A New Life in Rwanda – 26.04.2007

Today, Sunday is our first opportunity to access the internet. The past week has been spent settling into our new jobs. We are now both gainfully employed as teachers at Green Hills school until November. It is a school founded by the President’s wife and attended by their children, and those of the diplomatic community.
The school day starts promtly at 7am and we finish around 5pm. Luckily we get fed, usually full of sugar and carbs and that gets us through the day.  With a new job comes a new home! It is a flat on the 4th floor which has prevented the installation of running water. We pay 20p for 20 liters of water to be brought to us in a jerry can each day. To say it is minimalist is a complete understatement but it is safe and clean. There are other rooms in our block so from now all visitors are welcome to sleep on our floor or have their own apartment for a mere 50 pounds a month!
Onto the most important matter of rugby coaching. We have touched base with about 200 kids, a high percentage of which are street children and they are starting to look like rugby players. Slowly by slowly (Buhoro, buhoro). Yesterday was perhaps one of the more rewarding sessions, we returned to Shyogwe, who are now in their second generation of rugby players. Emma initially taught the seniors there in 2003 and they have gone on to teach the current crop. They have no ‘official’ coach but do the best they can with their limited knowledge and equipment. Our transport involved two changes of bus and a motorcycle ride in torrential rain in inappropriate attire. But upon our arrival the children insisted we head down the valley to get on with the training session. The standard was admirable considering the wet conditions and no-body having a pair of boots. It was slip and slide rugby at it’s finest!
We encountered an amazing girl, Ernestine, who explained to us (despite communication issues) the she had started a female team in her very rural district. During training she proceeded to demonstrate her will and courage by competing vigourously at the breakdown with 18-20 year old men. We would have had the girls separate but they insisted on joining the main group of boys.
So we head into anther week with a possible meeting with Fergal Keane of the BBC, not to mention a hectic week of teaching and coaching! All this while sitting on the floor at home and inhaling potentially poisonous fumes from our small kerosene stove!
We continue to receive offers of coaching assistance from members of the UK public which is great and the potential of this project is starting to become a reality.

The Muddy training session
Lion de Fer
Grizzlies (uni team, four of my former students!)
Line out!

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