Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Holiday", Training, and Rwanda

So, let me first say that I think I know why God forgives us so easily. When I was on the plane coming back from Rwanda I sat by the window and of course peered out to see the beautiful Rwandan green hills, blue sky, and eventually Lake Victoria as we passes into Kenya. From that view you can only see the beauty of the earth. You can't see the filth, the horrible atrocities that happen everyday, the hatred that seems to continue among people, ...all those things that humans continue to do even sometimes in the name of God. I surmised then that God was very smart in his creation and can see the beauty in us that we sometimes can't see because he has a broad and omniscient view. Even in our darkest hours when we know we haven't acted appropriately, he sees us and still loves and forgives. What an awesome sight!

As most of you know, I am not a prolific writer. Thus, this blog hasn't been updated for a while. It is also hard to use a computer often when you don't have electricity...try it sometime, your computer won't run long. Plus, I thought I'd be able to use it while I was in Rwanda but mistakenly assumed that the power voltage (plug) would be the same, which of course it wasn't, so I couldn't charge my computer once I got there. I suppose I could have used Diana's computer but why should I work so hard when Diana already has a beautiful blog that is by a prolific writer (Dr. Perdue herself!).  Click here to see the events of my trip!

So - this is the short story. The first school term ended at end of March and I had to leave to go to Peace Corps training in Nairobi about the middle of March. So, my plan was to take the first few weeks and do my planning for next term and go buy a bike. But, some of you already know that I came down with a very nasty eye infection right after school ended. It lasted about 7-8 days during which I really couldn't do anything (I couldn't see through all the gunk in my eyes). So, I basically sat around and laid on bed listening to the radio or my MP3 player (thank god for them!). Of course I didn't get my bike and then after I recovered it was just about time to go to Nairobi. Off to Nairobi which was good since our entire Math/Science Ed group would meet again but it's a long trip. First I have to leave my town and ride to Malindi. Then, take hot and crowded matatu for about 2 hours to Mombasa. Then take hot bus about 6 hours to Nairobi. But, my fellow volunteer Zahara and I took it in steps so it wasn't bad. We went to Malindi one day and stayed overnight at Scorpio Villas (the nice hotel that is the getaway place) then the next day went to Mombasa and stayed at the Lotus Hotel (Peace Corps pays for us to stay there because they don't like us to take public transport at night so we can't make it all the way to Nairobi in one day). So, all in all it wasn't too bad. Once in Nairobi we were there for training sessions for about 8 days. The best part was to talk to other volunteers, hear about their stories, and go eat stuff that we usually don't get. For example, the second night, Erin, Charlie, Caitlin and I went to this place called JavaHut (in the Sarit Center Mall). I got a hamburger which was really good! Charlie and I went back another day and I got a chocolate milkshake. Also, a bunch of us one night ended up going to the movies (woo-wee!) to see Shutter Island. Most of us have not been to a movie theatre since leaving the US. It was a good time there in Nairobi. Sorry I don't have more pictures of the stuff I mentioned....I should get better at it! Here are some random pictures of volunteers outside of the training sessions:

After training it was off to Rwanda.  We went on that Monday night to eat dinner at the PC Kenya Country Director's house (a beautiful place).  I brought my luggage with me so I could leave straight from there to fly out of Nairobi at 11pm.  I arrived in Rwanda about midnight and met Diana.  Of course we talked a lot!  It was great to see someone from home!  I didn't get to stay long, but I did get to see most of the beautiful capital city of Kigali.  I think it is the cleanest city I've ever seen!  I kept remarking on it because compared to Kenya it is so clean.  I don't know where they put their trash??  Being there is kind of a strange feeling in a way because one can't help but see the beauty and enjoy the nice restaurants while at the same time knowing that less than two decades ago somehow about 1 million people were killed in just one month's time in and around this very city.  I can imagine that for Rwandans it is still a constant reminder.  Here is where you get to see a real blog!  If you want to see a great description of my trip just go to Diana's blog and read and see her wonderful pictures.  There's a reason she is the "technology person" at her site!

I got back to my site on the Saturday before classes began.  Of course I was dead tired from flying but I did get to fly from Nairobi to Mombasa and again stay at Lotus Hotel.  I paid the extra $50 to fly instead of staying in Nairobi and then taking the long bus ride the next day (well worth the $50).  Since then I've been trying to get back into school rhythm and have been trying to catch a rat that I think was in my room.  But, other than that nothing exciting.  We are getting two new rooms built at our school (yea!) so now our staff room is actually under the roof of the temporary classroom.  We don't have walls yet, but we do now have a roof.  I hope to take more pictures of my students this term and post more to my flickr site sometime within the term.  Here are a couple pics of a few students:

I think that is it for now.  I've been in this cybercafe for an hour trying to get this done and I still don't really know what I'm doing!  Gotta go!  Hope all are well.  Blessings to each of you.