As many of you already know, by birthday was March 5th. I had a nice laid back celebration with friends. We had some drinks and then went to the only Chinese restaurant in town. It’s called, “Chinese Restaurant”. The food was very good but nothing like the Chinese food we’re used to in the US. The day after, we found out what our sites are. Because this blog is public I can only give you a general idea of where my site is. My site is in the Eastern Province in the district of Rwamagana. We also were informed of what organizations we have been paired with. It’s not clear what I can reveal in this regard. All I will say for now is that I will be assisting a fairly small faith based organization that works for the mitigation of preventable diseases through behavior change.
The next week we all left to for Kigali to meet our counterparts (the people in our paired organizations who will assist us in working for the organization). We stayed in Kigali for one night and had meetings with our counterparts and others. The next day we departed to our individual sites. At site, I was introduced to my future colleagues, the community and my apartment. I have a very nice place that over looks a beautiful valley. After the volunteer swearing in on April 15th I will live there for 2 years.
We all found our way back home by Sunday. On the 18th there was a reggae show in town that I went to. It was free and had a VERY good reggae band. On the 20th, we all went to the market to buy food for our cooking lessons that were to follow on the 21st. I went to the market with a group that had to bargain for chickens, salt and more. I helped bargain for the chickens and carried them home. In Rwanda, they tie their legs together and carry them upside down. Afterwards, there was a music competition at the University in Butare. I bought a ticket and went. I was surprised to find very little live music. There were some hip-hop dance groups that were very good but for the most part there were just, although entertaining, lip singing groups. There was an award ceremony for several categories of music throughout the event.
On the 21st, I was also in the cooking group that had chickens. I learned how to kill them, pluck them, and gut them. I am one who believes that if you can’t kill it, you shouldn’t be allowed to eat it. I have been eating meat since I have been here and felt that it was necessary for me to go through the steps of killing the animal myself. Aside from that, it was overall a good experience. I can’t say that I necessarily enjoyed it.