Sunday, March 28, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Adrienne finds comfort in tacky lamps, even in Rwanda.  
(Thanks to fellow Fulbrighter Diana Perdue for scoring the lamp!)

Last week was my last week of lecturing for the semester.  All that remains are exams, which get drawn out into a really long time period. Instead of a day or two of reading before exams, students have an entire week, called Revision Week.  There is then a week devoted to mourning the genocide, in which there are no classes or exams or anything.  Then there are two weeks devoted to final exams.  The month of April is looking good!  

Except that the month of April is Genocide Remembrance Month, which is essentially a state-sponsored version of Lent.  Public celebrations of any kind are outlawed until May 1.  I have refrained from talking about the genocide (which most people here simply refer to as "The War") because I felt I needed time to listen and  watch, and because I don't see the point in repeating what shows up on every blog from every person who has ever visited Rwanda.   I will save my observations for the appropriate time.

In the meantime, besides working myself blind (see picture to get the lighting situation), we've managed to get away a few times for some proper tourist excursions.  Two weeks ago, we went to the Nyungwe National Forest and took a 10 km round-trip hike to a pretty good waterfall.  Last week, we made it to the Akagera game reserve to make noises at various animals.  Check Diana's blog for pictures like I could never take.  I am coveting her photographic skills and her camera. (Diana is also staying at the guest house (when she has to) and is much better at blogging and describing the Rwandan experience than I am.  So if you're interested, read it and imagine me saying "what she said".)

To add to all the joy, KIST held its 8th Commencement last week.  Taking 3/4 of a day to prance about in robes and listen to long speeches was not on my extensive to-do list for this past week, so perhaps predictably, I was pretty grumpy when I was informed (less than 24 hours in advance) that attendance was expected, even (and perhaps especially) for the abazungu faculty. But the whole experience was kind of a hoot, so I'm glad I dressed up and went.

As I write this I am trying to upload images, but our fine internet here is moving at an average of 5 kbps.  I exaggerate not.  And that's the good internet that we are paying US prices for. The internet we are not paying for has been non-functional for the past 3.5 weeks. (Oh wait, I shouldn't get started on another internet rant...  Sorry.)  Here's a link to Flickr that has a few photos.  They have no comments yet--you get to make up your own captions!

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