Water. Power. Garbage Disposal.

I have entitled this section as above because currently in Kigali, we have none of the above mentioned items. We have been without power for four days, without stable water for the same amount, and there is never a place to put your garbage, except the ditch outside your front door.

I have a new found appreciation for those very simple amenities. I just want power so I can see in the dark. And charge my cell phone, so I can talk to my family and Mat. I just want water so I can clean my dishes and wash my hair! I want a place to put my garbage so it’s not so evident to me the extent to which human life is destroying the planet…

When I’m washing my dishes (when there is water), I look out a window onto the whole town of Kigali. I say “town” on purpose. I look out, I see hills, cultivation, agriculture, dirt roads, shacks. I hear the sound of radios, the primary method of communication here. I look out that window and I feel a bit empty inside.

I think the primary reason for this is that I am not yet connected to my surroundings – people or places. I can’t communicate very well to anyone here, especially if they only speak Kinyarwanda. Melissa and I can’t really leave the house after 6pm, because it’s dark and we don’t feel safe. This means a lot of alone time in the dark.

I also don’t feel connected to my work. I struggle to communicate there as well, with it being entirely french with no english. I feel especially dumb when I realize most people in Rwanda speak like five languages and I can’t even master two. I don’t have a workplan, which means that I basically spend the day feeling like I could be contributing, but I’m not. I’m sitting. Occasionally in meetings, sitting listening to french, trying to get adapted.

I am talking about this experience like it is all bad. The rational side of my mind realizes that there are some really positive aspects to this whole endeavour, and that I’ve only been here for 2 weeks. I’ve only been in my new home for three days. I need to give myself time. The challenge has just been finding a place to vent my energy, to cope, and to comfort myself. I find it very hard to comfort myself.

I listen to the experiences that others are having overseas – many of them with amazing amounts of hard, useful work to do, nice places to live, new friends, etc. I can’t help but feel like our situation here is harder than most, at least for the moment. I long for the period of time where I feel accustomed and comfortable here, when I am contributing at work, and when I have friends.

Love you all, please don’t feel discouraged by this blog. I just needed a space to get it all out there.

~ by kcanderson on August 21, 2005.

One Response to “Water. Power. Garbage Disposal.”

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