Hakuna Matata!
December 6, 2010

Last Friday evening was my last in Nyakarambi, my home for the last three months. It could only be spent at KMC especially as Msafiri had promised me one final ‘special omelette’ on the house.  

A week or so before I had been chewing the fat with him whilst sipping my Mützig and  somewhere along the way I had suggested a number of marketing strategies that I thought he could usefully introduce at KMC to increase his turn-over. He listened politely and thanked me for my input.

As  Mark, Abdel-Illah and I arrived on Friday I was amazed to find Msafiri had not hung around when it came to implementing the ideas we had recently discussed.

At the entrance my eyes were immediately drawn to a hand written notice proclaiming ‘Happy Hour’ prices! We were then shown to a single table laid up with a red and white gingham tablecloth and finally our drinks were served with a bowl of home roasted peanuts – bless him!

We all ordered special omelette, salad and chips and during the evening drank a couple of beers each. On asking for the bill we were told there was nothing to pay – a generous and much appreciated gesture.  

As promised, Msafiri did not let me down either when it came to my get away on Saturday morning. He turned up as planned with a car belonging to his friend Napoleon (a doctor from the local medical centre who not surprisingly could only speak French!).

Msafiri drove the Toyota saloon while Napoleon fed compilations of dodgy French pop songs into the CD player.  I sat in the back drinking in the passing Rwandan countryside for one last time. Three hours later we arrived at Kigali Airport and over a final coffee Msafiri and I exchanged email addresses.

I shook him warmly by the hand, thanking him for his hospitality at KMC over the last three months, his generosity the previous evening and for organising my airport transfer. Being a Tanzanian he replied as always, in his native Swahili, “Hakuna Matata” and as we parted he thanked me for being such a good customer and friend. I’m sure we will keep in touch.

Twenty eight hours after leaving Nyakarambi, including six hours between flights in Addis Ababa airport (at least I can say I’ve visited Ethiopia!) I touched down at LHR terminal 3. It was 07.30, an hour earlier than the arrival time printed on my e-ticket, which meant I was able to catch the 08.45 National Express coach to Cheltenham.

As I headed north a foggy, grey Sunday morning soon gave way to blue skies and a wintry English landscape bathed in sunshine. It was so different from the Rwanda I had left behind but it was home!

Chris and I were reunited at Cheltenham Spa coach station, thirteen weeks after saying our goodbyes at the same spot. By 11.45 I was back in the Shire and being welcomed home, quite unexpectedly, by Nicci who had travelled across from Oxford.

Sunday afternoon was largely spent catching up, by the warmth of an open fire while savouring the welcome taste of real ale, at our local ‘The Bluebell’. I couldn’t help thinking it was a million miles away from KMC and wondering what Msafiri would have made of it!     

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Brochettes, beer and fond farewells
December 3, 2010

And so the end is near and yesterday evening I hosted a brochettes and beer evening at KMC. There were a dozen of us present; head teachers, teachers, moto drivers, members of the Nyakarambi business community and of course VSO colleagues.  

The invited people, I had worked particularly closely with or got to know well socially over the last three months. John and Mark kindly shared the cost of the evening with me and a great time was had by all. The Primus and Fanta flowed and there was a lively atmosphere as we all tucked in.

Given the short-term nature of my placement I was completely taken by surprise when the guests started to make a series of heart warming speeches of gratitude and Flora, the head of Nyabitare School, presented me with a lovely piece of imigongo art work and a traditionally crafted basket to take home for Chris.

During the evening Daniel, the moto driver who I have ridden with most of all, extended an invitation for me to visit his family at lunchtime today. He called to pick me up with Bonnet, his 16 month old daughter, perched in front of him on the bike and the three of set off on the short journey to their home.

I was introduced to Claudine, Daniel’s delightful wife, his elderly mother who lives nearby and four of his five children (three boys and two girls who range up to12 years old ) including Mujisha who is four and the spitting image of his father.

I was shown through into the back yard to meet the family cow, goats and hens whilst Claudine was serving up a huge plate of rice and beans.

The beans were fresh from the garden where Daniel tells me he also grows sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and a range of other vegetables together with his banana plants, so the family are pretty self sufficient.    

Daniel, Claudine and I ate from a communal plate and were soon joined by Mujisha who helped himself to a few large spoonfuls of rice. I was provided with a bottle of Mützig while Daniel drank Primus.

Over the meal I learned a bit more of the family history. Daniel and Claudine were both born in neighbouring Burundi although Daniel’s father was from Rwanda. They also lived for some time across the border in Tanzania before relocating to Nyakarambi in 1994.

Daniel had previously traded in rice and flour but seven years a go he bought a bike and became a moto driver which he says provides him with a good living. He is doing well enough to be considering updating his moto, which is an Indian make, in the new-year.

There was just time for a family group photo outside the house before I took my final moto ride back home with Daniel and Bonnet.   

I have spent the afternoon packing. Late this afternoon I said my goodbyes to Claude our domestique and tonight I intend to take Msafiri up on his offer of one last special omelette on the house!

Tomorrow I set off for Kigali Airport at around 10.00 am. Msafiri informs me that the owner and driver of the vehicle will be Napoleon. I wonder if he’ll be playing Abba’s Greatest Hits in the CD player!

This will be my final posting from out of Africa and next time you here from I should hopefully be safely back in the Shire!

Sven’s men got me singin’ the blues
November 30, 2010

My final week out here in Rwanda is turning out to be another quite slow affair. Moto excursions, to monitor the REAP English training for teachers, have been put on hold due to issues regarding the funding of travel expenses so I’m stuck in Nyakarambi, mainly working from home, with the odd stroll up the hill to the District Office for a bit of exercise!

I’ve actually just returned from a session discussing my VSO reference with the District Education Officer, Telesphore, having eventually pinned him down for half an hour and amazingly without any distractions from his mobile.        

The mobile phone culture out here is crazy. Incoming calls take precedence over anything and everything so if you’re in the middle of a conversation with somebody and their phone goes you’re just left standing there, mid sentence with your mouth gaping open, while they wander off and take the call. If you’re lucky they might return – that’s if they remember! It’s very frustrating and to us seems very rude, but not so to them.

Anyway all of my final reports have now been completed and submitted so I’m not quite sure how I’ll be occupying my work time for the rest of the week. My leisure time, however, is pretty much spoken for.

Tomorrow evening I’ve been invited over to Kibungo for a farewell pasta dish with Cathy and Louise and on Thursday I’m hosting a brochettes and beer evening at KMC as a  ‘thank you and goodbye’ to those I’ve got to know most closely over the last three months.  

My day hardly got off to the brightest start, having logged on first thing to find Sven’s Leicester team had stuck one over Forest in last night’s local derby at the Walkers Stadium. Apparently, according to Billy, we just didn’t compete and if it hadn’t been for a fine goalkeeping performance from Lee Camp the score might have been embarrassing.

I have to admit I thought it was a nice touch when Sven, who of course has both England and Notts County on his cv, remarked in his post match interview that perhaps he had made a few Magpies fans happy!    

Forest considered it too soon for either of their new loan signings, Aaron Ramsey and Marcus Tudgay, to start the game but I guess they’ll be taking a bow at home against Bristol City on Saturday. I wonder what the chances are of picking up the score in Addis Ababa airport!

  

Tying Up Loose Ends…(150 up!)
November 27, 2010

I’m spending my final weekend in Kigali.

Yesterday morning I caught the 07.30 International Express  from Nyakarambi and at 10.15 I arrived at the VSO office. Two hours later I left, having completed my ‘exit interview’, claimed my final expenses and said my ‘goodbyes’ to the office staff.

Down town I called in at the Ethiopian Airlines office to confirm my flights for next Saturday. All sorted but I can’t say I’m looking forward to kicking my heels for six hours in Addis Ababa airport before boarding the 02.00 flight to Heathrow!

Earlier in the week, back in Nyakarambi,  I had met up with Msafiri bemoaning Arsenal’s mid week defeat in Europe. He also confirmed that he has acquired a vehicle to transport  me to the airport next Saturday morning.  I think he is going to drive me there, which is a really nice gesture, considering it’s a six-hour round trip and Saturday is a busy day for trade!    

I was delighted to log on last night and find that Forest have pulled off two superb loan signings, Marcus Tudgay, a decent striker from Sheffield Wednesday, and Aaron Ramsey, an exciting and precocious midfield talent from Arsenal. Ramsey is recovering from a nine month lay off following a very nasty injury but hopefully during the eight matches, he is available for, he will help Forest cement a place in the top six of the Championship.

It’s less good news for Dexter Blackstock, a striker who I have a lot of time for, who will be out for twelve months following his injury in the latter stages of our win at Cardiff. At least the ‘acquisitions panel’ have moved quickly to replace him.

It’s less good news on the ‘Ashes’ front where England might struggle to come away with a draw from the First Test, down under. The pre series hype was never going to favour them. We don’t wear the ‘favourites’ tag very easily and the Aussies were never going to roll over despite what the media wrote.   

Hopefully things will turn around, as one of the things I’m  looking forward to on my return  is a few late night/early morning sessions of play courtesy of Sky Sports.

There was a rather surreal feeling this morning, sitting in my T-shirt sipping coffee in the ‘Isimbi’ bar as CNN announced severe weather and snow alerts across the UK. As long as it doesn’t interfere with flights I don’t mind, but below freezing temperatures will come as a bit of a shock.

It’s umuganda today so I’m confined to the hotel this morning, hence the opportunity to update the blog, at some length!  According to the stats this is my 150th posting, which is quite amazing. I have to admit I have rather surprised myself at managing to keep it going for that long.

Given this landmark posting and the weather conditions back home perhaps I should have followed the time-honoured Dandy and Beano format of coating the title font with snow and wishing all my readers a somewhat premature Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Anyhow I think at least celebratory lunchtime drink is called for. It’s warm and bright here in Kigali, the bars are opening up now and I think I’s better make the most of it!

North London ‘derby’ in Nyakarambi!
November 21, 2010

We have been promising ourselves a Saturday afternoon visit to KMC to watch a match on Msafiri’s big screen. Given that this weekend we were at a loose end in Nyakarambi and that Mark is a ‘Gooner’, the North London ‘derby’ seemed an obvious call.

Sod’s law decreed that this would, of course, be the Saturday afternoon that Msafiri had let his function room for a wedding party, so no football. Fortunately, however somebody else with an eye for the main chance had set up a 26 inch TV in a back room behind Uncle Innocent’s café.

We dutifully paid 200RWF entrance fee and took our place on wooden bench, hemmed in by about seventy football mad locals, and with a distant view of the small screen. About 75% of the crowd were Arsenal ‘fans’ and the rest were cheering on Spurs because they were followers of Chelsea or Man Utd.

The first half was a cake walk for Arsene’s team and the camera even caught him smiling. Perhaps it was too easy, because the second half saw an amazing turn around and Harry’s Spurs surprisingly found themselves 3-2 winners,  without really playing that well. A ‘game of two halves,’ if ever there was, and  Arsene was finally shown throwing his water bottle on to the ground in frustration!

To be honest all five goals were the product of dubious defending and who knows what Cesc Fabregas was thinking of when he stuck up an arm to let Spurs back in with an equalising penalty which provided, an out of condition, Rafael Van der Waart with his one and only meaningful contribution  to the game.

Game over and we repaired to the ‘front terrace’ of KMC to drown Mark’s sorrows and catch the dying embers of the day. As we watched the wedding guests, dressed in their finery, come and go we were soon joined by Msafiri sporting his ‘Tora Paul Kagame’ T-shirt and a long face. He is also a Gunners fan and had been watching the game up in his room.

Msafiri has taken to wearing a range of PK leisure wear since last Sunday when he attended a FPR meeting addressed by a local MP who apparently robustly refuted the findings of the recent controversial UN enquiry.  

Msafiri maintains he has never been into politics too much but understands the current standing and popularity of PK and, being rather astute, he clearly recognises that nailing his colours to the mast can’t be all together bad for business.     

He has been very friendly and helpful to us since we moved to Nyakarambi and is a bit of a local Mr Fixit. I had set him the mission of trying to find someone local who might be prepared to transport me and my luggage to Kigali Airport in two weeks time, at a decent rate, so I don’t have to struggle with it on the bus.

It seems he might have come up trumps and in typical African style, with a big smile on his face he declared that he could confirm arrangements two days before I’m due to leave. My response that I needed to know at least a week before leaving was met with another big grin and a, ‘Don’t worry Phillip I won’t let you down!’ Past experience suggests he won’t so I’ll just relax and go with the flow.          

On arriving home a  quick trawl on the internet soon put  the North London ‘derby’  into perspective. The result of the day was obviously down in Cardiff where Billy’s Boys beat the table toppers 2-0 to move the Tricky Trees into the top six of the Championship!

A severe dose of ‘man flu’…………..
November 15, 2010

Apologies to my ‘regulars’ for the lack of postings over the last week or so, principally the result of a severe bout of ‘man flu’ which I’ve managed to recover from with the help of an emergency cache of paracetamol, Strepsils and Lemsip which Dorothy had stashed away before her departure and for which I was very grateful.  

A moto-ride to O Sole Luna

Following my whistle-stop tour of the Volcanoes National Park and Lake Kivu I returned to Kigali and met up with my VSO colleagues who had been toiling through another week of in-country training.

I was running a bit late when I left the Hotel Isimbi and immediately realised that I had not allowed for the Friday night rush hour in the capital city. I decided to forget the matutu (mini-bus taxi) and take a moto. It was quite an exhilarating experience (one I wouldn’t even have considered when I first arrived here)  as we bobbed and weaved through queues of traffic, surging between the static rows, with a hair’s breadth to spare, in order to take pole position at the traffic lights.    

I made the rendezvous with time to spare and we enjoyed a really pleasant evening at a highly recommended Italian restaurant on the edge of Remera, called O Sole Luna, which provided stunning views from its terrace across the twinkling lights of Kigali (no power-cut that night) and more importantly a genuine wood fired pizza oven!

Service was a bit on the slow side, which is pretty standard anywhere – time is not considered important here, but well worth waiting for. My four cheese pizza even had genuine chunks of brie and gorgonzola!

At the end of the evening it was time for hugs and fond farewells with a number of very nice people who I have come to know over the last ten weeks and who I will not see again before I return home. I wish them all the very best for the remainder of their long-term placements.     

A rising temperature but the show goes on!

By Sunday afternoon, and a three-hour bus journey courtesy of International, I arrived back at Nyakarambi with a rising temperature, sore throat and streaming nose. A throbbing head soon joined in and basically I felt pretty grim for the next three days.

Unfortunately it coincided with my first two scheduled workshops which I didn’t want to cancel so I dosed myself up and ploughed on regardless. I wouldn’t recommend facilitating a four-hour session on creating an effective classroom environment as the best remedy but I got through and lived to tell the tale.

It was rather disappointing, given the work I’d put into the preparation, that only 50% of the staff showed up at one school and about 75% at the other. It is the school holidays (for pupils) but I had been led to believe teachers were expected to attend any in-service training that was made available to them. I’m still not clear whether their contracts oblige them to put in an appearance. Clearly some of them think it’s optional or don’t fancy the idea of a muzungu droning on about raising standards for four hours!    

Going Postal in Kibungo & Caribbean curry

On Saturday I visited Kibungo in search of our nearest Iposita (post office). These are a rare commodity in Rwanda. This one, quite a walk from the centre of town, is the only place that sells stamps ‘locally’ and is the sole repository for incoming mail.

None of the properties in Nyakarambi and the surrounding villages has a postal address and there is no postal delivery service so if residents or schools wish to receive mail they need to set up a ‘post box’ in Kibungo.

Periodically they then have to make a bus journey clutching the key to their numbered box with its little yellow door situated outside the main post office building, which incidentally doesn’t strike me as being overly secure.

It’s been a ten week odyssey to find and purchase post cards, and then locate the post office in Kibungo, which of course was closed by the time I arrived.

Fortunately there are two young lady volunteers living in Kibungo who will post the cards for me later this week. Cathy and Louise also kindly offered to cook me a meal and put me up for the night in their ‘guest room’. So it wasn’t a wasted journey.

We had a pleasant time shopping in the local market where they both showed how their Kinyarwanda lessons are paying off as they enquired about prices and exchanged pleasantries with the stall holders who now recognise them as local regulars.

A very healthy, vegetable laden, Caribbean curry (due to the presence of fresh pineapple) and rice went down very well later on Saturday night, followed by a rare treat of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (made under license in Kenya). On Sunday morning they also kindly rustled up pancakes for breakfast I left for home. I must have looked in need of a good feed. Thanks for looking after an old-timer girls!                   

This week I’ve got four consecutive days of workshops, two on lesson planning and two on classroom observation. I’m pleased to say things have started quite well with an improved turn out today.        

‘High Noon’ at Nyakarambi & Glaws gun down Tigers in Kingsholm showdown!
October 31, 2010

Weekends are the quietest part of the week in Nyakarambi. On Saturday a number of businesses are closed because the owners are Seventh Day Adventists and similarly a lot are also closed on Sunday due to the call of church.  

This Saturday, being the final one of the month, was umuganda so it was even quieter than normal and I had to wait until 12.30 for the first Kigali bound bus of the day.

As I hauled my suitcase up the main street it did occur to me, not for the first time, how similar Nyakarambi is to those out posts of the old wild-west depicted in Hollywood movies.

As the midday sun bore down I had a sudden flash back to the Gary Cooper character in the classic western High Noon (which really shows my age!).

Shop fronts line the main street with their covered walkways, the Auberge Ikirezi does a good impression of a saloon bar, with its fair share of all day drinkers, while the moto drivers coral their machines in the shade of a tree at the edge of the town or cruise around, like latter-day cowboys. There are even, off stage sound effects, with the occasional long-horned steer lowing in the background.

In fact all that was missing, as I waited for the International ‘stage coach’ to pull in, was a piece of tumbleweed cart-wheeling along the road!

Meanwhile, back in the 21st century, it was a tight squeeze on the bus. My suitcase caused a bit of a problem and had to be wedged under a seat whilst I was show horned between a guy snoozing in a window seat and a sister of generous proportions who spread over most of  my seat as well as her own.

The sun soon dissolved into pouring rain and for three hair-raising hours the driver had one hand on the horn and the other clasping a mobile to his ear.

I knew Rwanda had joined the Commonwealth but I hadn’t realised they had switched to driving on the left hand side of the road, which is where we spent most of our time – swerving back to the right at the last-minute to avoid on coming traffic!     

Luckily the rain had abated by the time we reached Kigali and I was soon ensconced in the bar at my hotel of choice, the Isimbi  (where I’m becoming recognised as a bit of a regular) settling my nerves with a much-needed beer whilst watching a similarly edgy Gunners sneak a 1-0 win over the lowly Hammers at the Emirates.   

Game over and I went straight on-line to find that Forest’s recent recovery had stalled as they suffered a touch of the blues with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Pompey, apparently conceding two soft goals and converting just one of 13 chances that came their way!

However in the ‘egg catching’ game Gloucester, who seem to be going from strength to strength, tweaked the Tiger’s tail, to steal the points with a last gasp try from Lesley ‘the Volcano’ Vanikolo.

This type of final flourish is usually reserved for the likes of Leicester, not Glaws, particularly in televised games, but this young Cherry & Whites side seems to have a bit more steel about them than last year and just maybe they might surprise a few people, come the end of the season!

Chance encounters…….
October 27, 2010

This week has been very slow. Being exam week, and the final week of the Rwandan academic year, heads and teachers are so tied up that school visits would be rather pointless. Although on Friday afternoon Nyabitare School have kindly invited me to their end of year ‘celebrations’ which will no doubt be an enjoyable occasion.    

As an interesting aside, Wellars, the head at Nyamateke  had told me that he would not be available as he would be at Nyarabuye Secondary School, all of this week, with his P6 students who have to sit their important external exams. He explained that for most this would entail a daily return cross-country trek, up hill and down dale, of up to 10km.  They will need to leave home at around 6.00 am to be sure of arriving by 8.00 am to register for a test which begins at 9.00 am.  

Somehow I can’t imagine Y6 pupils in the UK, or more to the point their parents, agreeing to such an exhausting schedule during SATs week!     

Most of my time this week has been spent preparing booklets and visual aids for three workshops I’ll be leading, during November: ‘Ten Steps to Creating an Effective Classroom’, ‘A Ten Step Guide to Lesson Planning’ and a ‘Classroom Observation Guide’ – maybe rudimentary stuff for teachers in the UK but essential ingredients of school improvement out here.   

Technology at the District Office is not the most reliable but this morning I took a chance and went along to print off and photocopy my workshop materials only to find paper was in very short supply. As I was going to need quite a large amount I went in search of some. I didn’t hold out much hope given that shopping in Nyakarambi is a bit of a lottery.

It is not always easy to tell what is sold in any given outlet from the often misleading signs they display but once within their dark interiors many of them turn out to be, what you might call, ‘general stores’ stocking an often random selection of goods.

As luck would have it I bumped into a Victor, a secondary school English teacher, I had been introduced to some time ago. Having gone through the whole hand shaking greetings ritual, which is so important here, I explained my quest and he immediately led me off to an unprepossessing looking shop where, sure enough, three reams of photocopying paper sat on the shelf along side a tins of sardines and packets of Nice biscuits – two very popular luxury items in these parts!   

The next hurdle, as always, was negotiating an acceptable price. 3000 RWF suddenly became 3,200 when the lady in the shop saw she was dealing with a muzungu but having, to my surprise, located such a rare commodity as photocopying paper I wasn’t about to haggle over 20 pence!

With mission accomplished I was by now feeling a bit peckish and set off up the high street to Auberge Ikirezi. The mainly French-speaking staff here are always very friendly and it has a pleasant open courtyard to the rear. More importantly I have recently discovered this is the only place in Nyakarambi where I can get a proper cup of icyayi, hence I’ve become a bit of a regular.  For the princely sum of 600 RWF (60p) they provide a china mug, two tea bags, a thermos of hot water and amandazi (a local type of doughnut).

As I headed back from town towards the District Office I enjoyed my second chance encounter of the morning. A young lad greeted me with a confident, ‘Good morning, how are you?’ and quickly fell into step introducing himself as fourteen year old Gwsenga from the local secondary school. He had finished his exams and had ‘free time’ now until he collected his results on Friday.

Gwsenga had only been speaking English for two years, having previously been taught in French, and I was surprised how fluent he was. He accompanied me for the rest of my journey, during which time he told me he liked English but wanted to improve. He was working hard at his studies and was fortunate that his parents were able to support his secondary education by growing pineapples which were sold on to markets and retail outlets in Kigali.

Gwsenga’s family live near the local medical centre and one day he hopes he can become a doctor and help cure the many ill people he sees around him in his country. He told me that he had been a little bit frightened to approach me, a white person, but he wanted to practice his English and could we exchange email addresses so that we might correspond when I return to England. I was pleased to do so.      

I was most impressed by Gwsenga. Bright young men and women like him, with a social conscience, who are motivated to improve themselves, through education, can provide a bright future for this developing nation.

A house with pillars, pineapples and a mango tree!
October 3, 2010

We had been told that from the outset that our initial accommodation in ‘Sonia’s House’ would only be until the end of September. However we rather took it with a pinch of salt and thought it was most likely that we would remain there until I leave at the beginning of December and then Mark would move in with John, who is now living alone in ‘Dorothy’s House’.

At 4.30 on Friday afternoon, just as I was recovering after a day spent chasing a green card, there was a knock on the door and we were presented with a bunch keys to our ‘new house’, and could we move out tomorrow!

Saturday morning and we were up at the crack, packing our bags, and shifting the VSO furniture a couple of hundred yards down the track to our new home. We had to move  everything by hand but Claude, our domestique, and Jean Pierre, a neighbour and chargé d’affaires for education in a neighbouring sector, gave us a helping hand.

Between the four of us it only took a couple of hours but it was hot and thirsty work and following the move we were in desperate need of a Fanta Coca or icyai n’amata (sweet tea made with hot milk – not my bag! ) at Innocent’s Cafe where he took the opportunity to offer us an impromptu Kinyarwanda lesson which we could have managed without!

Claude was a gem, working all day on what is normally a day off, mopping out the rooms, hanging mosquito nets etc  so we paid him double his usual daily rate and charged it to VSO expenses given they should really have provided us with a removal service. Claude’s face lit up and he asked if we needed him tomorrow!

The new house is adjacent to the recreation area and Nyakarambi School, and slightly nearer to town. It’s quite impressive looking from the front with four pillars supporting a portico and a large garden full of pineapple plants, although it doesn’t look as if they are likely to mature any time soon.

To the rear the back the garden is just bare earth and nowhere near as nice as the planted courtyard area at ‘Sonia’s House’, although we do have a mango tree.

Inside there is a kitchen, living area, dining area, two bathrooms and eight bedrooms! It is far too big for the two of us really, so we have shut off one wing and still have plenty of space to spread out.

My bedroom is twice the size of my previous one and amazingly has a built-in wardrobe, of sorts, so I no longer have to hang my clothes from the curtain rail.

The only down side at the moment concerns the water supply(what a surprise!), which has to be switched on and off at the bottom of the garden. We aren’t able to leave it on permanently because of a faulty tap in the kitchen which can’t be isolated and constantly pours out water.

I wonder how long it will take to get a Rwandan plumber in to fix it!

Dorothy clicks her ruby shoes and bids farewell to Nyakarambi
October 3, 2010

I can’t help associating the name Dorothy with the Wizard of Oz. Thinking about it I’m sure a number of parallels could be drawn between LF Baum’s adventure and Dorothy’s time here in Nyakarambi.

Yesterday Dorothy finally reached the end of the yellow brick road, clicked her ruby shoes and headed for home, not Kansas but Cornwall!

On Friday evening we had a final farewell at the KMC. For the second time in a week Msafiri came up trumps with an impressive buffet and he also kindly donated soft drinks and a crate of Primus free of charge, a nice gesture.

It was a very pleasant evening with many of Dorothy’s closest friends from the community putting in an appearance. Rwandan’s seem to love making speeches on these occasions and many well deserved and kind words were spoken.

Dorothy has been a great help since we arrived and now we are on our own, with a big pair of ruby shoes to fill.