Today was a nice, slow day. Last night MJ moved into Alyssa’s room and Katy took the mattress above my bed and we shifted all our stuff around. After tidying up a bit, we now have lots of space and are quite comfortable with the situation. This morning when I woke up the light came in through the slats of the bed frame above me and I felt like the whole room was somehow brighter and bigger. With the “Saw”-esque bathroom, the constant red dust coating our feet, the absence of TV, microwave, and even sometimes electricity–you really appreciate the small things.
Yesterday I discovered a “secret market” while out walking with the new German IP. Alongside the outdoor market where we find out vegetables for our occasional cooking adventures is a long wall painted with an advertisement for Prudence brand condoms. In this wall are rough hewn archways, with corrugated tin roofing staircases leading up to them, and going through them you find a huge array of stalls and counters selling a myriad of goods. Piles of fruits and vegetables are found in one section, and second-hand bras and other clothing in another—sort of like a massive department store village-style. In the very back we found tall racks draped with the colorful fabric that Rwandan women wear. I figured these must be less expensive than the ones found at the tailor’s or in the main market since this was more of a locals only area—few people here spoke French or English at all. I managed to get a good price for a piece of cloth which was ripped—I thought I would make some pillowcases or something out of it as a souvineir and something to occupy my time.
Last night I started sewing a tote bag and continued through the MOU meeting that we had with Eliphaz and Alphonse. The meeting went well and by the end of the night I just needed to sew the straps onto the bag for it to be finished. This morning Katy, Carrie, and Alyssa decided to make a trip to the “secret market” and while they went out I finished the purse and made a camera case and coin purse with the ripped piece of fabric. I was hoping that I would take longer to finish the project to use up some of the down time we have, but I am very happy with how it turned out. The girls came back with fruits and vegetables which they planned to cook into a spagetti dinner tonight.
We had a meeting this afternoon in which we talked about the progress of the Maternal Health Program which I felt was very successful. Combined with the meetings we’ve had identifying our progress and remaining goals, I feel very confident about the work we are doing. When we return to the States we will have so much usefull information and materials to help promote this program.
Gloria has come today to teach us how to dance in the traditional style of Intore which she practices. However, she came without music and has taught Katy (our fearless leader) some verses of a Rwandan song to accompany us. I imagine the rest of the night will be spent enjoying some pasta, listening to music from an iPod that we are now able to listen to thanks to Rike, the German IP’s portable speakers. It was a beautiful day made all the more sweet by the positive reports we have gathered about the project and all the plans we have for the remaining month.