Not skirting the issues

I’m writing this in the short break between getting back from coaching and meeting up for our evening meal.  Rwanda has yet again provided us with a day of surprises and new experiences. To begin with, the weather changed today, and black clouds loomed on the horizon.  All the students were excited at the prospect of experiencing a torrential Rwandan downpour, and Brad even started the day with his raincoat on.  However, the storm didn’t materialise and the day gradually got warmer and warmer.

Our first coaching session took place at a primary school and as soon as we drove into the school grounds, all semblance of concentration in lessons was lost, as the children crowded to their classroom doors to see the Muzungu? (not sure of the spelling here).  The children at this school were amazingly well behaved and the coaching went like a dream, although being on the activity next to Brad, who has the loudest voice of the whole group, did pose a bit of a challenge.

We then had an earlyish break, so took the opportunity to visit the local market. The market begins on the outside of a multi-storey building and then, via a series of ramps, continues upwards for three more floors.  You could buy everything you did need and many things you didn’t need here.  The amazing seamstresses on the ground floor knocked up a skirt for me from beautiful Kanga material in less than three hours.  That’s tonight’s outfit sorted. In the meantime, Brad, Jamie and James had another game of football on the beautiful Huye football pitch.

The students have once again been amazing.  Our final school of the day was a secondary school which Lee remembered from previous visits, and explained that ‘it might get messy in here’ at the start.  Although we were coaching an expected 65 after school club children, almost every child in the school was there to watch, to cheer and at times, to cause havoc.  It was crazy, but the students again were brilliant, being enthusiastic and rolling with the challenges as they emerged.  I spoke to a girl called Denise, who was studying economics, maths and computing, and she had goals of being an engineer.  At this school, we saw at first hand that corporal punishment is sometimes used in schools in Rwanda and I was very proud of Brad for stepping in to intervene.

I’m incredibly impressed with Mollie, Becky, James, Jamie and Brad, they are not only fully immersing themselves in the experience, but also taking time to reflect and consider the things they see and hear during the day. It’s great to see and hear how their own worlds are being broadened with every day we spend here, they’re a credit to the University and themselves, and to CWB.