Life continues here in Musha. Although many of the things that have happened since I moved here would be deemed quite out of the ordinary by readers back home, unusual occurrences have become so frequent that they no longer seem to be something worth recording. An exception to this general rule occurred last week, as a friend and I returned home to Musha from Kigali to find ourselves confronted with a massive thunderstorm.
The trip to Musha is a two-part process — the first step of which involves boarding a bus that deposits you along the main road from Kigali to Rwamagana (the nearest city to me in the Eastern Province). Once you exit the bus, you hop aboard a moto-taxi (essentially a motorcycle with a handle on the back for the bumps) and drive up a dirt road to climb the hill(s?) that eventually take you to the village in which I live.
Anyway, that night we found ourselves standing on the edge of the road, staring up at the hills in which lightning flickered as the rain fell aggressively around us. We made our way to a metal shelter on the side of the road, and began to beg the only two moto drivers still waiting around to take us up the road so that we could make it home. Unsurprisingly, they refused. As the rain began to slow down a bit, however, new drivers arrived, and they made the decision to take the two crazy white girls home in the storm. What should have been a 15 minute trip took half an hour as we slid along the mud roads and the bike keeled over more than ten times. Harrowing in the moment, but as my driver dropped me off and gripped my hand, saying "together until the end!" in a tone of triumph, the only emotion I had left was sheer exhileration.
In the last months I've been in and out of Kigali a few times to do some grocery shopping and take in a movie in the theater located conveniently next door to the hotel in which I always stay. Something that has struck me about this city is how it manages to be at once chaotic and yet incredibly organized. The streets are clean, and there may be nowhere in the world where I have ever felt safer, but the roads are crowded with all manner of vehicles rushing about loudly, and Kigali buzzes with life.
Soon, I will be back in Kigali to embark on a mini trip during school vacation -- I am off to Uganda for a few days to trek with gorillas and see wild chimpanzees. While I am gone, however, the country of Rwanda will be deep in contemplation as they remember the anniversary of the genocide which took so many lives, not so long ago. One of the great gifts that this co-op has given to me has been the ability to gain a deeper understanding of how this country has rebuilt and grown stronger in the wake of such tragedy, and I am hopeful that throughout the remainder of my time here I will be able to continue to learn from its example.
For now, that's all. If you are able to take a few moments to contemplate and remember the value of human life and the importance of open-mindedness and understanding in the next few weeks, please do.
Hi friends! I have officially been living here in Musha for about a week and a half (two weeks ago today, I got on a plane and left home).
Since arriving, I have been able to settle into a bit of a routine at the school, and sort out my schedule. Most of my time is spent either helping to run the library on campus (managing book lending, as well as the tablets and computers we have for in-library student use) or in classrooms assisting the English teachers with their lessons. In the past week, we have covered topics ranging from pronouns to essay writing in classes that are essentially equivalent to high school in the United States.
I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here for my first coop, especially because it is allowing me to make an impact on the students at this school, and assist them in expanding their linguistic abilities so that they are able to find better jobs in the long run.
In other news, Rwanda is stunningly beautiful, and it is hard to feel lonely even though I am living in a tiny village fairly distant from the capital. More news and photos to come soon, as I am hoping to do some regional travel during my five months here.
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.