Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long time, no post

Traveling to the competition in a private bus
I apologize for not writing for a few weeks.  I've been working on my first mission report, which Fidesco will send to all those who donated and those on my contact list, so I've been saving some good stories for the report.  I don't want to tell you all the news in the blog and have there be nothing new to read in the report!

The beautiful hills of Rwanda, covered with fields
Since it will be at least a few weeks and probably closer to a month before you receive the report in the mail or in your inbox, let me give you the big picture of what has been and what is happening out here.  October 4-6 I traveled with the school's traditional dance and singing troupe to Gisenyi, which is in the northwest of the country and along the shores of Lake Kivu.  The troupe was competing in a national dance competition set up by the Ministry of Culture.  They faced off against 12 other schools and came in 7th.  The girls were disappointed by the results, but as I told some of them, they beat 20 other schools in the course of the quarterfinals, semi's, and then finals to become 7th in the nation.  That's pretty good.

Gisenyi is a little paradise
A couple geographical images from the trip.  First, the northern shores of Lake Kivu remind me of the ocean.  The lake is very wide in the north so waves wash onto shore just like at a beach.  The waves are small, but looking at the shoreline reminded me of being on the coast of Cali.  Second, driving in Rwanda is like perpetually driving in the mountains, although you don't always go up or down in elevation.  The road twists and turns, the land slopes up on one side and down on the other, and people get carsick.  Oh, yes, it happened to one poor girl who vomited through most of the 5 hour trip to Gisenyi and part of the 4 hour trip back home.  So even if the mileage isn't long, places take longer to get to because of the reduced speed required by the curves in the road.  Third, people graze their livestock on the shoulder of the road.  On the drive home, I saw many cows, goats, and sheep grazing on the side of the road, often with boys with sticks shepherding them.

I would have swum, but only men were swimming.
Most of the troupe enjoying the lake shore
Back at the school, life has been quiet.  The students in Senior 3 and 6 are finished with their final exams and are now studying for the national exams they will take from October 28-November 8.  The other 4 years of students are in the midst of final exams, but tomorrow they will finish them and then have a week of fun at the school as they wait for their grades.  Needless to say, I've been quite bored while the students are occupied with studying and taking exams, but I do get to be with them in the afternoons.  I look forward to the week ahead because a lot of the students will be free and we will play games and cards together, I will teach them songs and how to make friendship bracelets, and I plan to show them an American movie (to improve their English, of course).  I need to store up as much joy from being with the students as I can because in less than a month, they will all go home for two months and I will be sad.  I do have offers from students who live in Butare to visit them at their homes so I plan to take them up on that.  It will be a good way to better understand the lives of the students here and to get to know them and their families better.

A few pictures of the different dance troupes

Notice that a lot of the groups have male dancers also

My girls


  1. Enjoyed reading your update Heather. What do you do for the 2 months the girls are not in school?

  2. Cry.
    But seriously, besides that, I will work in the school library to help reorder it for the next year, speak English with one of my coworkers who wants to improve in it, and write lesson plans for the coming year. And then I will have some holiday time, but I haven't asked how much.