Friday, 26 February 2010

Cyangugu - Ngwino Nawe

I spent about 10 days in the South staying in a very comfortable house belonging to Rwanda Aid who support several projects in this part of Rwanda including the home/centre where I was based. There are about 60 children with varying degrees of disability including a number of Deaf children. I was astonished to find here 3 children who used to be at Butare. They had previously been at an orphanage called JAM - some South African religious based organisation but they have thrown out these wretched Deaf kids because it was claimed that they cost too much to educate in butare so the poor things were packed off to the deep South where they know no-one and this is to be their new home. I'm not impressed with Jam!
The centre is the personal project of a remarkable but terrifying woman called Therèse - hereinafter called T- Regina. She has very firm ideas on how the centre should be run and it is going to be quite a challenge to introduce any new ideas - likef or example giving children breakfast and maybe making the day a little less long - 7.30 to 5.00 with only an hour for lunch and two 20 minute breaks does seem to be rather taxing for children who already have quite a lot to contend with!
We started singing with a group of them and they were very happy to be doing the wheels on the bus and Head, shoulders, knees and toes so I'm hoping to build on this and play more games and activities when I return there next Tuesday.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Butare again!

Last weekend Jan 30th /31st I visited Butare in order to meet up with Innocent - my long -time dependant and to see Renathe and Josephine (ex-domestiques), and their families. I stayed with Renathe which was really nice - very comfortable and gave me a chance to get to know her little boy - Prince. He is very cute and is already speaking quite alot of French but displays many traits of an indulged only child- very attention seeking - throwing food and drink on the floor and constantly interrupting!
We went the next day to Josephine's house - a short walk away where her whole family were gathered. We ate corn, drank tea and then had beans and rice and had a great catch up of news and views! She is now going to work for 2 new volunteers in Butare.

Everyone complained about the difficulties of making ends meet - many items of food have become very expensive - it is claimed that a policy to grow only food and rice in the valleys rather than mixed crops has led to a shortage of many vegetables such as tomatoes which has led to an increase in prices.

Many of the familiar faces were to be seen in Butare - the deaf street boy - now a young man - completely unsurprised to see me again, the character dressed in a gass mask decorated with chains and feathers, the charming girls in the Volcano office and the lovely guys in the supermarket.

change of plan

I realise that although I've kept my Facebook entries up to date anybody following only the blog will be a bit astonished to find me going off to Cyangugu instead of to Komera. I met Father Murenzi at a 3 day workshop about Deaf education/sign Language/audiology and although he appeared to be pleased to see me he was also very evasive and it was not until the end of the second day that I forced a meeting at which he dropped his bombshell: he had suddenly been made aware that 3 of his 5 funders were coming to the end of their contracts with him and he was very uncertain about what was to happen at Komera! Thus he did not feel that it would be a good place for me to be!
Although not entirely surprised I was really disappointed for all sorts of reasons - the children and staff with whom I'd forged friendships, the beauty of the place and the work I was going to do - all pffff and here I was in Rwanda with no proper placement!
Amanda, my programme manager, rose to the challenge, and now I am calling myself a freelance disability advisor- currently working at a Centre for Special Needs Children near Cyangugu but also trying to find out what is going on in all the different centres for Deaf children. All very interesting!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Off to Cyangugu!

Well finally I have a base in Kigali - a nice house with airy light rooms, an almost stunning view, (spoilt by a VAST house just in front), a kitchen with 2 sinks, a sweet guard called Ernest and a great situation 15 minutes up hill wall to the programme office. Of course there are 1 or 2 unsurprising hiccups such as the fact that there are no curtains, only 1 key to front and back doors despite every other door in the house having 3 keys, a bathroom door that won't shut and taps that have to be turned off by an extra tap on the pipe, my matress is too big for the bed and the wooden slats are too small so I'm liable to land on the floor with a crash in the night! However I'm taking the trip South in a few minutes - 5 hours on the bus to a new short -term placement where I'm to do a needs analysis on the provision or lack of it for 20 or so Deaf children at a centre called Ngwino Nawe - Come to Us!
That will be the 9th bed I've slept in since I've arrived. But nonetheless I am so happy to be back, to be catching up with old friends and to be working and engaged again, to be eating fresh fruit and to being warm!