Friday, January 30, 2009

Of Ants and Men…

Ok, time for my weekly update. Though calling it a weekly update might be a little misleading. Once I get into my routine, I have a feeling that I won't be able to stay interesting if I post every week. Whatever happens, I'll try to find the right balance between being an interesting, good read and just letting everyone know that I'm still here and the ants haven't carried me away yet.

That seems like a good enough segue into one of the latest happenings…

So the other morning, on the way out to take a bucket shower, I noticed a thick trail of ants leading into my house. "Strange," I thought, and since it was early in the morning, I ignored them. When I returned and tried to have breakfast, however, I was sorely disappointed. The ants had found there way into my cupboard and were in the process of devouring my bread. Others had attacked my pineapple (uncut fortunately, thus still salvageable) and a few had even got into the sugar, despite the fact that it had a lid and was quite well sealed. Breakfast was not entirely ruined, you'll be glad to hear, as the ants had left the bananas and passion fruit unmolested. I think I need to invest in some sealable containers. I can't afford to lose a half a loaf of bread every other day. It's too bad they don't believe in refrigeration here either, eh Europe Nerds?

It's too bad my resident gecko (whom I've named Chas) doesn't eat all the bugs. I'm not really sure what it is he does around here, besides hiding behind my calendar. He really needs to start pulling his own weight…

As for teaching, I've now received my new and possibly final schedule for the year. I'll be teaching 24 hours as week, with classes being either one or two hours at a time. I'm teaching English to S1s, S5s, and S6s (equivalents of grades 7, 11, and 12) and biology to S1s. Unfortunately, I've lost the class of S2s that I had been teaching for the last two weeks, which is very disappointing. I'd already become invested in it and was just starting to get to know the students and what level their English is at. Now I have to start all over again with several new groups.

In regards to language and communication, I've begun speaking a bastard-language that I've dubbed Franyarwanglish. As you might guess, it's a rough mixture of French, Kinyarwanda and English. A typical conversation with someone on the street (when they don't just start laughing) goes something like this:

Rwandese: Hello! Good morning.
Me: Mwiriwe. Amakuru?
Rwandese: Ni meza. Ca va?
Me: Oui, ca va. I'm good. Thanks.
Rwandese: Something in Kinyarwanda that I don't understand.
Me: What? Pardon?
Rwandese: Repeats Kinyarwanda.
Me: Desole. Laughs nervously. My Kinyarwanda very bad. Tres mauvais.
Rwandese: Something with the word Kinyarwanda.
Me: Yego. I try. J'essaie.
Rwandese: Peace.
Me: Peace. Umunsi mwiza!

I'm hoping that as time goes on, there will be less English (and less me not understanding them) and that I'll be able to switch to plain old Franyarwanda.

This weekend I've left Rusumo and headed off to Kigali, where I'm using the Internet as much as possible, and visiting some of the other volunteers. It's not too long of a bus ride, and it’s nice to get back to the city and see friends. I won't be able to do this all that often, but it's good to get out of the quiet, rural setting and back to an urban environment.

Well, that's all for now, thanks for reading!


Kim said...

Wow, it must be so strange to be there still! I just can't imagine, though I kinda like the idea of teaching in a foreign country. I'm sorry your bread got eated; perhaps, in time, I can mail you a loaf :)

Anonymous said...

When you say bucket shower I immediately think of Hugh Jackman rubbing himself down in the movie Australia. I'm pretty sure you have that hot of bucket showers as well, haha