Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Autumn Equinox coming up... time to re-balance

For me, although we don’t really see a significant change in daylength here, the Autumn Equinox has come at the right time, or should I say my state of mind has coincided nicely with the Autumn Equinox?

What I mean is that I need to re-balance my thinking and attitude to life here in Rwanda. I have been here since January 14th 2011 (8 months). I have gone through the great excitement of coming to live in Africa in a completely different culture. I have experienced the great joys of getting to know new people and how to live in a completely different situation. Everything is still sooo strange sometimes!  I have also gone through some times of ‘What am I doing here?’ – A very common and normal experience for people in my situation. So, having swung from one state of mind to another, I need to establish and maintain some sort of balance between the ‘excitement’ and the ‘misery’.
It didn't look up to much in the ground!
Reading my favourite book ‘The Celtic wheel of the Year’ by Tess Ward I am reminded of this time of year at home; of the changing, dying leaves but also of the rich  fruitfulness of autumn – pumpkins, root vegetables, harvest festivals and Orange October.

‘Blessed be you Mother Earth for your fruits,  that we may not go hungry’

Such truth and relevance in those words here in Rwanda – the earth is so fertile even after years and years of cultivation.

But LOOK at what was hidden underground!
At home, I know you must be fed of up dark drizzly days soon enough, so you could view the darkness as a time to rest, to hunker down for the winter, to bake lovely casseroles and pies, cakes and puddings – beautifully hot, warming foods.

But most of all, a time for having friends and family around – shake off the coldness together! One thing I have regained whilst I have been here is the pleasure of playing simple games with friends – cards, scrabble ( a bit stressful) and my favourite ‘The Colander of Death’ – sounds gruesome but it’s great fun. (Thanks Vanessa) 
mmm warm beetroot with Lancashire Hotpot

Anyway, back to the balance of the Equinox!! A balance between day and night; between hope and despair; between high and low expectations; between close and far; deep and shallow (friendships).
I have been trying to work this out in my approach to life here. In the realm of work, some situations can be totally frustrating and others are wonderfully exhilarating and satisfying. So I need to plan my work-life to balance these experiences. I am planning into my timetable some good times at work which I know will balance out the miserable times – and so far it’s working. I’m beginning to understand that life can’t be exciting all the time and that the contrasts of experience are what make life richer.  

The same applies to my social life. I have neglected to plan in trips and journeys through which I can discover more of Africa and meet more  people who live here. I’m doing ok in terms of making friends locally, both in the volunteer community and local Rwandans but I need to balance this with discovering new places and people whilst I am here. Almost 9 months have passed already and the next year will pass even more speedily, so I need to plan a balance of opportunities. I am working on this aspect at the moment!

I’ll let you know how I get on and please tell me how you manage the balance of your life!

Lots of love to all my lovely friends and family. xxx


  1. Thanks for this Tricia, I like the idea of actively building nice bits into your working life rather than just hoping they'll come along. I need to learn how to that ... and then not feel guilty about it!!
    BTW, the beetroot looks awesome, as does April!! How was Ishmael April?

  2. Just had our yearly visit from Phil (my cousin)' he sends his regards and has been asking how you are doing in Rwanda?? I must show him these pictures of your beetroot, as he grows a lot of his own vegetables. This time he brought us onions, potatoes, green beans and cabbages. All very tasty. As he left Ludlow he noticed a sprouting purple bit of broccoli, so quite excited to get home and see how well it's grown. Cannot believe you've been there for 8 months, only 16 months to go.!!!!! xx