazing way of sharing your life experience with others while also creating a whole load more life experiences at a time when others are sat at home. I think having lots of life experience is a huge benefit when doing VSO, both for yourself in terms of riding out the tough times and also for others whom you meet in that you have lived such an interesting life and developed so many skills to share. I met a volunteer in Rwanda who had volunteered for the first time when he was about my age and then again when he retired and I think it gives you a really interesting perspective on doing VSO.
Timing is such an important thing when doing VSO. You have got to be at a point in your life when there is no one depending on you back home and when you have the freedom to enjoy the experience without any guilt about leaving for 1-2 years. You have also got to be a point where financially you can cope with it. Although you don't need stacks of money to do VSO, your volunteer allowance certainly doesn't cover mortgage payments on a house, help you save towards a pension or property or pay for you to have any holidays so financially you do still take a hit.

Is volunteering effective?
Certainly it can be on an individual level with some people you work with directly. Also I think that you can have a very small impact on a process of change within a country, for example in my role with changing the curricula for TTCs. While the curricula may well change again or progress might not be sustained, it is a change in thinking that is really important. I certainly think that sending volunteers is more effective than just sending stuff that people don't know what to do with eg. huge inkjet printers, like some of the big NGOs and organisations do.
However I sometimes wonder about the effectiveness of sending a European like myself to work in Rwanda. It is difficult because I am well trained and experienced in all of the child friendly teaching methods etc that they want to introduce in Rwanda and sure, I can adapt them for a different context. However I still think that it is much more powerful to be trained by an African who has been very successful in an African context with limited resources etc than a European person who grew up and worked in Europe, however well they have adapted to the African context. Africans training other Africans is definitely the way forward and at least VSO is trying to achieve that through national volunteering and diaspora programmes.

Has doing VSO changed you and if so, how?
This has been a question that I've wondered about since coming back. It certainly changed me while I was in Rwanda as I had to adapt to a very different way of life, and when I returned there were definitely some things such as shops, public transport etc that took a while to re-adapt to in the UK. As time has gone on I realise it has changed me in many subtle, small ways. For example I am much more interested in what happens in Africa and I seek out the news there, particularly the area around and including Rwanda. I still love listening to East African music back in the UK. I have eaten a brochette recently! In the sale of a clothes shop I bought a top because I loved the colours and african style print. But the most important lesson it has taught me was about having a balance in my life. Having recently worked crazy hours for a few weeks back here it makes me realise I don't want to return to work burnout, no matter what I get paid. It simply isn't worth it. It is important to have time for yourself, your family and friends.
I will always be linked to Rwanda and I have no doubt at all in my mind that I will go back there for a visit in a while.

So thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. I will definitley be writing another blog soon with a different theme so perhaps you haven't heard the last of me yet...

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Culture and the classroom

For the last three weeks I have been doing some work teaching English at a summer school for 9-14 year olds held at a very prestigious boarding school. It has been a bit of a culture shock to say the least. To have students who spend £60 on a school trip on chocolate alone and who drop £50 notes on the floor like they are trash has been a challenge for me after my time in Rwanda where the students had so little that they would take my paperclips! But as the time went on I was reminded again that kids are kids anywhere and of whatever wealth. Most of them are good young people who are just trying to learn how to survive in whatever world they come from be it rich or poor. And in fact some of those children came from homes where the whole world of expectation was on their shoulders and that not easy to live with either. It was great to teach students from so many different countries and to learn a little about all of their cultures.

So life goes on. I have been back for 7 weeks now and although I still miss Rwanda I know I couldn't be a volunteer forever. It was one of the best experiences of my whole life and I'd love to do it again some day, but for now I have to look to the future and think about what it holds. In about a week's time I'm going to do the CELTA course so I'm qualified to teach adults English. I'm starting to look for jobs and to figure things out. I have made a lovely photo book about my time in Rwanda which is nice to look at now and then and which provides a convenient way of trying to show my life in Rwanda at a glimpse to family and friends, although it is hard to capture a year and a half of experiences in just 48 pages....but I have tried!

From teaching here....

To teaching here....

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The transition curve

According to vso, when volunteers return home they experience excitement, followed by anxiety and pining, apathy and depression, followed by gradual acceptance and then finally, moving forward. For me this seems to be true at the moment. I’ve gone past the initial excitement stage when turning on a tap and seeing hot water come out made me feel insanely gleeful. It’s been lovely to catch up with old friends, but when I’ve caught up I find myself missing my old friends in Rwanda, in particular Lindsey, Kathy, Mary, Tricia, Jen, Rachel and Mark and Tammy. I miss my friendly work colleagues and the lovely young people I worked with. I miss drinking big bottles of Primus in the lovely Rwandan sunshine. I miss riding motorbikes down bumpy dirt tracks with the wind in my hair. I miss the beautiful green hills. It’s amazing how quickly you see everything through rose tinted spectacles, you remember only the good things and forget all of the little things that drove you crazy. 

So that’s the pining. But I’m also experiencing lots of anxiety about the future. I have a few things planned for the summer. I’m shortly about to spend three weeks teaching English at a residential summer school so that will keep me busy. Then I’m doing a four week intensive course on teaching English language skills to adults. But after that...who knows? Life feels like a bit of an open book at the moment which is both exciting and scary and a bit destabilising. But as in Rwanda when things got difficult, these feelings will eventually come to pass and be replaced with new ones. Doing vso itself felt like a rollercoaster and it seems that the process of coming home is just another part of the ride. 

I’ve made a photo book of all of my memories of Rwanda so I can bore my family and friends to death with my tales of Rwanda. It’s given me something positive to do over the past few days and it’s been interesting reminding myself of the whole journey I’ve been on. Tonight I’m going to the Bristol vso supporter’s group to hear my friend do a talk about her experiences volunteering in Guyana and it’s nice to spend some time with returned volunteers who ‘get it’ and are further on into the transitional process than I am.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Home through a new lens

So I have been back in Somerset, England for a few days now. It is the summer but it still feels cold. The days seem very long after the regular 6 o'clock darkness in Rwanda. But we have had a few sunny days, and today as I walked through my home village of Brent Knoll I found myself noticing things in a way I never did previously. I noticed the beauty of the houses in the village, some of which have been standing for more than 100 years. I noticed the greeness of the landscape and the variety of colour in the sky. In Rwanda I learned to appreciate all the little things I saw around me that gave me joy, and I don't want to lose that perspective I have gained.

So with my new touch screen phone I took some photos of a few things that caught my eye in the village. I photographed a 'beware of wandering' sign that just made me laugh for some reason. I feel thats all I've done with my life for the past year and a half. Wander. And perhaps it should come with a health warning. You never know where your wandering might take you! People who know me well outside of this blog know that my wandering in Rwanda is likely to lead to me wandering around other countries. So beware. Wandering can't always be cured.

I also took some photos of the new swan family in the water ditch near my parent's house. There are loads of fluffy grey ducklings and they really are very cute. However, they seem to be very agressively guarded by both swan parents. When I walked past the parents had them herded into a fluffy grey heap of beaks and feathers. I couldn't count how many there were or distinguish one grey swan duckling from another. But seeing them certainly did brighten up my day.

So I'm enjoying being back but it does still feel like a holiday. So far my time in Rwanda feels like a year and a half long dream. So far I haven't been able to reconcile my life there with my life here. Rwanda feels very far away. I know I have definitely changed as a person, but I'm still struggling to identify how. I know I have learned some lessons but I'm not sure if I'm ready to live by the lessons I've learned. But then I think it all takes time. Eventually I'll find my way again, but for the meantime I just need to remember 'the beauty is in the journey.'

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again....

So I know this is the exact same title of a post that I wrote 17 months ago on my last night in the UK before I embarked on this whole Rwandan adventure. So on my last day in Rwanda before my flight this evening I thought it was time to reflect again. I feel sad to be leaving a place that has been my home for nearly one and a half years. Rwanda has so much going for it. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful country I have ever, ever been to (and I am lucky enough to have been to many). It has the most amazing wildlife and the most stunning scenery. It is clean and well organised. The people here are incredibly strong when you think about the horrors of 1994 and the huge progress that has been made up to this day. They carry on with their lives and they continue to have hopes and dreams for the future. People care for their families and friends and look after one another. I think I was lucky to have been placed here and very few volunteers have a bad experience volunteering in Rwanda.

However the challenges faced by this small nation are far from solved. 90% of people are subsistence farmers and as far as I can see this percentage is not really changing much. The population is going up and up and soon there will not be enough land to support this large number of people who need to live off of it. Education is still a huge challenge. Most children have access to an education, but from what I have seen many children do not learn anything in the classroom, so they still do not get an education. The house pride and extreme diligence with which Rwandans look after their property (the compounds of even the most basic mud houses are immaculately kept) masks the reality that many people live on less that 300rwf (30p) a day and that is well below the poverty line. The conflict in neighbouring DRC is escalating and huge UN trucks of refugees are streaming across the border and refugee camps are springing up in many places.

I get the feeling that while things are relatively good in Rwanda at the moment, especially compared to the past, the situation is extremely fragile. If I come back to Rwanda in 10 years time I don’t know if I’ll find one of the most prosperous countries in Africa or a place dogged by sporadic conflict, instability and a shortage of resources like neighbouring DRC and Burundi. And I think many who live here also feel this anxiety about the future of Rwanda, which results in a very tense society and an ongoing lack of trust and confidence.
If I ask myself if I have made a difference to the people of this wonderful little country I would have to say ‘I don’t know’. I would love to think that my resource centre will still be at the TTC in 5 years time, but pressure to put more and more people through teacher training and secondary school means it will probably be used as a classroom eventually. But actually, that doesn’t matter so much. The resource centre is only things. I hope that some of the teaching skills I tried to pass on to my trainee teachers will stick and be used in the classrooms of Rwanda. The reality is that I will never know if this will happen. I need a crystal ball to look into the future, and that is one of the hard things about doing vso. You will never know about the influence you might have had. I remember one returned volunteer saying ‘Doing vso is like preparing a garden. You will prepare the soil and plant the seeds, but the flowers will bloom long after you have gone.’

And this is just a note to say that this will not be quite the end of the blog. I will continue to post for a little while when I return, because there is also a transition period as you adjust to being back home. I think it is important to cover this aspect of my volunteer experience, in just the same way that I started to post before I left. I feel that this part of the journey can be neglected a bit, and it is interesting for other future volunteers to know what happens after you return.

Scenes from Butare

My penultimate night in Rwanda was spent back in Butare, my base for the last month or so of traveling around. I’ve always struggled to get good scenes of Rwandan life. I get quite self conscious about taking photos because everyone stares and looks at you, so the photos can be quite unnatural anyway, or you get asked for money or something. So I was delighted when I went on a walk to Butare market with Kathy and discovered that it was in a multistory building. It gave me the perfect opportunity to take some photos with my camera of unsuspecting people down below.

Also, I had to take some photos of a very unusual street in Butare. We call it ‘deserted street’. All the shops have been closed down and the whole road has a gently decaying feel. The old colonial buildings have peeling facades and there is a general air of emptiness which is quite unusual in heavily populated Rwanda. It is a strangely eerie place and I wish I knew why they are plans to pull everything down. So I thought I should get some photos of it before they do.

Deserted street...
 Another scene from deserted street
 Downtown Butare

Butare market

A trip to the lake on the vomit comet

My last Rwandan adventure had to be to the lovely lake Kivu. So after the High Commissioner’s party I braved a ride on the vomit comet, the name that volunteers have given the bus that heads out to the town on Kibuye on the lake. This name is certainly accurate unfortunately. The bus journey from Kigali to Kibuye takes in endless hairpin bends amongst some very steep valleys. Also, there is a myth circulating amongst Rwandan people that you should drink lots of milk and eat lots of yoghurt to ‘settle the stomach’ before a long bus journey...needless to say it results in vomit. Vomit splattering the windows and vomit running down the aisles. Man I’m glad my bus journey out to Nzige in the East was flat and relatively straight, I don’t think I could have coped with a year and a half of that.

So when I arrived in Rubengera, the town where my friend Mary lives which is near to the lake, I was shown around the sights and we ate in a bar charmingly titled ‘Le shit’. Le shit was actually quite a nice bar and it is a mystery how it ended up with such a name. We could watch people walking around the hairpin bend on the road carrying all manner of things from our vantage point at Le shit. The rest of the weekend was spent in Kibuye by the lake, relaxing and watching the world go by. Kibuye has to be the most relaxing place I know in Rwanda. Unlike the other lakeside town of Gisenyi, Kibuye is much smaller and quieter and you can genuinely find some peace and relaxation there. Also down by the lake are some lovely bits of tropical forest which we walked around quite a lot in search of a short cut to very nice lodge where we spent the afternoon eating really good food and lounging by the lake.

But it wasn’t all about sunning ourselves by the lake. I had actually gone to do some work with Mary at her TTC as well. So on Sunday afternoon and all of Monday I helped her to make resources and organise her resource room for an exhibition that was happening later in the week. I made a shop, some rice sack tabards and various other little things. It was nice to be back in a resource centre for one last time before going off home. It made me feel all nostalgic for snowman marker pens, rice sacks and bottle tops. 

View from the window at Home St John, Kibuye

Me and Mary in the forest by the lake

Relaxing by the lake

Spraying bottle tops to make coins in Mary's TRC

The Queen’s Jubilee

Ok so while we didn’t get a four day weekend here in Rwanda, we did still get to go to a party. The Queen’s Jubilee party is my second and last visit to the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kigali. A good time was had by all with the free bar which had wonderful imported wine and pimms with lemonade. The High Commissioner’s house certainly looks very grand through the windows (they don’t let us into the actual house!) and it was suitably decorated with union Jacks emblazoned with the queen’s ever ageing face....well it was until all the vso vols stole the decorations...oh dear, I’m not sure they’ll be letting us back...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The fresh mountain air of Gasarenda city

I couldn’t go home without one last trip to visit my friend Kathy who lives up in the mountains near Nyungwe forest.  I needed to remind myself how beautiful this place is and hang out with one of my closest friends.  Fortunately it is only an hour away from Butare so it was nice to go somewhere which didn’t involve shaking every bone in my body on a matatu for an unfeasibly long period of time or getting a moto into the back of beyond. 

When I arrived it was catholic education day at the TTC. This was an interesting new experience for me. My TTC is a 100% government funded school so we never celebrated it. We arrived long after all the speeches had finished, just in time for the food and beer...we didn’t plan it like that, honest, its just that Kathy had to spend the day getting me from Nyamagabe, the nearest district town, and we just had to hydrate ourselves in the country and western bar with the mountain views.  

When we arrived at the TTC there were benches and benches filled with teachers, as far as the eye could see. We were given some meat and potatoes and the beer was flowing freely. Me and Kathy perched on benches in the general crowd and we attracted a steady stream of glances and prolonged looks from the other teachers including a man who kept pretending to play an imaginary electric guitar and a woman who was giving her baby the occasional swig of Mutzig beer... 

The next day was a work day and we made some resources for the new curriculum ready for Kathy to start some tutor training. Next we had a day where Kathy had no classes so after doing some more work at the TTC we walked around Gasarenda on market day. We saw cows and goats being herded to the slaughterhouse and pigs and chickens on bikes. There was a general air of activity as people walked by carrying their wares in rice sacks and bags on their heads, men busied themselves repairing bikes and deals were done under the shade of shop porches. 

I stupidly bought a ridiculously large basket to take back home with me. I tried to leave it there but I liked it too much and at least its useful...well it will be if the baggage people don’t squash it beyond all recognition. We then went to the bar which has to have one of the best views in the world for a very long lunch. We watched a woman cultivating the hills in the distance and took in all of the shades of green in the valley. Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end so now I am back in Butare preparing again for more adventures, which I will post about soon. 

TTC Mbuga - I always think it looks a bit like a forest summer camp

Kathy outside her TRC

Inside the TRC at TTC Mbuga

A sign outside the entrance to the TTC

The high street in Gasarenda

People repairing bikes in Gasarenda

Gasarenda market

The view from a bar in Gasarenda

A beer with a view

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A trip down East

I have spent the last week in the east of the Eastern Province visiting and working with my friend Jen at TTC Zaza. I couldn’t leave Rwanda without paying a visit to Zaza because technically it is my nearest other TTC. Jen lives on the other side of lake Mugesera, a large many fingered lake which was mentioned in a previous posting. If we both stood on the highest hill on our respective sides of the lake and waved we could probably see each other, but the geography of the region means that there is no road to get between the two places. So you have to go via the main road which takes more than three hours. Those hills, so beautiful yet so inconvenient! 

So on the weekend Jen and I walked for a couple of hours to visit the frères’ pottery in a community near the lake. This was an interesting experience as we were followed by a wide variety of people including giggly teenage girls, cute kids and old women as we made our way down an ever narrowing dirt road. We passed through similar mud house communities to the ones I saw on my previous trip to the lake from the other side in Nzige, passing by banana trees and the odd cow here and there. We got lost looking for the pottery but fortunately for us a couple of smartly dressed young girls decided to escort us. 

Once there we were greeted by a young brother wearing his football shirt and a dog snoozing in the sun. The pottery and brother’s residence had a Mediterranean feel, and an Italian priest has lived there before the genocide. His grave is located just outside of the compound.  I suspect that’s how the pottery began. We were joined by some other brothers and escorted to their visitor’s room where we communicated in a variety of very broken languages. We were then plied with the brother’s own very strong pineapple wine and fed loads of fresh pineapple and banana. We talked about Rwanda, the UK and Canada (where Jen is from) and enjoyed resting our weary legs from the walk. 

We were shown around the pottery and we didn’t leave empty handed. The brothers also insisted on giving us some large and very heavy pineapples as a gift. These pineapples nearly crippled us as we tried to carry them back for more than two hours in the heat of the afternoon sun while also feeling a bit tipsy from the wine. 

The rest of the week I worked with Jen in her TTC. I helped out with a few classes and we planned a short afternoon workshop on the new TTC curriculum for a group of her tutors. The workshop was a success and her tutors were very receptive and involved. TTC Zaza is a beautiful building, very smart and colonial in the way it looks. The community itself is very interesting. It is much greener than my side of the lake and it is also home to one of the first Catholic Churches in Rwanda. It is circular in design and looks quite different from most of th other churches in Rwanda. 

I had a great time visiting my TTC neighbour and it was very interesting to see another area of the Eastern province which has been my home in Rwanda. Next I am going to Kathy’s TTC, TTC Mbuga, for some fresh mountain air and primus!

Our brother shows us how to use the potter's wheel

The brother's guest room

Trying the pineapple wine

Jen outside the entrance to TTC Zaza

The Catholic Church in Zaza

Inside the Church

Children watch us outisde the TTC

We saw a model lesson at Zaza B primary School

Jen outisde her home in Zaza

Jen leads an activity at the tutor's workshop in the TRC

The tutors are busy discovering how resources can be used

Jen shows an example of good visual aid made by a student

Tutors are doing it for themselves. A tutor at Zaza demonstrates the clean, clean, CLEAN! activity for using a chalkbaord effectively to his peers

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Moving out and Moving on

The past week has been a busy one for me. The first event was that I moved out of Nzige and into Butare. Me moving attracted a crowd of onlookers the same as the day I moved in, which shows that things have gone full circle. In some ways I felt sad to be leaving because Nzige had been my home for 16 months, but I had said goodbye at the TTC and to everyone I knew in Nzige, so I felt it was also time to move on. My work at the TTC had finished on Wednesday and there is not exactly a whole lot to do there, especially on a rainy day like it was. I was pleased to be leaving on a high, knowing I have handed my work over to a capable person and that I have done what I could.

My reason for moving to Butare was that it is on the main road and so it is a much more convenient place to be based for the last month of my work, where the plan is to do curriculum writing, organise the education conference and travel around to some other TTCs to work with the volunteers there. Butare is in the Southern Province of Rwanda and it is the third largest city. It is the main university town and so it has a more liberal vibe than anywhere else I have been in the country. It was also the colonial centre of Rwanda when the Belgians were here so it has a lot of character compared to most towns here. I am now staying in a strange mustard coloured old colonial house with creeping ivy, a chimney and a bizarre 1930’s style medicine cabinet in the bathroom. It feels like it should be a setting for one of Agatha Christie’s more exotic novels and I can certainly imagine a Belgian family living here in colonial times. I’m sure they all huddled around the fireplace living exactly as they did in Belgium while African life continued outside their windows.

So it is an interesting place but a frustrating one in many ways. It is so old that nothing really works...the doors are difficult to lock, the toilet doesn’t flush and when we arrived the house was experiencing something of a water drought. Rumour has it that before Monique moved in, the vso volunteer who is currently placed here, the house had been unoccupied for a long time. I think that richer people in Rwanda would rather live in a modern brick house where everything is smart and new and works well, and poorer families would not be able to afford the rent. And not everyone is fascinated by it’s bizarre colonial history. But despite its state of disrepair it is by far the most interesting vso Rwanda house I have been to and it does have undeniable character.

However I have actually not been in Butare for most of the week. I have been doing curriculum writing in Kigali and helping to run the education sector group conference for vso. But also as part of this I managed to catch up with friends and eat pizza, something that is always fun to do. Now the week is over, I am back in Butare once more, eating ice cream and just hanging about before next week begins. It will entail more curriculum writing and sorting out of minor matters before I leave such as closing my bank account and making lists of other things to do, but I am hoping to get a break or two...we will see!

Bosco from vso comes to Nzige to help me move out

My new house! (well for a short time)

The doorway with the Ivy

Hanging out on the porch outside

Pizza and beer in Kigali after a busy week of work

Friday, 11 May 2012

The amazing goodbye

On Wednesday it was time to say my official goodbye at the TTC, even if I did sneak back in for a couple of hours today. So I got all dressed up for the part in my Mushanana, the traditional Rwandan dress for women. I knew the students would love it and I wanted to make some effort as I knew the students and staff had been very busy planning something special for me. Well the Mushanana did the trick as I received a round of applause as soon as I walked through the gates of the TTC!  

So after a couple more hours the ceremony started. There was singing, dancing, poems written about me, songs written about me and speeches written about me. It felt like national Camilla day, I have never felt so appreciated in all my life! And it definitely brought a few tears to my eyes, which I had to keep in check because it is not the done thing here to show too much emotion in public. The students had made some amazing gifts for me, including a huge 3D model of the TTC (which will have to remain in the TRC because there is absolutely no way Brussels airlines would allow me to take it!), a map of the TTC, drawings and pictures of things from Rwanda including the national parks and scenes from everyday life and an Akaseke (traditional) Rwandan basket. I was truly amazed by how creative they had been and how much trouble they had gone to to make things for me.   

There was also a karate display, a speech from the sector education officer and the principal presented me with an official certificate of service which even had a stamp on it, as they do love their stamps in this part of the world. Then it was time for my speech...and this is definitely a skill I have learned in Rwanda because when I looked back at the video of it (which my folks back home will definitely be subjected to) it was almost 15 minutes long! That is a long time to make an impromptu speech in front of nearly 500 people, and in the beginning I could only manage speeches of about 5 minutes so now I am truly Rwandan. 

So I said lots of things about how lucky I had been to be given the opportunity to come to Rwanda but the most important thing came into my head only as I stood there in the moment. Rwanda has helped me to find my heart, my mutima, again. It had been lost for a while in England amongst the debris of the endless assessment grids, reports and paperwork of teaching in the UK, the mismatched matchstick men I met on in an attempt to find love and the horrible microwave dinners I would force down my gullet because I would never give myself the time to cook. But I am lucky because the people of Rwanda have helped me to find it again, so I think a piece of my heart will always be here in this country. I know I will come back to Rwanda, because I can’t bear the thought of leaving unless I know I will return to see that piece of my heart farewell TTC Bicumbi, you have given me far more that I have given you.

All dressed up. From left to right, Andrew, the principal, me and Alex.

Me and the other TTC Bicumbi staff

Me with some of the students who made me gifts

I knew I would have to dance...

Some of the dancers with the manchester united football I gave as a gift. God only know where the Chelsea one went...

We had traditonal Rwandan melange in the staffroom after the ceremony

Me and the other women of the TTC. From left to right, Bernadette, Jackie, Agnes and Jolie.

Me and Mr Macumi, my Burundian papa at the TTC