Muzungus in Gashora

Gashora Travel Blog

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We arrived in Gashora a week ago and it has been very busy since then! Gashora is a small community of 2,200 people in the Buygesera district of Rwanda; there is a community tap that costs 10 Rwandan Francs (about 3 cents) to fill up a gerry can of water and the roads are all dirt within Gashora, but the hour and a half bus ride from Kigali is a brand new, beautifully paved road! On the way out here we stopped at the Nelson Mandela Village to visit the education center there which is a technical post secondary school with about 60 students.  One class is working with a German organization called Green Helmets which consists of 6 male students and two of their teachers, who are working with us on the COVAGA site project for the month that we are here.  We are staying in dorm style rooms at La Palisse Gashora, a gorgeous hotel beside a beautiful large lake, which is home to hippos (we have already seen 2!) and crocodiles (no sign yet. rumors that crocs may have been eaten by hippos.)

Our everyday routine consists of breakfast at 7 (eggs, bread, coffee and african tea), walk to job site (approx 20 minutes) work 8-12, walk back for lunch (rice, meat/sauce, beans, salad, fanta) /ciesta out of the hot sun until 2 and then work till 5 and back to the hotel for dinner (meat, beans, rice, plantain usually) and hang out time.  The food has been amazing and the dorms are 2 person but due to an odd number of girls I lucked out and have a double room to myself!

Duct tape and sunscreen have become my new favorite friends, as well as Primus, the local beer which sells for a 750ml for approx 1.10 USD.  Ended work early on Tuesday due to a thunderstorm (first of the trip, all the weather has been super hot/sunny, about 28 degree celcius a day which makes for hard working weather but we take lots of breaks in the shade and I usually drink about 3L a day of water) so all the volunteers plus the Green Helmets students headed to a local bar for cheap beer and party time outside of work.  Work is long and very hard in the hot sun but I can already tell that I am getting more and more acclimatized each day.  Most days I am digging ditches, making bricks, mixing concrete or carrying/pushing around loads of soil and materials for the foundation of the building. 

The local children hang out at the worksite with us everday, at least about 20 kids at all times which can be fun during break times but a little frustrating (not to mention dangerous) when we're digging and swinging pick axes around.  They are so adorable and so willing to learn and interat with us.  We are such a sight to be seen; I cannot believe how interested everyone is in us.  Even when we are sitting around having a banana break (oh, and the fruit is fabulous.), about 30 people ranging from 1 year old to 50, will form a semi circle around us and stare constantly.  It's totally not a rude thing like it is in our culture, it's honestly because they are so curious, there has been a limited number of white people .  The children all speak Kinyarwandan (the local tongue) and learn English in school so we get asked about 100x a day "what is your name/how are you/what is this" etc while the adults speak Kinyarwandan and French.  When we are not struggling with the language barrier and trying to communicate with the locals, we spend a lot of time hearing "muzungu" (white person) seems to be spoken about every 3rd word.

We have internet at the hotel here which I try to get on every 4 days or so, but it's so hard to find time to get on here for a reasonable amount of time to update so here are some quick messages:

Hayley- congrats on making top 5! I am so proud of you! love you dude!

Ali Canning - remember to feed crosby and clean his bowl, unless he has already died and in that case, nevermind. I love you! say hi to the girls for me and I hope vic is super sunny and hot!

Mom and Dad - bought local minutes for a friends cell phone so I will try and call soon! I'm 9 hours ahead of you so it will be your morning when I call, probs around 9 or 10. love you!


If anyone wants, this is the website for my team leaders blog spot - it has pictures and more updates than mine.

I am loving Africa and not missing home just yet but I'm already getting sad that I only have 3 more weeks in this place.  Tomorrow after work we are going back to Kigali on the bus for the weekend to relax, bum around the city for a bit and see the genocide memorial site all in time to be back for work on Monday morning.

Bye for now!

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