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


  1. broken stuff is an issue with many movers, that i can deffinately add for you. well.. actually my previous moving companies easton pa

  2. Moving out is a bittersweet moment for most people. When my sister hired a house removal in Perth, that's the time she knew she was really going to move out and begin her next life.