The reason it took so long? Partly because the government of Rwanda is spending money to help develop Mibirizi quickly and make it a hub town for other smaller villages in the area. The hospital, I think, is a big source of this spending and as new doctors and nurses are hired, additional housing becomes necessary. Most of the houses we were looking at were still being constructed or had just finished. Doctors and nurses can also afford to pay more in rent than the average citizen-- another reason for inflating house prices. In addition to all of this, my headmaster told me that the price sometimes changed once the owner found out who was moving in.
In many ways my first living situation matched that of a typical Rwandan teacher my age, most of whom are trying to save money and supporting family members while searching for a job that pays well (teacher salaries are meager). I feel a little guilty about leaving, especially because I have to acknowledge that most people in Rwanda have a difficult lifestyle that I would have trouble adjusting too. I feel spoiled. However, the Peace Corps staff that have visited have been encouraging. The official stance is that as a volunteer, I make no money and don't have the ability to make financial choices related to what kind of house I live in. Therefore, Peace Corps has to impose a standard. To ease the awkwardness of the transition and avoid hurt feelings on the part of my former house mates, staff members have worked with me to help get this across and stress the fact that it isn't my choice.
|The view from my bedroom. The far mountains are the DRC.|
Because it's been a long time since I've written an entry (no power yet), I wanted to do something special. Below is a short video tour of my house. It's still very unfinished (no paint on the walls, no door on the latrine, no kitchen), but improvements are happening very fast.