Friday, December 23, 2011

Lost and Found

Just as I was returning from my morning jog today, I found 20 franks on the ground (enough to buy one box of 40 matches). I'm not ashamed to pick up loose change off the ground, so I pocketed it. When I put the coin in my pocket I realized that my room key had fallen out of my pocket during my jog!

I retraced my steps and followed the route I had just run. Why do I insist on increasing my jogging distance every day? Along the way I asked people if they had seen my key. I found a young man who was very helpful and came along with me to help me look and ask people if they had seen it. Unfortunately, we never found the key.

When I got home, my headmaster's family tried every other key that they own on the door. The key that I lost turned out to be the only key to the door. So, we had a locksmith come and replace the lock. I found 20 franks this morning, but had to pay 2,000 to get my lock replaced. And of course the 20 I found fell out of my pocket while waiting for the locksmith to come. I'm not going to wear those shorts anymore; the pockets are worthless!

I think I had an asthma attack yesterday. I'm not sure, because I've never had one before. I was jogging between the corn fields and the corn stalks had aromatic blossoms on them. My throat started to close up and I was wheezing uncontrollably. I have always had seasonal allergies, but this has never happened to me before. I stopped running and walked until I caught my breath. Once my breath came back, I returned to a jogging pace and it didn't happen again. And today, despite running a longer distance (twice, because I was looking for a key!) it didn't happen. Weird.

I got my hair cut today. I was thinking about letting it grow out for the next two years because I have never had long hair and I wanted to see what it would be like. But short hair is so easy to take care of and much cooler. It can get hot here in the East. Plus, I am so used to being clean cut that I feel dirty when my hair gets so long.

Can you see the tan line on my forehead from when my hair was long?

Last night I had a beer with my new friend, Pilate. He works for the department of education and he loves to speak English. He is also somehow related to my headmaster. We had a great conversation about development in Rwanda. Pilate explained that Rwandans learn everything in theory. There is not much application of the curriculum that is learned. For example, even though Rwanda is switching over from Francophone to an Anglophone system, Rwandans do not speak day to day in English. Pilate suggested that the reason Rwandans do not speak English is because they are already united under a single language, Kinyarwanda. In other nearby countries, like Congo and Burundi, there are hundreds of languages. Many people speak the European languages in these countries because they are languages that people can unite under. Rwandans don't need to unite under a European language because they already all speak the same language.

Pilate also hypothesized that Francophone countries in Africa are the ones that have political instability. He is happy that Rwanda is switching to Anglophone because the countries that speak English generally have peace. He said that France and Belgium caused more division than England did when the European countries imperialized Africa. I don't know how true this is. There may be some bad blood for France and Belgium after their roles in the war. Nevertheless, I am happy that there are people here who are excited to learn English so that they can further their academics.

Rwamagana has a new governor. I went to a rally with my headmaster to welcome her into her new position. It was sort of like a city council meeting, where the officials gave speeches and people could ask them questions. It was different from any meeting in America, though. Everyone stood up and began clapping in unison. Then the singing began. We sang and clapped like we were in church. It was a lot of fun.

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