Published: August 14th 2009August 14th 2009 Monday:
Wildlife in Kigali!
Even after a weekend of fantastic animal sightings, I was still happy to see this little lizard just outside my window. He stayed there for most of the morning just enjoying the sunshine.
I woke up very sore this morning, a bit bruised and battered from bouncing around in a 4x4 for two days. The roads in the park are bumpy and when you stand up with your head through the roof opening, you really need to brace with your legs and your arms. The walk to work was a good way to loosen up and it's down hill or flat the whole way. The walk home was tougher as it's up hill for quite a ways! My backpack seemed much heavier at 5:30pm than it did at 8:00am!
There are quite a few guys selling newspapers and magazines on the streets of Kigali. As I walk to and from work, they first try and sell me a newspaper, usually published in French. When I reply "No, thank you" they can tell I'm American and then they try and sell me "The Economist". I'm flattered that they think I'm smart enough to handle that! There's one guy who sees me every monring at the same time and every day he comes running up to sell me the magazine. Every day I turn him down, but each day he still gets excited when
Former American Embassy
This was the American Embassy in Kigali prior to 1994
he sees me coming. Tuesday:
Today I took an alternate route to work so that I could walk down Rue de Mont Juru where there are many trees full of fruit bats. They make a strange squeeking noise that freaks me out and sometimes all of the bats spontaneously shoot out of one tree and fly around for a few minutes. I really don't like them, but it's fun to see and listen to them.
I am extended my stay here by just under a week. There's more work to do so I need another four business days. I got my tickets rebooked today and I'm working on a plan for this weekend. There are some places I'd like to see so I may get a car and driver for the day on Saturday. It's expensive, but the best way to see many places in a day.
Tonight at the restaurant before, I was trying to call the US, but couldn't get the call to go through. There was a women two tables over that I heard on her phone so when she was done, I asked her how to make a call. She was very nice
and invited me to join her for dinner. Jamie's actually staying in the same apartment building and as we were chatting, a guy came in who is also in the building so the three of us ate dinner together. They were both very nice and it was an enjoyable hour and a half. Jamie and I may do dinner again this week. Ted is heading off to Tanzania this weekend to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro! Wednesday:
Today I went to the post office to mail my postcards. It was easy to find as it's near quite a few Bureaus d'Change and everyone wants to change money for you. I had many people to ask directions from. Postcards are expensive here and they are fixed price so I paid the equivalent of about $1.79 per card. I wasn't sure on postage, but that was actually inexpensive and I spent between 67 and 80 cents per card for the stamps. Each card took to stamps and I have many so it was a lot of licking! I should have brought some water with me. Thursday:
I'm working on my plan for the weekend and the time is getting filled nicely! I
have a car and driver on Saturday and plan to visit Nyganza to see the Palace of the last Rwandan King, Huye (Butare) to visit the Rwandan National Museum and the Butare Genocide Memorial, and Nyamata and Ntarama, where there are genocide memorials. On Sunday, I'm going to take a bus to Kibuye to see Lake Kivu, the largest lake in Rwanda.
Exciting news: Today I moved out of the "Ghetto Apartment" and up to the second floor! There was finally an opening so I was able to relocate for my last week! It's so much nicer to have a view and more light and to be able to sleep with the windows open! Even though it's only for a week, I very happy I was able to move up in the world. Friday:
Today we had our "Clinical Research in Rwanda" breakfast meeting and it went really well! It took a lot of work to get our presentation ready, to decide on the guest list, and make all the arrangements, but it was worth it. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health was there for the first half and she said at least twice "we must
View from the Second Floor!
This is the view from my new apartment! There's a school nearby and also houses. I can see the sky and it's much lighter inside with a nice breeze.
listen to Nancy" which was very cool! I didn't sleep much last night since I was worried about how I would do, especially trying to speak slowly and ennunciate (which is harder than it used to be with a mouth full of braces). Jennifer and I had a secret "slow down" signal and I never got it, although we did start about 10 minutes late so we had ground to make up.
Once the meeting was over, I was pooped (I was up at 5:30am) and very hungry since I didn't eat beforehand. We brought the leftover food back to FHI and shared it with everyone. We did a debrief and then, luckily, FHI closes at 1pm on Fridays so I walked home and had a rest on the couch for about an hour.
I'm now heading out for a bit of sightseeing then having dinner (beer and pizza since it's Friday), and hitting the sack early since I'm heading out at 8:00am tomorrow.
There are more photos below