Saturday, October 24, 2009


Hey all!!

Hope everybody is doing well. I'm loving it over here in Rwanda--the climate, the people, and sigh, the views are breathtaking. Lots and lots of hills for miles around are highlighted by amazing sunsets.

Ok, so down to details: I've been at training now for about 2 weeks and for the most part am really enjoying it. Ikinyarwanda is definitely the most unique language I have ever had the privilege and difficulty of learning. It seems to be a mixture of Italian, French, a little Portugese and some Japanese all meshed together in one beautifully constructed challenge of the mind. In addition, there's technical training which consists of learning how to design and present a good lesson plan to our future students. And that future is not too far away since I begin micro-teaching classes on Monday!! I'm nervous but excited to jump in and start doing some real work!

Today our group went to visit a national museum where we saw artifacts like handwoven baskets and learned how banana beer (urwagwa) is made. Afterward we took another harrowing look at the consequences of this country's sorrowful past. We visited a genocide memorial where some 50,000 victims had been murdered and subsequently buried. The memorial displays the exhumed bodies. It was a very somber experience for all.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) the bus driver decided to bring us back to reality by blaring music throughout the entire bus and only the most popular tunes played today!! This is only one example of how music is appreciated around here. Walking toward the town center one can hear the radio being blasted, whether it's talk shows or music. In fact, there is an unoccupied computer lounging in the corner of the internet cafe at this very moment, blaring one of the 3 most beloved songs (which naturally I cannot understand.)

Speaking of words: the word for "no" is "oya" pronounced like "oh yeah" basically. You can probably tell how much fun/trouble that presents for native English speakers. I have a host family, a mom who has 4 kids all in school studying. So far I've been able to hold down some dialogue with them concerning new vocabulary and whatever grammar questions pop into my head. Yeah, it's a trip every time I head over to the house--lots of charades and miming takes place which usually results in peals of laughter from them. I do my fair share of laughing too, don't get me wrong, but it is definitely a brain-drain-system-overload type of encounter each time.

Dorm house living: Our power goes out on a pretty standard basis, as of a couple of days ago I have been using the outdoor pit latrine in our back courtyard and I wash my clothes (when there's running water) in a bucket with some powder soap. Every time I leave my house there are at least one pair of eyes watching the exotic white alien creature scamper outside of her dwelling. On the way to school one day I had one woman howling with laughter at my (what I had thought) subtle dance moves to some music being blared (again: pretty normal even at 7 a.m) along the roadside. I'm really trying to put things in perspective of how different we must seem to the town locals here but it is tough, especially when I am flanked by a gaggle of children who have just found their newest plaything moving up the street: me. Sometimes it's cute but when all I want to do is walk somewhere and/or maybe hold a conversation with somebody it can be a bit of a trial.

Ok, so you may be wondering what the meaning behind the title of this entry is and I shall tell you gladly. One day last week I was walking with some friends into town during our lunch break when a woman came ambling by. As she was nearing us I noticed something in her hand that resembled an umbrella and before I knew it she had launched the object at me. Luckily, acting on matrix-like reflexes, I dodged it only to look back and see my friends huddled on the ground, tears streaming down their faces over the fact that I had just been swung at with a chicken!!

Ahh, the life of a Peace Corps Trainee in Rwanda summed up by a chicken in the face.

Peace out ya'll (yes, I do say that now)



  1. love it! all of it! im so glad you are having a good time and sooo many of those things take me back. Blaring music in the dorms at all hours, the stares... oh i miss being a msungu (or umlungu in zulu). keep the posts coming, im living vicariously through you!

  2. Hey Beautiful!
    I love LOVE reading about your (mis)adventures! :D I hope you find a way to get some video and or pics up really soon. :D Don't forget to tell us more about what sorts of things you need / want / miss / would like for your classroom . . . Can't wait to send you something! I love and miss you, dahling, and I, too, am living vicariously through you.

  3. Good to know you are enjoying yourself. Thought by the title you might have had to eat meat for the first time, ha. Hopefully your kids will be more well behaved than mine!

  4. sorry problem should have put my name down since it doesnt come up on whatever google is doing right now

  5. Dang, I knew I should have packed you a rubber chicken--NOW we know when they come in handy!!

  6. love to read your exploits...I, too, will be eager to hear how the teaching goes...maybe we could get a pen pal thing going???

  7. Q bueno q eastas disfrutando sus aventuras! He escuchado de los horrores en las memoriales... Es importante q existen para demostrar al mundo q paso ahí. Cuidate mucho chica y sigue mandando estos posts!

  8. HAHA ohh Avery I laughed out loud almost through that whole email (especially the chicken part)! I must say, when I first saw the title I thought it was gonna be about how you had your first taste of chicken..i guess that hasn't happened yet! Miss you so much!


  9. Sounds like an adventure every day :) I love reading about it all!

  10. was it a bad thing that this woman threw a chicken at you? or is it like a compliment? lol

  11. At this point, a chicken could mean anything, or possibly nothing (i.e she was just bored and saw a Msungu coming her way which equaled a good opportunity to practice her aim) Who knows?! Aunt Van, I would love to start a correspondence going with your school--that would be a terrific idea. Let me know how to go about doing that!

    Thank you all for reading about my crazy antics. More to come soon!

  12. are living everything that I experienced...minus the chicken!!! I literally laughed out loud when I read that!!!! I'm so gld you're having a good time and reading your blog makes me so happy when I'm missing Rwanda!!