Sunday, January 11, 2009

Butare

Hello all! I’ve had an exciting few since I’ve last written. We celebrated my birthday here in Kigali, with Indian food and a cake, then partying and dancing at several places, including a club called KBC. I want to send special thanks out to some of my new Rwandan friends who took us around and made sure I had a great time!

On Friday, we headed off to Butare, in the South, our first trip outside of the capital. The bus ride itself was fantastic; I wish I could describe the scenery (or that I had taken some pictures...). It was hill after hill after hill, all with tiny farms and banana groves, and lots of little towns along the way. Butare itself is relatively large for the area, and home to the National University and the National Museum. I visited the Museum, and got to explore a bit of the area, but the most interesting time was spent at an orphanage just outside of Butare. It looks after 107 kids, many who are HIV positive, and it provides medicine, good meals and school supplies for them. We taught games to the kids and they taught us even more. It’s been supported by a group called R-VCP or the Rwanda Village Concept Project. It’s mostly a bunch of National University med school students who have set this thing up with various European groups helping out. They support the orphanage and some clinics, and you can find out more at www.rwanda-vcp.org. The guys from the med school are really great. They are really motivated, and are doing an amazing job. Plus, they took us out on Saturday, and showed us a very good time.

Random comment: Obama is huge here. Everywhere I look I see Obama stuff. Café Torero (the internet café) has Obama posters, and I’ve seen several Obama bumper stickers at various bars and hotels. I’ve also seen a bus with an American flag and Obama printed across it, several t-shirts, and an Obama mini-mart (although that might actually be a family name, not referring to the President-Elect). Everyone you talk to here loves him, and many of them stayed up all night on election night to see him win. BTW, I can’t wait for Inauguration Day. I’m going to where an Obama button to school and hopefully catch some of it on the radio (if I can’t find a TV).

I’m back in Kigali now, but not for too much longer. We head out to our schools on Saturday, so once that hits, I have no idea about Internet access, or frankly, about anything at all. Hopefully I’ll get on again before that, but we are going to be crazy busy with teaching practice, lesson planning and all sorts of other fun activities.

Unfortunately, I’ve been having problems uploading photos, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer. I haven’t actually taken very many either, but I’ve still got time…

2 comments:

Kim said...

While I was reading your blog, you mentioned on the memorials how the emphasis was often on attaining justice for Rwanda. This reminded me of a very interesting speaker we had on my college campus my senior year, who was a former Speaker of the Rwandan parliament. His presentation had a lot of emphasis on what exactly justice was for Rwanda, since so much went back to exactly as it was before, with hutu's living and working alongside Tutsi's again. It was strange, to absorb the facts of the genocide, and hear so many voices (his, and there are several exchange students from Rwanda who also spoke) speak passionately for justice, but still not know how to attain it.

Kim said...

Apparently, it posted the comment to the wrong place, or I did :0 So apply that to the appropriate posting. Thanks.