The view from the library windows
Ok, so it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. My usual moto driver couldn’t make it to pick me up on Wednesday, so he sent another driver. Only problem was, I don’t think this guy had his license. As we rounded a bend in the road, he saw the police up ahead, stopping cars and checking licenses, so he pulled a u-turn, and we headed back to Nykarambi. At this point I was wondering if he was just going to hand me off to another driver, but instead he decided to take a different route that would allow us to bypass the cops. He pulls off the road onto a dirt path, and from here on out we are practically off-roading it. Eventually we are driving down a hill on what can only really be described as a goat path when the driver loses control and we go down. I mean that literally. He swerved a couple times then the motorcycle just fell over on top of us. Of course, I landed in the mud, so I was quite muddy for class. I also landed on my shoulder kind of hard. It’s a little sore, but it could have been worse! Anyway, it makes for a good story at least…
Other than that, things are going pretty well. Classes are doing fine, only one week left, plus a week of review, before exams. With a couple of my classes it seems like I really haven’t taught them enough to give them an exam, but I suppose I’ll come up with something. The library is also coming along. A whole bunch of books showed up this week (from where? I have no idea!) and it’s a bit crazy in there now. I’ve spent the last couple days moving cupboards around and trying to figure out where to put the books. We still have virtually no literature, but at least we now have some textbooks!
Lizard update: I had my first confirmed sighting of two little lizards on my ceiling at the same time. Now I have to come up with another name…
I had a request that I talk a little about the food I’ve been eating. I suppose it can be mostly summed up by saying: bananas. Also plantains. I am getting so sick of bananas and plantains. The food is great, don’t get me wrong, but when practically every meal includes either bananas or plantains, it gets a little tiresome.
Breakfast: usually bread with peanut butter. I finally bought some Tupperware in Kigali, so I’m no longer fighting with the ants over my bread. I also sometimes have a couple passion-fruit, or an omelet cooked onto a piece of very flat dough or a banana.
Lunch: the school provides lunch for the teachers. Until this week it was free, but the teachers were complaining about the quality/quantity of the food so now we are paying an extra 1500 RFW a month to improve it. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the food, until I realized that for many of the teachers, lunch is the only meal they eat. Usually lunch consists of rice, beans (sometimes with cabbage mixed in) and ugali (which I believe to be pounded cassava). Lately they’ve also begun serving – banana mash.
Supper: most of the time, Consol, my house-girl (the easiest way to describe her, but not really accurate) cooks supper. She is an amazing cook, and there can be quite a bit of variety. Often there is rice or chips (French fries for you North Americans), and some sort of ....casserole? stew? I’m not really sure what to call it. It’s often made of some combination of beans, cabbage, plantains, bananas, potatoes, peanuts, a spinach-like vegetable and tomatoes (usually just two or three of these per pot). A couple times a week we also have a sauce with a couple chunks of meat to get our protein. For dessert there is pineapple, passion-fruit or, you guessed it, bananas! (Also, some assorted candy that I got in a package from home.)
Going out to eat here in Nyakarambi doesn’t provide a lot of options. There are two places that have good food, and they really only have one thing on the menu: goat brochette (meat on a stick) with a plate of chips and sometimes a small salad (made of cabbage) with mayonnaise dressing. It’s pretty good, but last time I ordered it, they were out of chips, so they gave me…fried bananas.
In my free time I’ve been on a bit of a Canadian Indie music kick. I’ve been listening to old CBC Radio 3 podcasts (available on iTunes if you have Internet) as well as listening to all the Canadian music on my computer. The Arcade Fire, Immaculate Machine and Broken Social Scene help me get through the night.
Side note: while I was writing this blog, two swallows flew into my room and circled it, squawking, for about three minutes.