All Moved In and Now a Peace Corps Rwanda Volunteer

The last week has been a wild ride.

Well, since our final LPI (Language Proficiency Exam), things have kind of been non-stop. After the test (Which I passed well enough to go to site! Yay!)…it was a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes with our training community. I knew saying goodbye to my family would be tough, but I certainly didn’t expect the outpour of thoughtful goodbyes from community members I had only met in passing (store-owners, neighbors, street kids). If we were able to integrate that well…in only 3 months…I can only imagine how the next two years will go. (Here’s to hoping!)

We had a going-away party, at the Peace Corps “Hub”, with our host families. We ate, drank, and of course danced. It was nice getting to see the stark differences in our interactions (with our host families) from the first day to the last.

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My language class: Brooke, Vanessa, myself, and Laura

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My OG language group: Carrie, Vanessa (I just can’t get away from this girl), our teacher Immacuille, and myself

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Jenny from the Block, myself, and David (He can’t just let us ladies live.)

I spent my last night in Rwamagana at a bar (of course) with my host family, drinking Fanta (of course). After we had been there 30 minutes, or so, a young man came in with an old digital camera. I figured out, after a while, that my host brother had “hired” him for the night…to take family photos of us. I can only assume my family will be printing those out at some point.

I really have no words to describe the amount of love I have for these people:

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Me, Paci (host sister), Diana (host cousin), and Benoi (host brother)

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Myself, Mama, Diana, and Benoi

Move-out morning was kind of a shit-show. Peace Corps says they run on “American time”, but they really run on “Rwandan time”. We were scheduled to leave at 10:00AM. We didn’t get out of Rwamagana until 12:30PM…because somebodyyy did not reserve a truck and we spent hours trying to figure out how to get 24 people’s stuff into one, tiny moving truck. Eventually, and with the help of two small Peace Corps vehicles…we were on our way to Kigali for Swear-In.

We all spent that afternoon buying anything and everything we could get our hands on for our new houses (on Peace Corps’ dime, of course!). The next day, we became official Peace Corps Volunteers at the U.S. Ambassador’s house. Needless to say, we were all incredibly stoked.

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Here’s my gorgeous, perfect Health 6 family…with Jen (our Country Director), JD (our training manager), and Donald Koran (the U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda)!

After Swear-In…we…well, we went a little crazy, so I’ll spare you the details. But everyone made it back safe and sound. And we all had a great time exploring the night life in Kigali! (Especially since we barely been out after dark before this week.)

It seems like forever ago, but Swear-In was only four days ago. Since then, I’ve moved into my two-year home…Kibilizi! (In Gisagara District and the Southern Province). I live on the Red Cross compound, but work at the Kibilizi Health Center. So far…I’m loving it!

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Home sweet home! One of the units on the right.

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Secluded front yard, so the munchkins can’t stare at me constantly.

My modest “office area”. Soon-to-have a nice, fluffy rug!

My “living room” area…complete with day bed and lots of light!

My bathroom! I know it looks dirty…this is after two days of cleaning. IT FLUSHES.

My bedroom. Soon to have a nice rug and some shelves…maybe a dresser, too.

I went to the 7:00 AM staff meeting, at my Health Center, yesterday and today. Getting up that early every single day is going to be a bit of a struggle for me. I got this! My Health Center is run pretty damn well…my supervisor is a young woman and she’s definitely been greasing the wheels. I love it! I feel like I’ll definitely be able to set consistent hours and have a pretty defined job…which I’m incredibly happy about. My biggest fear in coming here, was that I wouldn’t have enough to do…or wouldn’t have the means to do it. All of my co-workers have welcomed me with open arms and genuinely want to help me and to receive help from me. It’s wonderful! That hardest part is understanding Kinyarwanda names to write on the immunization forms. Ha!

As a last note…to any future PCTs/PCVs out there…I just want to reiterate that if something doesn’t feel right…you don’t have to “sit with the weirdness”. Things were just not right at my old site. Besides the obvious safety concerns…my old Health Center/staff just didn’t meld with me and my personality. I am beyond glad that I requested a site change. I feel happy and whole here. I truly think I’ll be able to make a difference in Kibilizi. And I’m stoked!

As a last last note…I finally updated my packing list for Rwanda! Located here: Packing List!

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