Rats Bats and Dogs, OH MY!

In honor of my recent mini vacation to Musha, here’s the Song of the Post:

  • I Love It – Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX (All that’s old is new again in Peace Corps!)

I’m currently trying to distract myself from the serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that I’m having. Why, you ask? Well…I’m missing out on Halloween in Kibuye (resort-type town near Lake Kivu). Instead of have all sorts of (safe) fun with my cohort…I’m at home in Kibilizi. Tomorrow, mama wanjye (my host mom) and my host brother, Benoi, will be coming to visit. Given the steep price of travel, it’s a huge deal that they’re coming to visit me at my site and there’s no way I’d reschedule the visit. (I may chalk it up to being a perfect host child, but really…they’re just great people.) I’m sure they want to make sure I’m not out here starving or sleeping on dirt.

My “office”. (The community health room.)

My other “office”…the maternal care patient room.

Birth control shots…all day erry day.

I also chose to stay this weekend because I’m going to be away from site for the next two weeks! (That’s the longest I’ll have been gone from site. Eek!) I told my titulare weeks ago, but I told my coworkers this morning and it was genuinely a sad moment. The volunteer who was at this site before me was only here for six months before she decided to go home and attend grad school. So, after I told my coworkers I’d be gone for so long, a few of them actually said, “Are you sure you’re coming back?” I replied, “Of course. I will miss you. I will be here for the next two years!” I think they’re all still a little wary that I’ll leave before my time is up…because that’s all they know of Peace Corps Volunteers. After some hugs (and some grant proposal writing with my titulare), I headed home to finish my Community Needs Assessment.

And so, without further ado, HERE is 17 pages of non-stop, health-related research fun. If you ever wanted to know the specifics of what living in a Rwandan village is like…have at it! (Otherwise, just enjoy the acknowledgements section and the pretty graphs.)

I don’t really have much to update ya’ll on…other than the visit I had last weekend with my neighboring volunteers, Vanessa, Steve, and Kim. It’s actually a ton of fun getting to see all the different set-ups that volunteers have! Examples: Vanessa lives on the Health Center compound with three housemates and a German titulare. Steve’s lived with two male teachers and about a hundred thousand bats, for the past two years. Kim lives on a large compound, with teachers, in a fairly urban site (that even has restaurants!).

Given that I’ve been editing my CNA all day, I’m all out of words. Instead, here’s a highlight reel of the past week:

  • A terrible, no good 75-minute moto ride into the depths of Rwanda, whilst carrying a 40-pound backpack and a sack of groceries. (Who needs a thigh master machine?!)
  • Somewhat failing at cooking pesto gnocchi (Why do I even try? I’m far too impatient for that!).
  • Succeeding intensely at cooking cinnamon banana pancakes (and enjoying delicious syrup from New Hampshire!).
  • Gaddafi, the dog, following us on an hour-long walking journey in the scorching heat.
  • Gaddafi, the dog, staying the night at Kim’s with us because he refused to leave Steve’s side.
  • Playing card games and jumping up and down whilst scream-singing, “I don’t caaaare…I LOVE IT!”
  • Waking up and paying 100 RWF (68 cents) for a steaming hot cup of my favorite African milk tea.
  • A terrible, even more no good hour long moto ride back to my village. (Trips are always worse when going back home; there’s no excited anticipation to make the time pass quicker.)

A local bar in Kim’s village. We’re all watching the Manchester City game.

Gaddafi, the dog. Unfortunately, Rwandans absolutely despise dogs. Dogs are often treated as the lowest life form in Rwanda…used only for night security.

Rwatano Village

Rwatano Village

Rwatano Village

Can we just take a second and admire that these views are literally out the back door of peoples’ houses?! It’s quite breathtaking in person.

In addition to the (actually really freaking fun) trip described above, I’ve been working on the by-laws for the program committee I’m on and also working to plan the upcoming In-Service Training (IST). Speaking of which…that’s where I’ll be from this Sunday (November 2nd) to next Saturday (November 8th). Then, I’ll travel to Muhanga District where I’ll be helping put on Camp BE (Boys Excelling) with other volunteers from the Southern Province. I’m incredibly stoked…I just wish I could teleport home to my own bed/home each night. I do love me some Kibilizi town. (But, really, they’re putting us up in a fancy hotel in the capital and feeding us…who doesn’t love FREE?)

Overall, it’s been a hectic, crazy busy week. I know that’s definitely not the way a lot of volunteers describe their service. But…we all shape our service into the thing we want it to be. I put all this work on my shoulders and it’s certainly not too much weight yet! I’m enjoying staying busy.

Until next time (probably in two weeks!)

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