Sunday, January 9, 2011

Swear-in and Arrival at Site

On January 3rd, trainees and staff went to Kigali for swearing in. The ceremony took place at the U.S. Ambassador's house. It was a little bit of an informal ceremony, which was unexpected but nonetheless refreshing. We had some of our trainees sing and play guitar and ukulele, followed by a few speeches from Rwandan officials, Peace Corps staff, the ambassador, and trainees. Then, we swore the oath and moved on to an amazing buffet. I never thought I would eat lasagna in Rwanda. Kigali itself has some great restaurants, I ate very well there.

After swear-in we began to depart for our sites. Peace Corps assisted us with this transfer and brought our trunks to site in cars and trucks. This, I hear, is an unusual practice with Peace Corps. Because we moved in this way, we did not all leave at once from Kigali. I got to return to Nyanza for a couple days before leaving.

Now I am at site in a town called Mibirizi and life is much different. I live in a house with four Rwandans from the area. A couple of them are teachers. One keeps a cabaret (small bar) in town. The last housemate has not yet arrived in town. I cook my own food, but our house pays a boy to do laundry, clean, and run errands. We have a squat toilet outside. I bathe out of a bucket in the front room of the house and then use a squeegee to push the water out under the front door (the floor is cement). I have my own room and our house has electricity which is more reliable than the electricity in Nyanza. Power comes from the Rusizi River, which runs between Rwanda and the DRC (which you can see from the road!). The presence of electricity as well as good houses (usually brick, a government initiative I think), make this kind of a strange place. The people here have these things, but they are still very poor. The people are welcoming and glad to have a native English-speaker in town. There is still somewhat of an air of mystification with my presence, especially when I can speak some Kinyarwanda. A couple days ago I spoke to an old woman who told me that I was the first white person she had spoken to.


  1. It's great you're all moved in! So why don't you take some pictures of your new place and post them? That'd be nice :)

  2. exciting! did you get my postcard?

  3. I haven't got a single piece of mail since I arrived in Rwanda :(

    but I'll check in at HQ and see if anything's drifted in.

  4. well then I am glad it was just a postcard instead of the goldbars you deserve =)