Here we are: Kigeme & Shyogwe

Jan 19 (started)


View from my window

We arrived on Friday in what felt like many pieces. Alain was there to meet us at the airport and take us to meet another couple and drive off. On the way to Kigeme we stopped at the Chicken Centre for a tour. Much appreciated because it gave us a sense of the project that we will participate in on. We then travelled on to Shygowe and had lunch with Francis’s family. Francis could not meet us due to other commitments but all of his five sons steeped in to welcome and ensure we were updated. Eventually we arrived in Kigeme to be met by Hilary and Francis. The place was packed as this was the weekend of the bishop’s inauguration which was now happening on Saturday instead of Sunday.

The event was filled with surprises. That Rwanda has attained a level of wealth was demonstrated by the many modern SUV. Many ministers, politicians and foreign leaders in the Anglican Church attended. The drummers were amazing and I hope I can find pictures from group members (i cant transfer from my camera to blog as this time). At the end of the service cake was served to the bishops while the rest of us got corn. It was so great to see they made sure everyone got fed because the event started at 9:00 and finished around 3:30, When it ended Maggie and I went shopping in the market. We successfully purchased a lot of our needed items.

On Sunday we went to the Murambi Memoriall site by bodaboba

On Monday we stopped at the Ethnographic museum, a coffee shop and a gift shop. Finally we had good coffee in the hot sun. Maggie found a new way to go on safari. 1C0E8997-6A99-4BD1-A150-0C7BEED8865E.jpeg The museum in Butare is one of my favourite places but this time we used a guide and he was fantastic. He had so much knowledge and really brought the artifacts to life – so now we will be searching for banana beer and the cows that reside in the Kings Palace (wonder if I could link to this). We travelled onto Shygowe and were welcomed by my friends and the new coordinator. After lunch we settled in our rooms. So looking forward to tomorrow when we do evaluations for the Chickens against Poverty program.

Tuesday – the evaluations were so good, it was a steep learning curve for all of us but I think we did very well. We had 2 groups, both present at one time so when we did the first group the other group got an idea of what we were asking and it went much quicker. B1997B58-EACE-4694-AF60-DCD9B3D8BB7B.jpeg
When we finished we went for little walk for enough food to tide us over to supper, then met our little friends (Francis boys) and they took us for this lovely walk up the hill to our local church, down the hill to the training center, around the hill to the next path that takes us past the school and to our home. On the way I met the person who did some translations for me in 2016 (so now we are planning a Saturday tea party) (wonder if Maggie can give me some pictures). Then we returned to the guest house and met more fiends on the balcony where we drew pictures, studied our different languages and danced. We are a happy group.

Again on Wednesday evaluations were great, but they told us that the local chickens could survive better that their chickens. We wanted to go to the pub Wednesday night but it rained so hard we had to postpone and begged the kitchen for tea and soup and cheese sandwiches. On Thursday we met Hilary and Francis for lunch, we also played basketball with the Popy and Bebe. We got back to our guest house in time to rescue our laundry from the rain that was just about to start. It stopped after an hour and we were able to go to the pub – where we met the local chickens. They were adorable. On Friday we finished our evaluations. We still have Saturday where we hope to go to the market, Sunday in church and Monday we hope to finish our report.

On Saturday I took Maggie to town on the local bus, we waiting an hour because the all the buses were full, finally there was a tiny spot and i jumped in and told Maggie to get on my lap but the driver, seeing how determined i was told the guy behind to get out and he put Maggie in.  We found our way to the market and bought papaya and green apples.  We looked again at the fabric, we were tempted but decided against it and Maggie was able to find some peace baskets.  Then we made our way to the Catholic Supermarket where i bought some shampoo.  After that we started to look for the Splendid Hotel but we got lost, very lost, very very very lost.  Oh my brother must be in panic if he knew where i took his daughter. We ended up with some little fellow taking us around the back alleys of his village, down stairs made of feed, into backyards full of cows and then when we were so tired he demanded money.  Thankfully an adult came to our rescue (somewhat) she got us lost too but at least she got us to the bus stop just us our friend Jean Claude came out of the bus terminal.  Eventually we made our way to the hotel for our current dinner.  It was nice even if the drinks came after the meal.

Then on Sunday we were off to church and Maggie wore her new dress (and i was thinking it was safer if we would still be lost – she looked so beautiful).  It was cold and rain threatened so she had to keep most of it covered.



Zero below or above

imageThis week I have seen the weather drop to 20 or 30 below zero.  When I checked the weather in Kigali for next Friday, Jan 12th (the day Maggie-Kas and I arrive) it should be 23 ABOVE zero.  Do I need a reason to return to one of my favourite places (the other favourite place, of course, is Paris).  Sure there might be rain – but above zero, in the 20’s I can take the rain because I know we are going into their dry season.

Hopefully I will get a chance to catch up with friends I missed before I leave and do last minute coffees while wishing everyone a very blessed 2018.

England – one week in London

Friday – spent exploring the area around Queensway and Bayswater while Gerry and India went to work.  Confirmed my lasting relationship with Costa Coffee – my Costa card still works but my money was too old and I had to exchange it at the bank.  Developed a new relationship with Waitrose – they give you a card and when you buy something you get a free coffee (and it is a good free coffee).  Waitrose was just around the corner so we became good friends.  In the evening we went to a very nice Persian restaurant with cool Moroccan lights – it was dark so pictures didn’t do the place justice.  The food was really good.  On Saturday we went to Portabella road – the food was so good but there was no place to sit down so we ended up coming home and eating the left overs from the restaurant. Gerry had lent me a coat, gloves, hat, scarf, sweater so I was nice and warm.


On Sunday we walked beside Hyde park on the street with all the Embassies.  It was really a rich street, then we went shopping and as it started to rain caught the bus home.

On Monday I did a London Walk called Piccadilly Village.  It was very interesting. I learned what a Picadil was (sorry folks you have to go to the National Portrait Museum to see the frills around the costumes), then we walked down to Haymarket Theatre and I learned the origins of the saying Break a Leg (not going to do a spoiler alert – do the walk).  I also saw the shop where the queen buys her perfume and her chocolates.


On Tuesday I went off to hear a lecture at Jesuit Centre but it had been cancelled but I did find the Claridge hotel and stepped in for a peak. The cost of tea was 62 pounds and I wasn’t that hungry. Later I found a nice little tea shop and had scones and rooibos tea (which I wish I had bought and brought home it was so good – instead I paid 9 pounds at the airport for Harrods Earl Grey tea – mainly so I could fill my Harrods jar).  In the morning I went shopping at Primark but while I was getting my bearings (that means looking for my morning coffee) I came across this little passage which was called Christopher’s Place.  It was a really sweet little passage filled with nice restaurants and had an interesting history.  It was also the site of the last public hanging which took place in 1783.DSC03439 On Wednesday I spent the morning packing. In the afternoon I went again to Oxford street, just enjoying my last bus rides and looking for signs of spring. My friends Gerry and Gordeen went for supper at Cotes and then we went to see Girl From the North Country – which was excellent. Such good dancing and singing.

Thursday – the arrival at Toronto airport was so boring. As I got in the taxi it was all motorway, trees that had no leaves or colour, grass was brownish/yellow colour that reminds a person of jaundice.  No in your face poverty, no five year old children carrying their 2 year old brother, no goats or cows on the road, no bikes with drivers carry sacks of yam 5 times their weight up a hill. No beautiful architect, no flowers trying to bloom, no shops full of patisseries or embassy houses, no markets.

Just boring. I have begun planning my next adventure but savings are low so spring better come soon


Kigali – on my own (sometimes)

Leaving Maggie at the airport was so hard for me.  I am so glad we got to do this trip and so hoping she is too.  I got an email from her saying it was only -21 and she was walking up a hill that was covered in 2 ft of snow.  I was so thankful that I was here, in Kigali, sitting on my balcony enjoying tea.  I stayed at the Solace for two more nights.

I started to think about how I was going to get on with being the Rwanda Regional Rep for the Labyrinth Society.  I tried one day to find an art gallery but it seemed I had the entire city helping me.  Giving streets numbers is new for Kigali, most people just know where places are – the maps are meaningless to them.  So when I showed the map to people it would be funny, they would point in a direction and go off with my map.  I would run after them only to realize they were asking another group of people.  After repeating this process about six times a little boy promised to lead me to the art gallery (I remembered the last time I followed a little boy and ended up in a labyrinth of streets with cows and whatever else and ending up with him demanding money).  This little boy led me to an art gallery, Niyo.  It was very interesting.  The two art galleries I visited both take care of street children.  They teach them drumming and dancing.  The Friday that Maggie left I sat down with the manager at the Inema Art Gallery.  He was very open to the labyrinth so that perked me up.

I was walking up to the library from the Solace and each time I walked up I met the same guy trying to sell me maps and postcards.  He would walk beside me and I ended up hiring him to help me find the Ishyo, Ivoka and Tongo Art Centre.  I told him I would pay him 8000 Rwf to guide me.  He asked that lunch also be included so I said I would give him 2000 rwf for lunch but if he got me lost he would lose his lunch money.  He agreed.  Walking up these hills makes you tired and smarter.  So I met him earlier than the allotted time at the library and off we set for Tongo Art Centre.  He took me to a different area that was different.  I liked it, it felt like Paris in a sense.  On one side of the street was a slum and on the other was very rich houses.  We found Tongo Arts but no one seemed to be home.  We kept knocking and eventually a girl appeared and told us that Tongo Arts had moved.  I don’t know how it happened but she said something about being an artist so I decided to continue with my talk.  She was very interested. She told me she belonged to a group called GAMA – Great Art Makes All and she thought they could use the labyrinth to teach the children about Umuganda for Kids.  On the last Saturday of the month every adult works to clean the city (even the President).  I gave her the material and she said she would get back to me.  She was very positive but as this story continues I learn more about this amazing organization and have high hopes for them.

We continued on our way and found our way to Ivoka Arts (I have pictures but not sure if I can get them off my camera).  This place was amazing, the steps were painted, the art was so wonderful, and the manager and founder was amazing and so open to learning about the labyrinth.  He invited me to an art show – I shall have more to say on that topic.

In the afternoon i stopped at Solace to see about making arrangements for a trip to Uganda – we made arrangements but I have a feeling I will move Uganda to the next trip.  Confirmed – the trip to Uganda just seemed expensive, and I had the fear I would be stuck with someone for 9 hour drive.  I had supper with Hilary that night – it was her birthday.

Thursday I visited the Nyamirambo Woman’s Centre – I made my way downtown by bus. This group of woman have a sewing group to raise money, the walk lasted 2 hours.  We visited a milk bar, sewing shop, mechanical street where people come to get their cars fixed.  The area is Muslim.  Our guide told us that Muslims were able to hide people from the genocide because they were considered foreigners.  After the genocide it was easier for them to integrate into society

On Friday I went to the National Art Gallery.  I had no idea it was so far away but it was well worth the trip.  Eugene my driver also enjoyed his visit there and even the monkeys like to visit.

On Saturday I met with the GAMA group and introduced them to the Labyrinth.  Such an amazing group of young people.  They provide art classes to children and are working hard to get art as part of the school curriculum.  They were very excited about the labyrinth and using it to teach children about Umuganda – the last Saturday in the month where everyone participates in community clean up.  The invited me to be part of the panel in an upcoming art exhibition on Feb 14th.  I did participate and we talked about art:  growth, marketing and education.  Then in the afternoon i met with Jackie, a lady who lives in Toronto but travels throughout east Africa.  Very nice visit and she took me to her lovely home (that is owned by a Canadian but she is allowed to stay there)

When i got back to my airb&b (did i inset picture of the patio where I spend my mornings, evenings and sometimes have an afternoon nap. The sun takes it all.


Sunday – I joined Jackie in her church but the heat and length of service got the better of me and i made my way to the MTN shopping mall.  I found a bourbourn coffee shop and slowly brought myself back to life with water and plaster.  I walked home but had such a headache when I got there that I collapsed on the patio.  When I came about I talked to my sister and friend and then found myself in the middle of a party.

On Monday I went up to Kigali Heights – searching for something that I no longer remember.  Security around the conference center was tight.  I ended up sitting by the  pool with my watermelon juice.  Later I went to Solace guest house to meet with Hilary and Francis.  They arrived with a group and we had lunch.  After I moved airb&b.  I liked my first airb&b because it was large, had a patio and the first night people sat around a table and talked.  When I moved to the next airb&b it was excactly the opposite, very small and compact and I liked it so much better. The location was right beside the library, across from an Anglican Church and right beside my row of photo copy people and the bus.  Also the woman that runs it is so very nice and accommodating but she does work long hous.  She comes from Kenya, has fantastic books and the home is just so compact I feel safe to come home at night.   When I came back from Kigeme I spent time with her.  I was close to the art galleries and to the GAMA project.

Tuesday:  I went to the library for breakfast and on my way out I stopped at reception to see if I could find Francoise.  I didn’t think she had answered my last email but she had. (I am technologically challenged – or in a great fight with icloud but all my emails are not getting to me).  I met with Francois and Pacifique and they have some proposals for Embrace Rwanda that I will pass along and hope we can partner with the library.   In the evening I met with this wonderful guy that I met on my women’s center walk.  He was very interested in the work of Embrace Rwanda and was studying to be a doctor.  He was a very nice person, we managed to meet and go to a local coffee shop for African tea.  It was close to my apt, flat, airb&b whatever you want to call it.  Anyhow when I got home the workmen were still fixing the step outside my house and I had to enter by another gate.  Such drama – I had to stay awake for Coco because I wasn’t sure she could enter the home because the steps might be wet.  She came home very late, she worked from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.  She was so tired.

Wednesday – Coco (lady with the airb&b) takes off for Kenya so I have moved back to the STEP hotel.  In the morning I made photo copies of all the materials I wanted as back up for the Art Exhibition, in the afternoon Coco came home and took off for India after helping me into the taxi.  Taxi driver got very lost, confused Step hotel with Stipp hotel and eventually it got sorted out.  I have a really cool room here at the step hotel.  I have a patio t all to myself.  Really enjoying it. I look at the 2 giraffes and it is fun (except when the keyboard stopped working, and the password kept saying wrong when it was right – technology can be so stressful).


In the evening I was one of the panelist at the East Africa Arts Bienalle and it was fun as well as being stressful.  I had no idea of what to expect but I have to admit the GAMA group that I met with is just so wonderful, the moderator for the panel asked good questions about art:  marketing, growth and education.  It was really a neat evening.  I feel so blessed to be involved with this group and am so looking forward to working with them.


Thursday:  today, technology was sorted out by the amazing manager at the Step Hotel John.  My keyboard is now working and I hope to post this tomorrow.   Today I went for coffee (actually by the time I climb the hill to the city I need coffee and reinforcements)  I went off to the Miles Collins hotel to see the rest of the paintings.   It was really interesting, the paintings were so wonderful, and so much fun.  I feel bad because they do need people to buy them but 1. The vat was 30% that was large, 2. Have no room in my apt. To hang them anyhow.  Thinking about creating an African art gallery in my apt where every 4 months I change the paintings (but that requires me to speed up my de-cluttering efforts – and that might not happen for another four years).  After that I started walking to the market but went past the Grande Hotel and was hungry so stopped for the smosas (with mint Garvey – best in the world).  Then started again for market but stopped and bought the Imengo art that I so like.  Then my bag was heavy so I had to go home, the sun was hot so I needed a nap. On the way home a little girl came up to me and said something like “near…..  “ I have had so many children say the same thing to me but I didn’t know what she was saying.  A young guy came by and he told me she was asking if she could carry my bag.  She was so sweet and I was so happy that was what she wanted.  I managed to find a candy for her.  I got home, tired and had a nap, then it rained for hours.  Thomas came to see if he could help with my ipad, he tried but couldn’t and asked John to come and it was John who figured out we had to turn on Bluetooth ( who knew).  Anyhow it works and I can post tomorrow.

Friday I intended to go to the Natural History Museum, the market, fabric stores, nakumat (for body lotion) and a bookstore.  The mosquitos are taking over the night so will have to close.  The Natural History Museum is now the Environment Museum and is located in the west, the Museum I saw was the Kandt Museum (which I had seen in 2013).  Takes a long time to update brochures.  I spent time looking at the items on display.  It was very interesting to see how the Germans treated the Rwandans when they took over.  They basically worked through the chiefs, a very different picture than what I had seen in Namibia in 2013 appeared.  As there was a section before the Germans I was a little taken back to find only 1 item featured the African Traditional Religion but the guide explained that they had no cameras etc. in that time.

The following  weekend I spent  visiting Francis and learned just a little more about Tradional African Religion.  The best part of staying with Francis were the trips to the Splendid Hotel for hot chocolate with his two boys: Pappy and Bebe.  They loved the chocolate and exploring the hotel.  We had other adventures to the Catholic Hotel that had a swimming pool and unreal grounds and landscaping.  The power went out one night and we played all kinds of games.  The next day we went to church. I made friends with a little wee one who ran away from me and her parents and we went off to search for her. On our way to church we drove up that big steep hill in (what Hilary calls) the sick car.  Thank goodness because it is really too hard to climb and I was so thankful when we came out and got a ride home.


Monday I was off to Kigeme to observe how Jean Claude and Felicien work.  When I got there I found out I was the one who would be working and they would be taking me around to the different associations.  It was so different for me.  I rode the moto and taxi everywhere.  When I say taxi I mean the kind that fills up with people before it takes off.  The kind where the taxi takes off regardless of whether the door is closed or not.  If you think the taxi is scary try riding the moto up the hills.  The driver always seems to want to ride close to the cliff that drops into the valley.  Why do they do that?  All these drivers have been very good to this old crone who is hanging on for her life and praying Hail Marys.

The focus of my visits has been to take a stab at evaluating the sustainability of the associations.  I also visited some associations that had chickens for much longer  than in Shyogwe so that gave me a more complete picture.  I am still wondering about the difference between manure from chickens and goats.  They told me they liked the goat manure because you could use it on the garden and the fields but somehow they seemed to like the chicken manure – how I miss my Maggie.  She would know why the chicken manure is better than the goat manure.  I asked questions to the Associaitons and the nursery teachers. I got to play with the children and that is truly the highlight of a visit to Rwanda.  The children make you melt but sometimes they are so frightened of white people, especially when they are around one year of age.   Kigeme has associations that have been around for over five years which is supposed to be the time when they are on their own.  I think they meant African time because they are still very active and I can’t tell the difference between one that is 3 years and 5 years.

Some of my trips have been very exciting and very beautiful.  One day the taxi was too expensive and the moto never arrived so we walked.  It was so beautiful – I loved it.  DSC03368.JPG On my last visit to Muse I wore my Embrace Rwanda shirt with my new wrap around skirt, I even practiced carrying stuff on my head (for a very short time).  Everyone laughed at me.

One day I met another white person in the hotel.  She was from the states and was working with bee cooperatives.  We spent the afternoon seeking out cappocino and discussing the hot dog buns we get for breakfast, then we went off to the market to buy fabric and I was able to find the sewing lady and we were able to tell her that Julie wanted a wrap around skirt for the next day.  We also spent a lot of money at the gift shop – the nice one on the hill.  I think the staff truly wonder about me and my eating habits.  When you are with a group you can hide but when you are the only one you either speak up or you suffer.  So for the first time  I asked for hot water in my room for my tea and only little breakfast – I just can’t eat bread, then omelette than crepe.  I just ask for little crepe, lots of fruit and real milk with my coffee.  Tomorrow maybe I will have a mango (that’s what I asked for tonight) with a crepe (I tried yesterday to ask for a crepe but got a chipati instead).  But I got to eat in the sun for 5 minutes (then the sun went away and it was chilly) and I had real milk in my coffee (instead of powder).

The close of my trip was the Monday when Eugene took me back to Kigali and my little, cozy airbb beside the Kigali Library.  On the Tuesday I met with the GAMA group and we made our first labyrinth.  I bought all kinds of supplies that I thought we could use like skipping ropes, rice but in the end we borrowed chalk from the staff.  They were so wonderful, so open to the labyrinth and they had such a good purpose for it.  They want to use if for Umuganda for Kids.  I hope I can find the pictures I took.  When we finished we asked the staff if they wanted us to wash the labyrinth off but they said no “once your gone we want to walk it and see what all the fun is about”, the lady from the gift shop came up to me and said she hadn’t laughed in so many years.  So a good time was had by all.

On Wednesday I met with Alice and Francis at the Kigali Public Library.  We came up with ideas and met with the outreach officer who provided more suggestions.   Hopefully our ideas will one day be reality.  I feel really blessed to work with Alice and hope so much that we can bring resources to the nursery schools.

On Thursday I flew to London.  I had braced myself for the snowstorm coming in from Russia but thankfully it stopped as I was landing, everyone stayed home.  I landed at about 5:05 pm but by 6:00 pm I was on the Gatwick Express to Victoria with what I thought was a working phone.  So proud that I got the Rwanda sim card changed and had the English sim card inserted.  How foolish I can be.

Kigali & a Safari: with Maggie

Feb 4th, 2018

Maggie and I arrived in Kigal Sunday, Jan 28th.  Our driver Eugene was early.  The drive back to Kigali was pleasant and we got to the Step Hotel, met Roberto who kindly took us to our very pleasant room.  We went off to the downtown area for coffee and a quick look around.  As it was late afternoon,  and we were tired  we went back to the Step and booked supper.  While waiting for supper we had a fit of the giggles and FaceTimed with anyone who answered our call – my sister Jane in Mexico and Maggie’s cousin – Luanne (who was working).



In the morning we were off to the Genocide Memorial.  It was a neat little walk which i was really looking forward to.  There was a Norwegian couple at the hotel and they had the nifftiest 5th wheel we had ever saw.  It looked like it was made for scientific research.  They offered us a ride (in the taxi) but we wanted to walk so met them at the museum.  After we were finished Maggie made me have a smoothie on the run.  It ws the best smoothie ever.  We caught a cab to the city centre and checked out the art scene at the hotel, the gift shops in the centre.  I am sure we had coffee someplace but i can’t remember where.  I remembered in 2016 there was a great craft and restaurant on the way back to the hotel but i couldn’t find it.  Eventually we found it but it was dramatically changed – the restaurant was large but the gift shop was tiny.  The street had so much construction – everything was changing.  I was so upset because i had told Maggie to wait for this shop and it had shrivelled up.


The next day Maggie wanted to go to Mother Theresa’s so off we went.  We arrived when the doors opened and a sister (dressed in white, with the blue trim) came to meet us.  She was so kind and so sweet.  She told us about the programs but they had changed since i was last there.  We didn’t know what we wanted to do but they sent us down the stairs to play with the kids (we thought).  We ended up with a special needs class, and five very old seniors (who were the sweetest women i have ever met.  We played, sang songs, sat in the sun and occupied ourselves for over an hours.  We were exhausted by the end of our stay and made our excuses.  So glad we did this, it really was a privilege to be there with the nuns.

We then went to the opposite end of the social scale.  We went to a very upscale restaurant – 14th floor overlooking the city.  We had the greatest samosas (in mint sauce) and a smoked salmon sandwiched followed by ice cream.  Terrific views (get pictures from Maggie).  Then we went to this craft place that John at the hotel said would be good, lots of stores.  I was expecting about 5-6 stores.  When we arrived there  were 25 stores (all painted green),  it was a co-op.  When i thought we were finished we realized there were 47 ( a little alley of stores appeared from nowhere and everyone was patiently waiting for Maggie and me to visit them.)  The pressure was tremendous.  I felt so bad.  It was a place you needed to give a whole week to and if you were smart bring a bus load of People.  We made some hard decisions and ran for the cab.

The next day was the safari and hopefully you will enjoy the pictures.

We had lunch with the giraffes, watched a snake cross the road, drove so close to a hippo it made my heart jump (I have been beside a lion but he already had lunch – when Maggie spotted the hippo on the road the driver actually opened the door and took pictures.  I was sure the hippo would charge.  We made it back in record time.  Must admit this driver, Eric really did drive fast – and as Maggie said he didn’t take any of the loops.  When we got out of the park it was so funny – Maggie saw the cows she had wanted to see from the very beginning – I think it made her trip.

Byumba and Karongi

Date:   January 31st, 2018
What an adventure. We took off to Byumba by bus with Peter and the luggage. We had high expectations as we had seen pictures with a beautiful lake and beach. The drive was beautiful, through a valley. It was really picturesque

FC384568-033F-4B2F-BBBF-94E6F0D9904DWe were pulled over by the police and our vehicle inspected – it barely passed. We made it to our destination in time for lunch.
We went to Byumba to visit an Embrace Rwanda sister group from Colorado. They only started last Sept. but already they have 9 associations consisting of 180 women. It was very impressive.
The first day we went to visit the hospital and as soon as we arrived the skies opened so we took cover close to the maternity ward. The doctor gave us a tour – we saw the women with normal birth, women practising the kangaroo method and a very sad premature baby not in the incubator. The rain slowed and we made a run for it, and later went to the hotel for African tea and cakes.
Our rooms were very basic, cement floors covered in a mat, cold water and lumpy beds but only 15,000 rf per night (less than $20.00 cdn per night. The connection to the people was great but the accommodations were testing our patience and apparantely the Colorado  group.
The next day we went to visit 3 groups of women. We had a long but beautiful ride  to the women but again the heavens opened and the ride back was long and scary as the road was being washed away. We met a man who was so kind he stopped his journey and spent a good ½ hour helping us navigate the road. We were all so thankful to get home. Later that night the Colorado team, our team and coordinators joined the bishop at the hotel for supper.

The next day we attended a celebration of the nine associations. We didn’t get rained out that day but did celebrate until 3:00 so Maggie and I had a late start to our drive to Karongi. The bishop donated approximately 8 hectors of land to Embrace Rwanda and we had to officially see it done proper. It was a very generous act and we were grateful.
Drive to Karongi
We started late, we arrived late – well into the dark of the night. The last 2 hours were very isolated, no cities, no people just a very dark road. So glad our driver found a cheap guest house and didn’t go back that night. We stayed a Home St. Jean and in the morning welcomed the hot water and beautiful view. (wonder if i can add a link to home or just google away folks cause i am technically challenged tonight.

We met our lovely guide the night we arrived but we were so tired we could not really take in all he was telling us. The next day he came to take us on our trip to the Congo Nile trail but it was (umbugsss check spelling).the last saturday of the month everyone stops working and cleans the city so the buses were not running. We went to the boat (they were still working) and got a ride to Napoleon Island – home of the mountain bats, two cows and a goat. Maggie loved the bats and the view from the top. I didn’t quite make it all the way to the top and sat and contemplated that my eulogy would probably be soaked in stories of auntie Susan and her African guides helping me over waterfalls, down mountains etc.


Eventually we made it back (so happy we didn’t come down when the rain started) and we stopped to look at the golden monkey. We went to the hotel and the guide treated us to Sambosa  little fried fish – local food

Then we were off to the Congo Nile trail – we agreed that instead of walking 2 kilometres we would get on a moto bike and travel 12 kilometres. We really did agree to that and the bus ride was to cost 9000 rf and then we got into this negotiation conversation and after a taxi ride for 18000 rf we ended up at the last guest house on the trail drinking the worst coffee for 5000 rf. And then the heavens opened up and we made a dash for the taxi. We got home and gave over 34000 rf and were just so thankful to get home. We did experience the Congo Nile trail but we got the car version and shown the trail version. An interesting feature along the trail was children carrying tools that were used in Biblical times – i tried to get a picture but the mother took the hoe away from the child. The day was entertaining in spite of the setbacks and i am so glad we did the two tours.

The next day we sat on the patio, ate breakfast and just enjoyed the views. Our ride came for us early and we made it to Kigali and our next adventure.

Notes:  dinner is here so i am publishing this without finding correct word for day everyone stops working and cleans the city and i need to find the picture of Maggie where the bats fly around.

England – I love it!

Hi everyone

I have been really enjoying myself in
England. I have been visiting with Gerry, Linda and Annette. I did “London Walks” trip to the British Museum, and High Street Kensington. I went to a Chinese floating restaurant in Canary Wharf, a country pub for a very nice meal, and a walk around Dulwich Village. Linda and I went to Brixton (an area that we lived in many, many years ago). Wow has it changed, so upbeat now. It has a box park (hope that’s right) all these old box cars made into little shops / restaurants and gardens planted all around. REally different and so many cool places to eat. The market and area have really changed and it is now an trendy area.

This week I have been visiting the Lake District with Linda and Ratna. (Linda refuses to let me put pictures of her up but maybe I have one of Ratna). It is really beautiful up here, I am really impressed. Our first stop was at Stroke on Trent – which is the World Capital of Ceramics. We visited two factories: Aynsley and Churchill. I managed to keep to the budget – Linda and Ratna didn’t. They both loaded up on these lovely China dishes with roasters, so cheerful. After that we headed to our hotel in Preston via the Peak National Park. The next morning was beautiful, sunny and warm (we were prepared for rain and cold). We went off to a discount fabric shop. I struggled to stay within the budget but eventually just had to leave the shop. Ratna didn’t get out clean but Linda had a hard time finding something and she was the one who wanted us to go there. Anyhow off we went and the day was wonderful, the lake, the mountains, the trees, sheep, little villages all of it was so very English. We went up one side of Windemere Lake and future North – traveling on tiny little, winding roads. Today we went back again and did the other side of the park. But we didn’t go as far north this time. The weather was overcast, cold and we had some rain. We started the day visiting the Stott Park Bobbin Mill. When they drove in I thought they had lost their minds wanting to stop at a mill, I was convinced they had when I found the cost was seven pounds but when we joined the tour it was one of the most memorable museums I have ever visited. I wasn’t sure what a Bobbin was – only because it just seemed such a non important tool that I couldn’t imagine it required such a complicated process to manufacture. The last bobbin factory closed in 1971. It employed 6 people at the time. An apprentice would work on one job for four years (12 hours per day) before he moved onto the next task. There had to be at least 12/14 ste[s in the process. Slavery, cotton, the wars, plastic all had such an impact on the life of a bobbin. I was humbled at the end.

Tomorrow we are off home via Yorkshire and on Wednesday I am off to the Isle of Wight. I will try to update before I leave but I must admit I am really tired by the time I get home.



So I made it to the Isle of Wight.  On Wednesday I walked from Sandown to Shanklin by the water.  Today Thursday I went out intending to walk but decided to go to Shanklin and find a tour bus.  The conductor sent me to ride this steam engine, and it rained something awful so I never got off at any of the stops and went back to the hotel to get my coat.  Of course, the rest of the day was sunny and warm and the last thing I needed was my coat.  I road the bus into Newport and caught another bus to Needles.  I have to admit there was so much information that most of the time I said I will just catch the next thing coming, now at the end of my stay I totally understand the transport on the island and it is quite simple.  I only wish they would learn to summarize their brochures at the beginning instead of making me read the entire thing.




PS: Jane I found a MBT shop over here and bought more shoes.  Really happy with them.