Saturday, February 28, 2009

When it rains…

Ok, this has to be the quickest post I’ve put up yet! Using the
Internet two days in a row, wow! How decadent of me! Actually,
yesterday I used the free Internet at the District Office, and today I
came to Kibungo because I had some errands to run in town anyway.

It’s been an extremely busy weekend so far. I’ve been slammed with
grading, and with exams coming up in a couple weeks, lesson planning
is becoming difficult once more. I spent several hours yesterday
afternoon grading and correcting letters that I had my S5s write. By
the end I hated the English language and everything to do with it!
Pretty soon I’ll also have to start writing the exams themselves…

Also yesterday, I got a haircut! Fortunately, unlike what many people
thought, they didn’t completely shave my head. It’s pretty short, but
not too bad of a haircut. The barber did try to charge me 1000 RWF,
which was totally a muzungo price, so I asked why he was charging me
more because I was white (in broken French). The massive crowd that
had gathered to watch my haircut laughed, and I only paid 500 RWF
(still probably too much).

The title of this post refers to the fact that since February is
ending, we are entering the rainy season. I’ve started to see some
evidence of this, but I’m told it will get worse. That would be bad,
for several reasons which I will illustrate using two anecdotes.

So, early Thursday morning, I was awoken by an extremely heavy
rainfall slamming onto my iron-sheet roof. I was able to fall back
asleep until my alarm went off, but it was still raining. It was also
still raining as I waited for my moto (motorcycle taxi) to show up to
take me to school and it was still raining as I walked to the bus stop
when I realized my moto wasn’t showing up or answering my phone calls.
It was also still raining when I caught a new moto after being
dropped off by the bus and it was still raining when I got to class 15
minutes late, muddy and soaking wet. Actually, it’s quite surprising
that I was only 15 minutes late. I would have been about 45 min late
if I had walked up the river of mud/road from the bus stop in Rwanteru
to the school instead of taking the moto.

On that note, I feel I must question the judgment of whoever decided
that the start of the rainy season was a good time to “work on” the
road to the school. By work on, I mean they are using hoes and
shovels to loosen the packed dirt of the road, dig up stones, etc.
This is all well and good, but when it rains, the newly loosened dirt
becomes mud. Very thick and messy mud. I saw a moto get stuck in it
one day, and mine barely made it.

Another reason to be worried about the rainy season is that the rain
makes it hard to teach. I know to all of you back home it might seem
strange, but we have to stop teaching when it storms, or even when
there is a heavy rain. Remember, all the buildings here have
iron-sheet roofs, and when the rain comes down hard, the students from
about the 3rd row on can’t hear a thing I’m saying. It’s even worse
when it’s windy, as it was on Wednesday. My S1s had just finished
taking a test and I was trying to explain a writing assignment, which
was already next to impossible due to the sound of the rain. However,
the wind began to blow quite hard, and the rain began to come in
through the broken windows on one side of the class. It just kept
getting worse, until the rain was getting about halfway across the
room and the students and I were huddled up against the opposite wall
trying to stay warm and dry. (Did I mention it was also extremely
cold and about half of the students - and myself - didn’t have coats
or sweaters?) So yes, the rainy season could spell delays in getting
through the course material…


Camber Carpenter said...

So what you're saying is, you're experiencing a draught?
Very vivid descriptions--I think you've got a memoir in the making.

Also, heard about something happening in Rwanda on the news yesterday. It was either something political/diplomatic or full coverage of your 500 RWD haircut.
I require photos thereof.

Camber Carpenter said...

expletive Franophones.