Day 6

Having no Internet, no companions, not being up for wandering Huye in the dark, and having read for a while, I turned in around 8 last night and awoke some time during the night to absolute silence. Not a cricket, not bird, not a car, not a footstep. Not a rustle of leaves or a drip of water. It was really eerie in that I really didn't hear a thing, not even the buzz of a mosquito. I went back to sleep and when I awakened around 5-something birds were starting to chirp.

There's a bit of a language barrier here at the hotel and though pulling French from the recesses of my brain has been helpful in some instances, not so much in others. From the reading I had done before traveling, I knew that the breakfast consisted of coffee or tea and toast w/ jam, but that you could, allegedly, order eggs and pay separately for them. One of the things I've noticed is a tendency to convey understanding only to find out that there was no understanding at all. So, gluten insensitivity be damned, my breakfast consisted of tea and three slices of toast with what is labeled "medium fat spread," a type of margarine I presume. Honestly, the jam - in what was formerly a mayonnaise jar - looked a tad questionable. When something is unidentifiable, I consider it questionable. So, I stuck with the stuff that while no doubt bad for my arteries, had an identifiable provenance.

1:00 pm
Later this morning I met with, Celestin, a faculty member from PIASS. Also a Presbyterian pastor, he just completed his masters degree in peace and conflict studies. He has moved from what was - I'm unsure if it still is - a Faculty of Theology to the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies. He is originally from (the former) Gitarama. Though we didn't discuss it, I know this to be one of the areas often mentioned in writings on the 1994 genocide and, I believe, an area then controlled by the Hutu and the location of some of the key figures in leadership. We had a nice, albeit somewhat difficult, chat about students, tuition, academic calendars, etc. I say difficult not because of content, but accent. The official language of instruction changed from French to English sometime around 2008 and 2009, so most adults who completed secondary school before that time are fluent in Kinyarwanda and French, but not English. As students who go on to university speak Kinyarwanda, English, and French to varying degrees, their instructors are, in some instances, playing catch up on the English. But, as I like to point out when people apologize for their English, it's light years better than my Kinyarwanda!

When Celestin and I parted ways I went around the corner to the Hotel Ibis to see about lunch. Let me say for the record that I just had the best chicken I've had in four visits to Rwanda. I'm not enough of a cook to even know how to describe how it was cooked - braised, perhaps? But, it was not only amazingly tender - a rarity here, but had the best flavor. And, I had the good sense to order rice. Hard to believe, but even I am tired of French Fries. Even the vegetables, while reminiscent of the mixed vegetables of my elementary school cafeteria, were tasty. Clearly I was hungry! I sat on the patio while the world, or a good part of Huye, passed by. I returned just minutes ago, got out my iPad, sat down and, as I type this it is raining. So far my timing with regard to the rain has been very good.

I paused for a moment to read what I've typed and now the sun is shining. The sky is a mix of blue with puffy, white clouds and stretches of more ominous gray. But, I've no place I have to be, so I'm content to sit here on the patio until my 3:00 meeting.

8:30 pm
It's time to turn in - ack - I'm getting a cold and am not feeling so great, but I had an absolutely wonderful visit with Kazu, chair of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at PIASS. I don't want to share much of it here as it's his research, but know that I learned all kinds of things that in more 'formal' visits I did/would not. Feel free to ask me about it! It made the trip to Huye so very worthwhile. And, as an added bonus he and his wife are going to Kigali tomorrow and he offered me a ride. Fab!

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