Saturday, September 24, 2011

Muraho! Welcome to Rwanda

After many hours of travelling and a few problems, I finally made it to Rwanda. I ended up sitting in the Burlington airport for 7 hours while they attempted to fix a mechanical problem. No one told me the airlines were on African time too! This caused me to miss my connecting flight in DC with Ethiopian Airlines. I was rebooked onto Brussels Airlines and flew through Belgium instead of Addis Ababa. And of course, all of my luggage was lost in the process. BUT, despite all of this, Rafiki (the project manager at Les Enfants de Dieu or EED) was there waiting for me at the airport to welcome me to Rwanda. It was great to see his smiling face. He pulled a few strings with his friend at the airport and my bags were back the next day. I have quickly learned that everyone knows Rafiki and he can make anything happen.

My first two days in Rwanda have been very busy. I will not start work until Monday so I have a few days to move in, unpack, and prepare. Last night Claire (the other volunteer working at EDD) and I moved into our new guesthouse, which is amazing.

Yesterday and today we went to town, which is mumugi (moo-moo-gee) in Kinyarwanda. We took mini-buses to town and rode motor-taxis on the way back. Both were an interesting experience. Mini-buses are vans that are packed full of people and they will take you all around Rwanda for about 25 cents (USD). Motor-taxis (a guy on a motorcycle) are a bit more expensive, but they are faster (don’t worry mom, I wore a helmet). You also have to make sure they don’t overcharge you. Muzungus (moo-zung-goo), which means white people, are easy targets to take advantage of. I’m slowly learning what is a fair price and my haggling skills are improving. I bought a phone and attempted to get my modem to work so I could get internet, but the system was down. Hopefully I will get that fixed soon. I am borrowing Claire’s right now.

At the moment, we don’t have power so I will wait to post pictures until tomorrow.


Aunt Lina said...

Yeah Elena... you made it!! Can't wait to see pictures of where you are living. I like Rafiki. Hope you will post a picture of him and Claire so we can see who you are with.

Mom said...

Hmmm, a motor-taxi - that sounds like fun - a helmet is good. Glad you are getting comfortable with your sourroundings!

Ally B said...

AHH!!! You're there! Rafiki is the man! I can't wait to see some pictures! I'm so happy you are finally there and you are back in African time and back to haggling and being called muzungu left and right, and with happy happy people!!!! So awesome you got to ride on the motor-taxi! YAY!