Supermarket Sweep at T2000 aka ‘The Chinese Shop’
September 13, 2010

Today was our last training day, comprising a  final Kinyarwanda lesson, followed by a session on the vagaries of performance management, Rwandan style.  

Emmanuel, our Kinywrandan teacher has been excellent; clear, helpful, friendly and amusing, particularly with some of  his catch phrases such as, “It’s there”  and “Vocabulary for free,” any time there was a derivation, no matter how tenuous, from English or French. 

After lunch we took the matatu into Kigali town centre to buy basic commodities for our accommodation. We have each been given a grant of 100,000 Rwandan francs (£100.00) to buy such essentials as : blankets, sheets, pillows, pots, pans, crockery, cutlery, cleaning materials etc.

19 VSO volunteers descended on T2000 aka the Chinese Shop (for obvious reasons) and spent an hour or cruising up and down the aisles with our baskets. It was all a bit like Supermarket Sweep  (for those who have had the misfortune to have seen that programme!).

Surprisingly, I will be sharing with another ‘Aldridge’, which no doubt will cause some confusion for our employers, and the locals in Nyakarimbi, who will obviously presume we are related!

Together we spent around 750,000 RwF and have placed the rest on hold until we arrive in Nyakarambi as we will probably get better value for money at the local market.

After our shopping exertions we took time out in the Bourbon Cafe,  an upmarket establishment (with 30 minutes free internet for customers) which is  frequented mainly by wealthier Rwandans and ex -pats. One of its attractions is a large screen TV which shows Sky News!

I watched footage on, former Liberal MP for Rochdale, Cyril Smith’s funeral in an XXXL coffin, snippets from the TUC Conference (I think I might be returning home to a winter of discontent)  and that wind and rain are forecast in the UK! 

Tomorrow we have a full day in consultation with our employers and have to be turned out in our best work clothes and most importantly shiny shoes, which the Rwandans think is very important!

On Wednesday we depart for Nyakarambi, in Kirehe District, which is three hours south-east of Kigali, and will be my new home for the next  three months.

Today Suzanne, a Canadian volunteer, has a birthday so we are all headed up the road to celebrate with a few inzoga (beers) at the local which I have just discovered goes under the name of the ‘ Kumusave Bar’.

Cheers, Salut, Ubuzi ma byinza!