Intore Dancers and Kimironko Market
September 12, 2010

VSO family dinner was arranged for Saturday evening. It provided an opportunity for the new recruits to meet serving volunteers already well into their placements.

There are currently 43 VSO volunteers in Rwanda and everyone enjoyed the evening. There was an extensive melanje and a bar, with two free drinks per volunteer!

However the highlight of the occasion was the performance of the Intore dancers. This type of traditional dancing stretches back centuries, before the arrival of the Europeans.

Selected young men at the royal court received a privileged education and choreographic training in order to entertain their master s and perform at special court occasions.    

The name intore means ‘best’, as only the best of them were chosen for this honour. Traditionally they performed warlike dances with spears (ikuma) and shields (ingabo). Both of these were on show last night.

Towards the end of the evening, after a few drinks, there was an opportunity for some enthusiastic audience participation!   

Today, Sunday, was a day off after a very intensive six days of training. An optional outing to Kimironko Market was on offer. We made our way by matatu (mini bus taxi) out past the Amahoro Stadium, scene of the presidential inauguration earlier this week, to this large covered market.

It was all very orderly with stalls set out in rank and file order, and well defined areas for meat (including live chickens), fish, vegetables, fruit, hardware, fabrics, handicrafts etc.

The locals were very friendly and it was an opportunity for us to put our Kinyrwanda lessons into practice by exchanging greetings and rehearsing the vocabulary for common fruit and vegetables.

Bananas (imineke) are very plentiful out here, as are Irish potatoes (ibirayi) and sweet potatoes (ikirayi). In fact the range, quality and quantity of the produce on sale was very high and the market was also very clean and tidy, in keeping with everything we have seen to date.  

Plastic bags are banned in Rwanda as part of their environmental policy and it has had the desired effect. On the last Saturday of every month, Rwandans are also expected to spend time doing jobs to help improve their community, such as litter picking, and general land and property maintenance work.

It has been overcast all day today, with regular sharp downpours. This afternoon I took a short walk around the local district taking some photographs and meeting a few locals! 

It was great to be able to log on first thing this morning and catch up with the football and rugby results. It seems Forest snatched a last gasp equaliser against Milwall, in a game they dominated (again). A win would be nice, any time soon!

Coincidently, I found out last night that the VSO country director, Mike, is also a Forest enthusiast!  

Gloucester nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in a game they had bossed from the early stages but they let Leeds Carnegie back into the game and had to rely on the last kick of the game by Nicky Robinson to see them home by one point!