Sunday, May 19, 2013


Well, it’s been a while since I’ve made an entry in the old blog. I don’t have time for many more entries. 

I’ll be leaving Byumba on Thursday, July 11—less than two months from now. Once we got rolling, the time has really flown by.

Julia is growing so fast I can’t keep up with her. And between her and her mother, I think Julia is getting in the most “moos”. She can really let them rip.

I had to complete a new vacation and sick leave form for U. of I. this week. Once I leave here, I will have the remainder of July as vacation time. Wish I could go to some nice south sea island and really have a vacation. However, I’ll be preparing my fall classes, catching up on some IRB research stuff, and unpacking my house to try to make it livable before school begins. We’ll also be bidding farewell to Siena, son Mike’s older daughter, as she wends her way to New Orleans to attend her Freshman year at Tulane. I’m glad we still have a few years left at home with Serena, the younger daughter. She thinks it is going to be swell being the only child at home—I think she’ll find it gets old quickly.
Oh, yes. Sometime in here I must buy a car!

The school here at Byumba continues in it’s annual cycle. The first year students finally left to attend their first clinical practice sites. I am still going to try to get out to some of the Health Centers in the area (sort of like public health departments where there is also a midwife who delivers babies.) Toward the end of May I will have a presentation day for students and faculty. I will present the paper I have written based on the surveys Jerome, Rani-the-midwife, and I conducted at several different hospitals soon after our arrival. I will also present a brief paper about the healing powers of laughter. And finally, an ethnographic performance about the ride from Kigali to Byumba and what you see along the way. I still need to collect a little data for this one, but I could practically write it from memory as I’ve been on that return trip so many times.

I think we are finally past the big rainy season. It has not rained for about a week, although it has been quite cool. They tell me as the end of May comes, we will begin warmer weather and three months of the dry season (June, July and August). I’m ready for it! I have warm weather clothes I haven’t been able to wear for quite some time and my Chicago Bears long-sleeved t-shirt has seen better days!

Last week Jerome and I (the twins) attended a “Curriculum Review” workshop and got to go to a new (for me) place in Rwanda. We were supposed to have gone to Ruhingeri, the city where the gorillas are. At the last minute there was a landslide (after big rain) that came down on the main road. We couldn’t get to Ruhingeri So they changed everything quickly and we went to Rwawagama instead. We stayed in a guest house that once held nun’s cells—very quaint. We were sort of in a lock-down. They served us all our meals there plus two tea-times/day and the workshop space was adjacent to the guest house. This was not yet a change in the curriculum for all five of the nursing schools, but a review to see what we have. Since nursing is being moved over to the Ministry of Education instead of the Ministry of Health, we had to frame the curriculum more like the Education group does it. I thought a lot of it was boring. But there will be more in weeks to come. I told someone they wouldn’t pick me to do any more as I am generally too oppositional! We’ll see. In general, I think the entire curriculum needs to be re-designed, but I see a lot of “rubber stamping” going on. Some people just can’t let go.

I had to cab-it to the bank today to give them a passport photo. Two weeks ago they made me open a second account for my USDollars and demanded the photo. They were quite surly when I didn’t bring it in last Saturday. Yesterday I got a call from a young man who really brow-beat me (what is the past tense of "to browbeat"??) and said there would be dire consequences if I didn’t bring it today! This from a bank that does not even label its windows so one never knows quite where to go and where you sit in a long row of chairs awaiting your “turn” and move up the line while all the while others are cutting in. I do not do that as a muzungu must behave, but I surely want to sometimes.

The crows and the grasshoppers are back! I had 15-20 huge crows in my front yard one morning this past week, all cawing at once. I guess  it was a crow party. They can sure make a racket. My swiss chard is slowly dying out. I ate so much of it that I couldn’t eat any more. I think it thrives on being picked regularly. The grasshoppers have invaded my office, but no one else’s! They are not as plentiful as the scourge we had in the fall, but I don’t understand why my office. As soon as I open the door they begin jumping on me. They are up on the curtain rod, under my desk, everywhere! Then Anthere, Jerome’s assistant, wants to get “the girl” to come mop the floor which does little to deter the insects, as they are all over the room, not just on the floor.  Thus, a scene of domestic bliss in the administrative offices at Byumba School of Nursing and Midwifery. I will surely miss all the characters in these little plays. They are not like the plays in the College of Nursing, but many of the characters are the same!

Bye for now.
CA, Mom, Ma, Carrol, G-ma