Sunday, January 23, 2011

In Country Training

Mary at the Resources Exhibition
We are now into our eighth day at the Armani Guest House where we are staying for In-Country Training. It is a large Guest House and Conference Centre where we have all of our meals and training on various aspects of our life here in Rwanda. In three days or so we will be moving to Rwamagana and that’s where it all starts. We have now met all the Programme staff at the VSO Office about 15 minutes from here with a bonus of excellent snacks. We have had a session on culture and two days ago we all went to the Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali. It was a hard experience for all of us but it is important that we all understand what happened here in the 1990s. We needed to have seen it to appreciate and understand the country we are living in for the next year. It was beautifully done and very informative.

We have had a few sessions on our work placements with existing volunteers and it helped us to understand what we will have to do and what we will find in the regions. Having done VSO before, we feel quite confident about this side of our work. However, for me I am having difficulty getting my head around the long and arduous journeys to schools on unmade roads on the back of a Moto and having to barter for the price every time. I’m sure that in a few weeks it will be a piece of cake.

We had meeting with our Programme Manager who told us about our house. It is in a locked compound with two others and appears to be in the centre of town, fifteen minutes walk to work and near the bus park. All will be revealed in a few days. Watch this space!

Yesterday started off with the usual language lesson and the rest of the day was free except for a resources exhibition put on by more experienced volunteers who came from all over the country. It all seems to be quite organised. I went for a walk to the Programme Office and back via some shops. Best part of an hour’s walking up and down very steep hills. Everywhere there were groups of young men peering into windows watching the final of the African Cup of Nations under 17s Football cup. Sadly Rwanda lost against Burkina Faso 2-1. Much excitement and then much sadness but that’s football! I did my first bartering and reduced the price to less than half price but know I still paid over the odds. Until we get some feel for prices, we will end up paying more, I’m sure.

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