Friday, October 9, 2009

Day to Day in Rwanda



So we've been here nine days already. In January 2008, my college roommate, Anne Mugofwa, told me on a phone call that I would find myself in Africa much sooner than I expected. I told her we kept getting sidetracked by Asia. Who would have guessed?! Anne has never been to Rwanda, but the company she works for just decided to open an office here, so she was here on Wednesday and will be back in a few weeks. We managed to get breakfast together. I think it was rather surreal for both of us. When we were in college, we always dreamed of doing some great work together that would bridge our continents. Now we are on the same continent. I'm still in a season of listening, absorbing and learning, so am not jumping the gun on any work-related ventures (outside of helping us launch our company), but it is fun to wonder how Anne and I may do something together in the future.

I don't really have a routine yet. I've told myself next week is the week for that. I have my language lessons scheduled for almost every day next week so that I can catch up to Carter. Lian's school will be on a regular schedule and I'm committed to doing "school" stuff with Anna. Of course, if you know me, you know that is hard for me to do and not invite all the neighbor kids. So, Anna and I took "school" outside the gate today. Also, if you know me well, you will know what a stretch it is for me to live in a "gated" area, but that's how things are done here. Anna and I set up our blocks on the front yard and just started playing. We saw Pierre and JoJo and said, "Ngeeno Hano" (come and play) and they did. I spelled out their names for them, whcih was very fun for them. Most of all, they just liked building towers and crashing them down.

Setting up a house here is a lot different. Stuff at the department store is not cheap, so you go to the furniture market where you can either choose something off the block or bring ina picture of what you'd like and have them make it for you. Of course, that requires a lot of bargaining and negotiating and since I'm white with Chinese children, we are an oddity. But, I felt more confident today and I asked our house helper, Consolee, to help me with some of the negotiations. It took 45 minutes, and me walking to the store across the street, in order to get them to lower the price on a bathroom cabinet, but in the end it was a good deal on all fronts.

Lian had a great first week of school and seems to be doing well. We decided that we city folk need to embrace our new surroundings and our beautiful yard and welcome a few more additions to our family. So meet "Sunny and Joy" - these are our gifts to our girls for being such troopers this summer. We met this guy who was giving them away for free. And he has someone make the cage for us. The girls were so surprised! We saw them today and chose two boys (yes, boys, even though Anna named hers Joy) so as to prevent future bunnies from being born. We will go back next week to bring them home. Hmmmm...chickens might be next since we do have the chicken coop...
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