Monday, February 21, 2011

Work eventually taking off!

Looking at resources Room
This week has been an eventful and interesting week which has kept us busy with a few frustrations and also satisfaction of a job well done. In principal, we should only spend a short  time each week in the office and the rest should be in the field visiting schools, advising and training etc. It’s taken a while but we finally managed to get started doing this during this week.

Primary 6
We have to have foreigner’s ID card – Green Card – so the week started with getting all the bits and pieces and copying passports to arrange that. Mary went off to Kibungo, about two hours away by bus, near the Tanzanian border to meet up with two other VSOs who were doing the same job as her. She shadowed them for the day and came back in the evening. The next day, she went to a school to observe a couple of lessons but found all the teachers but two were not there because of elections. The children were there though. So she arranged to come back the next day when she managed to do the observations. She observed two lessons both of which were of a good standard and one was very good – impressive considering the class size of 45 and the lack of resources and conditions.

Heads' Exam
I started off the week having been asked to prepare an exam for prospective HTs who would be appointed to the 9 Year basic education schools which had been extended from primary schools – P1 – P6 + S1 – S3 (years 1 to 9). This would necessitate a lot of moving around of HTs in the District. The exam was one hour long with two questions on Leadership and Management and Monitoring and Evaluation. The next day was the exam. There were 101 applicants and all were examined. Security was very good and, although the exam was in their 2nd or 3rd language English, the standard for many was quite high. A group of us marked the papers and selected the 45 candidates who would go on to the next round, That evening we tried our first local restaurant which was a great success except for the violent thunder storm when we were going home. We almost waited until it finished but made a wise decision because it was still raging at 2am!

The next day was the interviews. All arrived on time and there were two interview panels of four and about 10 – 15 minutes each for the candidates to answer questions. Decisions were made the same day and the teachers who were successful informed. They will have a handover period of a couple of days this week and will probably start next week. Things happen fast in Rwanda.

The next day we went to a primary school where the previous volunteer had worked. It’s a UNICEF child friendly school. It necessitated a bus ride to another village and then a 3 km moto ride. I’m not too sure about them yet and “Genda Buhorro” (Drive slowly) is at top of my vocab list. Mary seems to like them but I think it’s something to do with needing to feel “in control” for me. I’m sure it will get better but driving at speed next to the ditch with a 300 ft drop does not fill me with excitement. Cowardly or just holding on to life!!!! I will let you decide. VSO helmets helped though – at least the brain area is protected.

However, back to the school. An interesting and well run place with lots of vibrancy and innovative methods and the children definitely under the thumb. However, yet again, there were very few teachers there because they were doing something relating to elections.

The pictures speak for themselves. Just click on the picture below for a view of the school.

On Friday we got wind that the schools were closed for elections and we asked if the office would be open. “Yes” we were told by two different officers. So this morning off we went at the usual time, waited and waited and then texted and were told to go home. We weren’t the only VSOs in this situation. VSO flexibility rules OK! So, hence the writing of the blog during the day on a Monday!
Marking Exams

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Hi, hope your enjoy reading about our adventures in Rwanda. We'd love to hear from you. Stephen and Mary