Kibungo Nights and INATEK Days

October 2, 2012

Olivia and I’s first meal in our new kitchen: pseudo-eggplant parmesan and boxed red wine

Rwanda is sometimes called the “Land Where God Lives”. But nothing has made that more evident than my living situation for the next 9 months. Olivia (my English Teaching partner-in-crime) and I live in a compound-like convent, one of many in the country. The five nuns (Verena, Francoise, Agnes, Micherand and Drosara) run an old folks home and small farm in the convent/compound. Their generosity has known few bounds in welcoming us to Kibungo. They have invited us for dinner our first few nights here (when our gas stove and refrigerator had still not arrived); have helped us prod our sponsors at INATEK for proper furniture and other living accoutrements; and have given us fresh milk and eggs from the farm. Now that our kitchen is all set up with a fridge, gas burners and electric kettle, Olivia and I have enjoyed cooking beans, peanut sauce, rice, steamed vegetables and several other dishes in the evenings. Cooking here as become a great way to unwind at the end of the day, but the more intensive practice may lose some of its romantic luster as the months pass. In general, moving in to our new home has taken some time as we slowly accumulate home goods from our sponsors. We are also adjusting to the wonderful world of bucket baths, spotty electricity and very rarely running water, but that’s all a part of the adventure.

A welcome present from Bernadette, a local girl who helps us with cleaning.

All the nuns speak a fair amount of French, so communicating with them hasn’t been terribly difficult compared to the rest of Kibungo. The residents of Kibungo seem to only speak the ever challenging (one of the top 5 hardest languages in the world) Ikinyarwanda. Olivia and I’s futile efforts to communicate in French or English in town have made the need to at least learn some of the basic mouth gymnastics of Ikinyarwanda. Most of the letters and single letter sounds are similar to English or French, however, the challenge comes with different letter combinations. For example, Rwanda is actually sounds like “Rgwanda” in Ikinyarwanda because of the “Rw” letter combination.

Our cozy living room

Classes at INATEK (no, I haven’t destroyed a wayward copy machine or fileted a fish on my desk…yet) have been postponed a week to accommodate some administrative mishaps (no director for the Language Center or the promised additional full-time English Teacher). My classes officially start on Monday, however, this weekend I plan to sit in my colleague’s English classes over the weekend. INATEK has both weekend and night classes to accommodate their students with jobs during the week. The Weekend Program is particularly popular and each of my colleagues’ classes may have as many as 150 students. Luckily, I will teach a rapid-fire Day Program with only 50 to 70 students. I’m only slightly terrified.

A hillside view near Kibungo

5 Responses to “Kibungo Nights and INATEK Days”

  1. uncledavethegoodguy Says:

    Where are you in the picture?

    Just kidding….you were probably at school.

    L & K

  2. Julianne Says:

    We are so glad you have a roommate you like and that you will share teaching with her. It must be scary to think of that ‘first day’ when no one speaks your language. I wish we could be flies on the wall to see it. Many blessings to you. Aunt Julie

  3. Sandy Pants Says:

    I am so glad you seem to be enjoying the journey so far! You’re so brave for taking on such a huge challenge. I can’t wait to see what kind of impression you leave on your students! 🙂

  4. elissa field Says:

    It’s so great to read your posts and know what you are up to and what daily life is like for you. What ages are you teaching? Are they adults, or kids? Good luck with your first classes! Elissa and the boys

    • I’m teaching first year university students. They will most likely be older than me since INATEK caters to individuals who work/want to get a degree later in life. Feel free to email any tips on lesson planning!

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