Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The first 100 days

We have just passed 100 days in Rwanda. Coincidentally, it arrived just after I had prepared a report for Rwanda Aid. My first surprise was that it was about 8 pages long. I didn’t think I had done that much since coming here! It also coincided with a very inspiring meeting with the bishop, where we were able to share ideas about our work and the way ahead. As always, the difficulty is putting ideas into practice. That is particularly tricky here where the management systems (i.e. the tools to implement ideas) are weak or non-existent. Challenges all around.
We have passed some kind of milestone apart from merely counting the days. The difference is subtle but noticeable in a number of ways.
• We have started getting interested in the news again, Rwandan, British and world.
• We have found a new confidence in speaking French and not worrying about grammatical errors. We are also starting to understand African French better.
• We understand a fair amount of what is happening round about us (we think) and do not need to ask so often. This makes life easier, but it also means that some of the novelty and wonder of living here is wearing off.
• We have people we would count as friends.
• We are seriously missing people at home.
We are also past the stage where we can say “we have just arrived here”. There are lots of things which are still new and mysterious, but the settling-in period is over (as is 1/7th of our time here).

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