Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A plague of grasshoppers is upon us!!! I woke up yesterday morning to Beautiful green grasshoppers all over my house and many hanging on the curtains. The students told me they like the light.

 Still life with grasshopper

A young girl who was working in my yard came to my door and picked about five of the insects off the curtain then ran away! Rwandans like to fry them and eat them. I think the girl was putting them away somewhere for later use. My front porch looked like a battleground of green legs. Must have been some fight in the night. Then came the big birds. And I mean big. Much bigger than a crow, and fat. They hang around here sometimes, black with a big white collar. I suspect 2-3 of them together could pick up a small baby!! They were after the grasshoppers. The birds were quite threatening in groups of 6 or 7. And if you didn't like the crunch of grasshoppers under your feet, it was just not your day!! My students told me they go away in 3-4 days. Above are the big birds, although they do not look big. I couldn't get any closer w/out making them fly away. Enlarge the photo for a better look.

And how did the grasshoppers get into my house? Easily! These houses have many entry points. The main doors to my house have a space of at least an inch between the bottom of the door and the door frame. Windows up high in my bathroom are open and have no screens. A few other windows have no screens. So, you see, insects have easy entry. That is why the homes are not heated--the heat would all escape. So on a cold night in Byumba one closes things up as tightly as possible, but better yet, wears plenty of warm clothes to bed!! And when I get up in the morning, I put my slippers on immediately so my tootsies don't have to encounter the cold, cement floor.

This is the photo the bride gave me this week. I know I'm a runt, but these are really tall folks! Alphonsine is back at work now, fixing my tea morning and afternoon.

Well, this was the big week of my debut as an ESL teacher. I was kept hopping, but it was an enjoyable week all in all. And I think the students got more than they bargained for!  Of course, first thing Monday morning I taught them a song in English. Over the course of the week, I taught them one more English song and they taught me three songs in Kinyarwanda! We ended the week by learning the old Queen song, "We are the Champions". They loved it--I'm Freddie Mercury and they join in on the chorus!  We did some work also. I assessed each student thinking I would put them into three groups, but in the end I decided to keep them all in one group. They are quite a cohesive group (34 of them) and most of them were right in the middle anyway. There is one small group of women who really don't get much at all. I must figure out what I can do with them.

I will only teach for three days this coming week--Monday through Wed. Then I will head for Kigali Wed. afternoon to prepare for my trip with a group of my colleagues. We will be in a rainforest in the western part of the country for Thursday, Friday, and Sat., returning to Kigali on Sunday. I doubt I'll get to a blog that weekend, but I hope to have lots of photos for you as soon as I can put them up. I will be availing myself of 16 types of primates, lots of rare birds and orchids. I hope I'm up to all the hiking.

Wed. 11/21 is my 70th birthday, so I think the trip away is a great celebration. When I return, I'll have only four more days of my courses.

One more event took place on Friday evening this past week. There was a volleyball game and a football (read, soccer) game between our school and Byumba Polytechnic Institute. The volleyball game was on our playing field behind the school. It was interrupted by a downpour but went on again after the skies cleared. BPI won, although the teams were pretty well matched. Most of the faculty and staff attended, so I went along as well. After the volleyball game we walked about a mile to a regional football field. Our team had just formed, had had no coaching or practice. BPI had a well-practiced team. It was actually a better game than I'd thought it would be and we even scored once--but they beat us. Afterwards we walked back to a restaurant where there were lots of speeches in Kinyarwanda, drinks (the usual Fanta orange, Fanta lemon, Fanta grape, coke, coke's idea of sparkling water, and Sprite--Coke has this part of the planet sewed up tight) and a little snack (brochette, a sort of grilled beef on a stick and cooked bananas).

We're back to no hot water. I'm heating water for an African bath so better get going. I'd love to have a video of me taking an African bath, but don't know who would film it and it would not go on this blog!
It would be a great memento of my African days.



  1. Love the wedding photo; And a plague of grasshoppers!
    How exactly did you decide on "We are the Champions"? LOL. Would love a video of the class singing that one.

    Glad the ESL class went so well.

  2. Dear Carol,
    Happy birthday. I too would love to know how you decided on "We are the Champions" as the song. Plus, I would love to see a video of your class sing.
    Again, Happy birthday,

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  4. Dear Carrol,
    It seems that you are having a great time in Rwanda. We miss you so much. During this holiday season, it reminds me Thanksgiving parties you hosted every year. And of course the best turkey I ever tasted. Please visit us if you have a chance.

    Happy Birthday! (Sorry for the belated wishes)