|Outfit for working in the office|
I’ve been asked to write about a typical day in Rwanda, which is very difficult because often what you think is going to be a typical day turns out to be anything but!!
Here am I in my office work clothes. But when I go out to schools I look very different - dressed in trousers and smart top but covered from head to foot in waterproof gear and safety helmet.
Typically, I get up with the sun at about 5.45am. I drag myself off my Rwanda Foam bed and escape via the mosquito net.( I like sleeping under my mosquito net , it’s like a cocoon or tent and makes me feel safe.) I go to the kitchen and put the kettle on for a cuppa – just like home really. Into the bathroom for cold stand up wash – if I’m feeling in need of luxury I add some of the water from the kettle into the bowl. We do have a hot shower but I only use it in the evenings and only once or twice a week. Perversely I prefer the refreshing cold wash. I know – it’s the puritan in me!
Breakfast and out of the house by 6.30, walk down to work along with lots of others, some of whom are becoming very familiar to me. Ladies off to cultivate their land, growing food for their families, children off to school always wanting to practice their English with me, young men in white wellingtons off to wherever they are off to, well dressed men and women off to the office. I pass the young girl looking after the turkeys (what’s the collective noun for a group of turkeys?) I pass the goats chewing anything they can reach, the noisy cow in the neighbours garden and the gaggle of moto drivers looking at me hopefully, thinking I may, just this once, ride on the back of their bike down to work. But no, I like my walk to work too much.
I arrive at the office for 7 and say my ‘Good Mornings’ to all and sundry. From then on I never know what is going to happen. I may plan things and be determined to carry them out, but more often than not something unexpected happens and the plans change.
So, on Judy’s first day at work I’d planned to take her to visit one school. The trip involved a motor bike ride, the headteacher was expecting us, the drivers were booked. But the rain rained and the boss said ‘You must not go on motos today!’ So, instead we got to drive around the whole district in a 4x4, visiting lots of schools. We had a wonderful day, albeit a very long day – a drive of about 8 hours, with no food or water! We spent about one hour in a remote school, entertaining children with ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and....’ etc whilst the boss went off to supervise the girls' vaccinations against Rubella.
So, having set out on a typical day it turned out to be yet another amazing experience in Rwanda.
But on a Fridays we are continuing a fine tradition, started by my predecessor. The clue is in the photo!!