Well, it's been a quiet day here in Lake Woebogone-on-the-Mountain. A nice "sleep late" and a few cat naps have surrounded my attempt to give myself a crash course in teaching English as a Second Language. I have no text, the students have no text, I have no magazines out of which I can cut pictures, nor a nice color printer if I find things to use on the internet. I'm soon to begin teaching an ESL course to the first year students, who are at very different levels of English skills. What a challenge!!
I got back to Byumba yesterday evening as expected after my two meetings in Kigali. My friend, Jeff Wms, with whom I stayed, said I'm the only one who doesn't come to Kigali every weekend. The rest of the HRH staff works Tues., Wed., and Thurs., travels to Kigali on Friday, stays through the weekend, and travels back to their respective sites on Monday. I don't know how they get away with it. Jeff works five days as his hospital is in Kigali. I don't even like going to Kigali!! No wonder they think I isolate myself! But I don't want to do what they are doing either. I'm here to work.
I will travel there tomorrow for a special reason. An old friend of mine from my doctoral program, Nicole Warren, will be in town for just a few hours and I want to see her. Nicole went through the PhD program with me at UIC and had two babies while she did it!! She is now teaching at Johns Hopkins. I haven't seen her since she left Chicago for Hopkins about 4 years ago. She has just been in the Congo where she has a research project and is on her way back to the states. She'll be staying with another of our folks here. I'll get to have supper with them and some time to talk in the evening.
Now to try to catch up. I still have photos from the big trip we made a couple of weeks ago.
This one is to show my brother, Don, that there are irises in Rwanda. I took this in Ruhengeri, but also saw some white ones on the grounds of the hospital in Butaro.
This is a bed of wild calla lilies. We see them all over Rwanda. When you go to a flower seller, they are the most prominent flowers on sale. They are almost like weeds.
This photo is also in Ruhingeri. The peak of the right volcano is covered with cloud, but you can sort of see the Left hand volcano top. These are the volcanoes we will be climbing on when Don, Kate, and I go to see the mountain gorillas.
The old girl having wrestled a fierce crocodile into submission at the Dian Fossey Hotel.
For some reason, Jerome wanted to take a picture of me preparing a banana. The other fruit on my plate is passion fruit cut in half. One scoops out the fruit with a spoon to eat it.
Next we go to the wedding. You will be disappointed. In trying to get video footage of the "praise choir", I used up my camera card way too quickly. Also, as people moved me up to the front of the church, I ended up sitting behind and to the left of the bride, so could hardly see her myself. I have one photo of the back of her here. The bride wore a traditional Western strapless gown of white and the groom looked like he could have walked out of the pages of GQ. The men all wore their favorite dress shoes with very long square toes. There must be at least three inches of dead space in those toes!
Here us the photo of Alphonsine's back!
We'll see if this actually goes through to you--a video of the "praise choir"
The bride and groom sat to the side for about the first hour of the service. This was at a Jehovah's Witness Pentecostal church. During that first hour there was a lot of singing by the choir, by a soloist, and what I can only discern was a sermon of sorts. (Everything was spoken in Kinyarwanda.) Finally the bride and groom stood. It seemed I saw some of the same things that are part of U.S. wedding services: exchange of rings, etc. There were many more spoken parts for the bride and groom, however, and signing of legal documents was part of the service. Once we left the church everyone got in a line of cars to drive to Byumba. Everytime we went through a little hamlet there was lots of honking. In Byumba we stopped in a park to take many photos. Then on to a room at the Anglican mission. Lots of cake was served with Fanta. We also presented our gifts at that time. The bride and groom each held a "peace basket" into which many people placed money. The bride and groom fed one another cake and some other foods. It was actually a fairly brief affair after which I went home. There was another celebration at the bride's mother's home afterwards that I didn't even know about. The die hards went there with the bride and groom afterwards and there was further eating. Apparently the bride and groom have to be well fed before they leave on their honeymoon.! And there was a ceremony at 9AM before the wedding. At that one, the groom's family gave a ceremonial "cow" to the bride's family. As you can see it is a long day for those who attend everything.
This last week for me was pretty busy with those two 14 hr. days. And I don't know what this week holds yet. Jerome and I want to do some more site visits, but he has let me know nothing about them yet (when or where) I'm sure I'll keep reading up on ESL teaching and wondering how I'll do it!!
You'll be having Halloween there this week. Sorry to miss seeing Serena--or maybe she is not even going out this year. There is no such holiday as this here. I did hear that Thursday, All Saints Day, is a holiday but one never knows until President Kagame actually declares it a holiday a day or two before.
Muzungus here are having election night parties. Of course we won't know anything until way into the early morning, so they are calling them Election night sleep overs! I finally got to cast my vote at the U.S. Embassy a week or so ago. Boy, they sure do not make it easy.
That's enough from me. I'd surely like to hear from some of you!
Carrol, CA, G-ma, Ma, Mom