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
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.
at 11:20 AM
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
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.
at 8:27 PM
Friday, June 22, 2012
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
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.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
As an education volunteer in Rwanda, I teach for only 15 hours each week. To critics of the Peace Corps, this may not be surprising. Many volunteers have returned to the US saying that, though they were ready to help, their country did not have anything for them to do. This is not the case in Rwanda. The 15 hours per week that I teach is a limit suggested by the Rwandan government in order to give volunteers time to work on secondary projects.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Monday, January 16, 2012
School ended in late October and began again last week. I've decided to teach the same grades as I taught last year so that I'll be teaching at a level I've had experience with. So far, the new students are promising and seem to be comprehending better than last years' students. Maybe they aren't as intimidated since they've known about the American teacher for a year or maybe my instructions are clearer. Either way, I think this will be a good school year.