Monday, May 25, 2009

Sorry, it's been a while since I've last posted, but i wasn't able to
get online last weekend. Also, there have been some troubles...

It started last week when it rained on Tuesday (audible gasp). I got
back from school late and found that the power was off. No big deal,
sometimes the power goes off when it rains (although i don't
understand why since it comes from a generator about 50 yards away
from the house). However, it didn't come back on the next day, or the
next. Finally, after 5 days it was back. Considering that when I left
for Rwanda, i didn't think I’d have any electricity, it really
shouldn't have been a big deal, but I've come to rely on it, and 5
nights without it was tough. Also, i was going through about a candle
a night, which gets expensive.

Anyway, that's not the worst of it! When the power came back on, my
laptop wouldn't charge. A couple of the lights were also acting
strange, so i assumed the power just wasn't strong enough. Nope.
Apparently when the generator went it had surged, destroying a whole
bunch of the town's lightbulbs and my charger. Not happy! I have now
gone 2 weeks without being able to use my laptop and I’m on the verge
of insanity. I can't listen to my music (which was one of the only
things that kept me sane during the first couple months), watch
movies, do my budgeting (which i had in a word file) or write my blogs
before i get online. Hassle!

I spent all of yesterday wandering around Kigali, going in and out of
computer stores (and getting lost several times), and no one sells mac
stuff. No one. A lot of times when i asked people would just laugh
and tell me "good luck!" I do have a lead on a supplier now, and I’ve
sent a couple emails, so who knows. If all else fails, someone can
send one from home, but that'll mean about 2 months without using my
laptop and i'd rather not go through that.

In other news, two weekends ago i visited Akagera National Park with
some friends. I saw giraffes, zebras, antelopes, water buffalos,
hippos, warthogs, baboons and monkeys! We spent the whole day there
and despite getting covered in mud while trying to get the car unstuck
in close proximity to a herd of buffalo, it was great fun.

Last weekend Rusumo High School was visited by our sister school in
Tanzania, an all-girls school. The visit was an attempt to resurrect a
partnership between the two schools and was quite successful. Before
commencing the festivities, we all visited a model primary school and
the genocide memorial at Nyarabuye, a church in the district where
over 27,000 people were buried in mass graves. It holds rows and rows
of bones and some of the weapons that were used in the killings.

After lunch we competed in football and debate (although both were cut
short and volleyball was cancelled due to "lack of time". We had
plenty of time for numerous self-important speeches by pompous
officials of course.) The English department was in charge of
organizing the debate. This was a lot of fun! We worked with mainly
Senior 2s and 3s who had pretty good English and had expressed
interest in Debate. The motion, which we were supporting, was "mixed
sex schools are better than single sex schools." When it came down to
it, i would say that the Tanzanians' English was slightly better but
that our arguments were slightly better. Overall I’d give the win to
our school, but the judges gave it to our opponents. Our kids were
actually quite upset; there's definitely an attitude of "winning is
everything" encouraged here, and a couple of them are extremely
competitive, but they enjoyed themselves in the end. They say they
plan on starting a debate club and hopefully we'll be able to debate
other schools in the province before too long.

Depressing thought of the week: It's depressing how many of my
students spelled "English" wrong on their last tests. It makes me
wonder how good of a teacher i am.

Finally, a new installment of "What does the rainy season mean to you?"
- night after night with no power
- mud everywhere, EVERYWHERE (on my shoes, in my shoes, on my pants,
in my pants, in my nose (it only happened once...)
- cancelling class because it's raining in the classroom
- wet towels
- clothes taking the entire week to dry


Andrew and Amanda in Europe said...

Oh Andy, I feel your pain! Podcasts on itunes was and still is one of the few things keeping me sane. You're going to laugh but I also took up cross-stitching to occupy myself. It takes an incredible amount of time, perhaps you can find a similar activity?

PS: Don't worry too much about your students bad spelling, at my training they said that that usually comes slowly as they pick up sound and spelling patterns, but as long at they can communicate you're doing a good job!

Anonymous said...

I can send you some yarn, needles and knitting books, Andy!
Hang in there.