Monday, October 19, 2009

DRC and less than two weeks to go

So, first of all, I have less than 2 weeks left in Rwanda. Crazy! I’m going to travel around for about a month before I get back to North America, so it’s still a little while until you can all see me again, but still…AHHHH! I’m in the process of saying my goodbyes and figuring out what I’m bringing back and what I’m leaving here. I’ve finished grading the exams and I’m almost done with the report cards, and that’s all I have left.

When I first came here I made it my goal to visit each country that borders Rwanda. I went to Uganda in April and Burundi a couple of months after that. Two weekends ago I went to the Democratic Republic of Congo. (If you don’t know much about the country, you should look it up. It’s got an interesting story, though pretty depressing, and have been locked in a series of rebellions and civil wars pretty much since it was created. It currently resides as No 3 on the UN’s list of most failed states, behind Somalia and Afghanistan. I tell you that so I can brag that I visited a country with less of a government than Iraq and Sudan.) Anyway, we only spent one night there (in Goma) but spent a good deal of time walking around the town. Let me tell you, it’s not in good shape. In 2004 the town was destroyed by/covered with lava from the volcano just to the north and even now the streets and alleys are covered in piles of volcanic rock. There are UN troops and aid workers everywhere, severely driving up prices making it more expensive than Kigali (which is very expensive compared to other parts of East Africa). There was also a lot more obvious poverty than you generally see in Rwanda. It’s definitely a rough place to live.

We did try two new beers though, both darker than the Rwandese beers. Tempo is quite good, but Turbo King (yes, that is what it is actually called) is disgusting. It tasted like they tried to make an energy drink/beer combination.

The craziest part of the trip though, is that we stumbled upon some illegal gorilla smugglers (not that any gorilla smuggling is legal). The compound bordering our hotel had two baby gorillas in it (so incredibly cute btw!). We asked at the hotel and found out that it was “unauthorized”. The smugglers didn’t like the fact that we took pictures, but we had to get photo evidence, so we took quite a few and walked up a creepy little side street to get the address of the place, then got the heck out of the country. We’re also in the process of trying to report this so some sort of authority.

So, I’m only human, right? Is it so wrong of me to want to know what my students think of me? On their finals, many of them had to write essays or paragraphs about…me. The results were, well, interesting. Mostly a huge ego boost of course, but some strange answers too. Almost every student said that they loved me and that I was a good teacher/the best teacher they’ve ever had. Of course, I know that a lot of that might be fishing for points but I have to believe that some of it is the truth! As for the other things they said…

The extremely obvious:
I’m white.
I don’t like cheating. (I made this quite clear!)

The complimentary:
I have a pretty smile.
I am thought of as a parent of the school.
I am handsome.
I have strength in my arms.
I look like a boxer or someone who knows karate.

The contradictory:
I’m fairly fat.
I am very thin.
I am short.
I am taller than others.

The just plain wrong:
I studied in USA (Union of South America)
I went to Denver University.
I was a secretary for Barack Obama (or Black Obama as several kids think he is called).
I was a teacher of Barack Obama.
I’m going to teach in Tanzania next.
I like to pray to God (or play God – Ls and Rs are difficult) every day and night.
I’m married.
I have two brothers and two sisters.
I live in England.

And the strange/extremely screwed up English:
I have white hair and side beards.
I am brown.
I am yellow.
I have an 84% for weight.
I don’t wear a trouser to school (definitely not true, I just don’t know what he meant!)
I have a good tail.
I have a chocolate head. (WHAT?)

See y’all in a couple months!


Deirdre said...

Yum yum chocolate head!

I also play g-d every morning and every night. It is my favorite game.

But, when did you get married? I thought you were a spinster like Camber and Caitlin. ;)

I think you are grand, and am very proud of you!


Caitlin Rose said...

jeez mom, way to emasculate my friends. Only girls can me spinsters, boys are spinmisters.

I also am proud of you and think you are mostly grand.

Camber Carpenter said...

defo grand.

Pretty sure I'm going to refer to your side beard next time I see you. In seven years. Probably in Siberia.