Saturday, January 3, 2009


Hello from Kigali!

Sorry it's taken me so long to put up my first post!  We all got here safe and sound, and we've been working on getting accustomed to, well, everything.  But it's great!  I love this city.  It's in way better shape than anything I saw in Western Africa, and honestly, the main streets are about as clean as those in Paris or Glasgow!   There are good roads, working stop signs that people obey, running water and good power and buses that run on time!  I'm going to have to enjoy this while I'm here, because I have no idea what Rusumo is going to be like.

Currently, we're staying at a Catholic Mission, which is good (and cheap), where we spend most of our time in training.  We've had several speakers on various issues, and we've had a bit of time to explore the city, though not as much as I'd like.  I've also been able to try some pretty good foods, including goat brochettes (sticks of goat meat!).  Also, lots of bananas.

New Years Eve was incredible!  We went to an East Africa party, with Mutzig and Primus beers and live music from artists from Rwanda, Uganda and other parts of the region.  The music was great (as were the beers) and we stayed and danced until late.  Well, some of us did.  Many people went home earlier, but I was part of the last three to leave at 2:30 am.  It doesn't sound like much, but remember.  We had arrived in Kigali one day earlier after about 17 hours in the air.  I didn't sleep more than 30 min over those 2 days.  But the dance was fun, we danced with each other and with Rwandans and generally had a great time!

Unfortunately, I haven't really taken many pictures yet, so it will still be a little while before any of those go up.  Sorry.

Also, random facts: my room is home to at least 4 lizards, possibly more.  I'm not complaining, they eat bugs and are actually quite cute.

Almost no one smokes in public here.  I haven't seen a single Rwandan smoking.  I love it!

People here are incredibly friendly.  They love it when we try to use our pitifully small Kinyarwandan.  Mostly they laugh at us and tell us it's great.  I've been trying to say Muraho (hello), Amakuru (how are you?) and ni meza (i'm fine) as often as I can.  If not, I try french, which I think I'd have a good chance of picking up if I stayed in Kigali.  However, I know my school is anglophone, so I don't know if there will be much French spoken in town either.  It's so close to the Tanzanian border that it might be mostly english speaking.

Turns out, I'm terrible at journaling.  I was planning on writing every night, then putting the entry's together for a blog post.  Didn't happen.  I've written about 3 entrys, mostly less than a page.  Thus, I'm blogging in an extremely random and train of thought manner.  If you have any problems with this, feel free to leave a message.  Maybe next time it will be more logically laid out.

As of yet, no address for my place in Rusumo.  I'll post it as soon as I know it.  I really am looking forward to getting letters from some of you, and especially that wedding invitation (you know who you are...).

Thanks for reading, I'll try to do this semi-regularly, and if you have any questions, let me know and I'll try to answer them either privately or on my next post!


Mark M said...

Glad to hear you're having a great time; we'll see what we can do about that invite!

Anonymous said...

Hey - you're not bad at journalling, just sleep deprived and busy! Enjoy the coffee shops, Andy.
Love you, Mom. xoxoxox

Sara Janes said...

They make you eat goat and bananas? What a horrible place. Hope that you've still got access to some non-evil fruits and meats.

But it's great to hear that you're having fun and things are going well there. Have you adjusted to the time difference yet?

Caitlin Rose said...

It is so much fun to hear what you are doing. I have been bragging for two days that I got to talk to you on Facebook! I miss you! love, C

Elliot said...

So glad things are going well so far, Andy! And I'm proud of you for being the last to leave NYE - I'm also not at all surprised, I've seen you dance! Hope things keep going great. :-)

Kim said...

Sounds exciting! Can't wait to hear more. :)

Greg Munro said...

Good stuff man. Glad you're having fun. Eat some goat for me

Kimberly Harer said...

I laughed when you mentioned the lizards. I had a flashback to you, the 4th of July, and your new friend Newt ;) He was a cute little thing. Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself. Happy birthday!

Anonymous said...

Happy 23rd Birthday on the 8th glad to hear that you are there safe and sound...enjoy the benefits of that city you are now in.....can't imagine being without running water and u and have a GREAT time.....auntie C

Anonymous said...

Your post would have been better if you said you were eating lizards and bananas, and you had 4 small goats in your room. Cousin Steve

Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds like you are having a great experience already! I'm so glad. :-) I have to give you a hard time about not journaling much... considering the amount of journaling you did this summer in Europe... haha! Miss you!