Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We have internet at last

The adventure starts here
 We can hardly believe it but we have been in Kigali now for four days and it feels like two weeks. We have been kept very busy with In Country Training (ICT) and I have just a little time to spare to write this blog entry. Our journey here was really good with all flights and connections on time and we were met by volunteers and VSO staff at Kigali Airport with a short ride to the guest house and conference centre where we are doing the training. There are about 20 of us with several nationalities from VSO International.

The last few days have been very full. On Sunday we travelled into the city with an existing volunteer and found a shopping centre. There are motos everywhere – a main form of transport – more expensive than the bus but personal service on the back of a motor bike. Rwanda grows delicious coffee so one of the stops was to taste it in a coffee bar. Most things are available in the big supermarkets and we’ve been told that there’s lots available in the town where our placements will be. We tasted the local brew on Sunday evening in a nearby bar. We had to try both main types of beer to make a comparison – Primus and Mutzig. Both passed the taste test and that’s our excuse and we are sticking to it. Accommodation and food are excellent.

So far our training has consisted of orientation in Kigali, visit to the VSO Office, demonstrations in the use of Kerosene stoves, mosquito nets and water filters. The last two we are used to from our last placement but the stove is a little scary but we are assured we will get used to it. We’ve set ourselves up with local phones with SIMs provided by VSO and tested them. This afternoon, after a discussion about our work we hope to go back into Kigali to buy a dongle modem so that I can post this blog.

We’ve been told that we will be taking over the house of a previous volunteer in Rwamagana so we’re looking forward to seeing what our home for the next 12 months will be like. The rest of the volunteers are a mixed group from the far corners of the globe and all have a great sense of humour and are fun to work with. Yesterday evening we were introduced to the British High Commissioner who gave us a talk about security and the context of our placements here in Rwanda. Everyone has been so positive. Long may it last.

The challenge for us and many of the other volunteers has been language. We have now had two lessons in the local language Kinyarwanda and, with the help of an excellent teacher, we have been put at our ease and we are really enjoying it.

So until the next time………

Mwiriewe turongera !        A bientôt        See you soon

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