Saturday

Day 5

After a nice breakfast and coffee that was so smooth I could drink it without milk - a shock to anyone who has seen me drink coffee - Linda came to get me. We went to her dad's office where I was able to take a photo of the Kayonza flame of remembrance and say goodbye - and a huge murakoze cyane/thank you very much to her dad. His generosity was overwhelming! Linda then took me to the bus park and insured that I got on the right back back to Kigali. Another uneventful ride on a beautiful Rwandan morning. I've actually been very lucky with the weather!

I was, I admit, a tad nervous about navigating Nyabugogo on my own. Fidel had pointed out the Volcano Tours desk so once I was on my feet I made a beeline. Uvuga icyongereza? Do you speak English? A nice fellow - amidst chaos and confusion - ensured that I had my ticket and boarded the correct bus. I was very thankful as the young woman had sold me a ticket for the noon bus and it was 11:25. He asked if I minded taking the 11:30 bus. Um, no. Did I look like someone who wanted to stand around in Nyabugogo for 35 minutes? I was soon on the bus and on my way.

After a while the fellow seated next to me asked if I was going to Huye. Jean Claude asked a bit about how long I had been in Rwanda, etc. Then, hearing I was a professor, he showed me, with - I think - a bit of pride, his provisional certificate for award of a Bachelor of Education. He is now teaching English and French at a secondary school somewhere between Huye and the Burundi border, which is only abou 25 km away from Huye.

As we approached Huye he asked if I knew the town, needed a guide, etc. I assured him that I knew where I was headed and we said our goodbyes. Bon voyage, Jean Claude!

I walked the 200 meters or so to the Motel du Mont Huye. Not surprisingly, the young woman couldn't find my reservation. My multiple names often lead to confusion, even when there is no language barrier. Eventually, all was well and I was taken to my room, chambre 1, to get settled.

One of the things about Rwanda that is a particularly good exercise for me is that one always has to expect the unexpected and be prepared for things to not go as well as one hopes. Well, after over three hours on a bus, one likes to find a working toilet. And, if not, it's nice to be able to communicate about the issue with those who can help. I have to say, to my high school French teachers, thank you! More than once on this trip, my very limited French has come in quite handy. My toilet is now functioning.

But, let me back up. As I was walking to my room, a young woman on another patio waved, saying "Hello" in English. She looked settled in, like she'd been here a while. After discovering the toilet issue I went back to ask if there was some trick I needed to know. On that front, no, there wasn't. But, turns out she's with a group of Canadian nursing students that come here for four weeks to volunteer at the hospital. And, they're not just Canadian, they're from Nova Scotia. And, she's from Moncton, a city a couple of hours from Fredericton, where I've been living. We had a nice chat and I met her colleague - and then went off to find toilet assistance.

After getting settled - which doesn't take long when you've only a small backpack - I broke down and used my iPhone to access email. Pathetic, I know. Then I ventured to the restaurant, did some reading, and returned to write.

The clouds, as I typed the above, seem to have dissipated a bit. It's getting dark. We're just below the equator, you know. The mosquitoes may soon be swarming so I think I'll head inside.

Tomorrow I am schedule to meet with two faculty members from PIASS, the Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Sciences. That will likely fill my day. I've decided to return to Kigali on Saturday instead of Sunday as there is more that I'd like to do there than there is here. I may make it to the Kimironko market after all.

As I wrap this up I hear what sounds like live singing, from the cathedral perhaps. I hear the nurses visiting. People have been strolling by, "Hello," "Goodbye," "Bonjour," a wave... A room here goes for 10,000 RWF, or about $15.00 so it's popular with students, NGOs, etc. But, I don't think I'll have trouble sleeping. What I've written doesn't even begin to capture the ups, the downs, the stress, the joys... Sleep, I will!




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