Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Site Visit from Luke and Caitlan, My Replacements

In Peace Corps Rwanda, all trainees participate in site visits shortly after learning where they will be stationed. They take a week off from their cross-culture and language courses and go live at their future home. I suppose the purpose of site visits is to give trainees the initial shock of being relatively alone in a strange place in order to lessen that shock when they move into their sites for good. Earlier this month, my replacements, Luke and Caitlan, came to visit Mibirizi.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Site Replacement

Peace Corps is most effective when new volunteers replace old ones, building a legacy of interaction with the USA in a small community.

My input group had around 70 volunteers because Peace Corps was receiving excellent funding at the time of our recruitment. Our large group expanded the presence of Peace Corps in Rwanda. Most of our sites (the villages where we work), had never seen a volunteer before.

However, once I was installed at my site, I learned that the input groups of future years would be smaller, around 20-30 volunteers per year. Some of the sites which had never seen an American before might not see one again anytime soon, and their Peace Corps experience would be just another bizarre interruption from the western world. That is why, until today, volunteers have been waiting anxiously, hoping to hear that they will receive a replacement at their site.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My New Diet: Avocados

This week, I heard the buzz of a saw from inside my house and went outside to check. Sure enough, lumberers were cutting down the large avocado tree that grows in the field behind my house. Kids were gathering in anticipation of the frenzy that would ensue.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rebel Uprising in the Congo

A rebel group that calls itself M23 has been wreaking havoc in the east Congo, and looks poised to attempt to take the city of Goma, on the border between DRC and Rwanda.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Modernizing at Breakneck Speed

For the year and a half that I've been here in Rwanda, one of the most striking things I've noticed is the rate at which everything changes. Rwanda's "vision 2020" plan, so named because it's goal is to eradicate poverty by year 2020, focuses on developing the most rural areas in order to develop the country as a whole. I've seen development at every level.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kwibuka: Genocide Memorial

Any event in Rwanda is likely to be an excruciating test of endurance. Wedding, party, funeral, meeting-- you name it, it's going to take a long time and involve a lot of waiting and a lot of rambling speeches. One of the rules I've developed is to always wear sunscreen, no matter how likely it seems that the entire event will take place indoors. (Oh, the many times that I have ended up standing outside for hours on end and having to seek out old ladies so that I can hide under their parasols with them.)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Witchcraft and Poison in Rwanda

A while back, one of my readers who follows a number of Peace Corps blogs mentioned that volunteers tend to update their blogs less and less as time goes on. I think this happens because at the beginning of service, everything in your new country of residence is new and strange. You see something for the first time and can't wait to tell the folks at home. As the newness goes away and you settle in, it gets harder to actually notice what's strange about your country of residence. However, when the subject of witches came up recently over a couple of beers, I was reminded that it's a different world here.