Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Amazing Students

The students that I work with are so great! An email went out announcing my arrival, and my inbox was flooded with such kind emails from students. For example this one:

Subject: Welcome to ORI Family!
My name is Nicholas Juste Rutikanga an ORI student, and I wanted to welcome you
to ORI family! It's pleasure to have you around and please feel at home!

Or this one..

I am very glad to hear from you and I welcome you in our family. Thank
you for coming to help us achieving our goals.

It's like walking into work everyday and having all of your co-workers thank you for showing up - it's the best! Emails like that really make me realize why I'm here.

Working with the students has been amazing. I've been helping them prepare for interviews, update CVs, write cover letters, etc. The Business Club students (who I advise) have taken such initiative and are already preparing their own business plans. The Student Government (who I also advise) have put together a plan to bring food and supplies to a local orphanage. They're just very focused and dedicated, so it makes them fun and easy to work with!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

By The Way...

Holy hills. I am so sore from walking around, which I'm forced to do to get anywhere. I am coming back in amazing shape. And this isn't one of those times when I say I'm going to work out, three months later actually work out for one day, and then talk about it for the next three months. This is real. So watch out DC...

Disclosure: Please stop reading if me being here keeps you up at night (read: MOM, all of my aunts, and definitely you Meg)

A note on the motos (motorcycle taxis):

They drive so close to me. And not close like I could reach out and high five them, close like I could give the driver and passenger a straight guy chest bump. It's not that I don't stick out, because believe it when I say I'm easily spotted here, it's just how they drive. I haven't ridden one yet, though they are the best way to get around (and very safe, I'm sure you're all convinced). I mostly haven't ridden one because apparently it's strange to hang on to the driver - you're supposed to hold onto the back. BUT there is no way I'm getting on one without back hugging my driver, so I should probably make some Rwandan friends fast, so they can explain why the muzungu has completely wrapped herself around the driver and cries for most of the ride. More to come on that..

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More about my job

I found out what I'll actually be doing, and I'm excited, but nervous about the responsibility placed on me. Not that I don't think I'm a very qualified person, but I've been chosen to run the Business Club and the Student Government. I'm pumped about the latter, government - awesome! But Business Club? The students meet to discuss entrepreneurial opportunities in Rwanda, how to start and run a business, networking (I'm actually an expert in this thanks RPG), and so on. Furthermore, my presence now forces the students to hold these meetings in English, instead of Kinyarwanda (the local language). So everyone will be struggling.

I work with students on CVs, cover letters, interview skills, finding jobs (which are scarce) and any other career development task you can think of. What's great is I can basically do what I want - my ideas implemented, absolutely no red tape and I get to work one-on-one with the students. The downside is the communication gap, learning 180 names, and not exactly being a career development expert...seeing as I've had a career for only a year and a half. Students walk in and out all day - but since they just started school, they haven't needed much help. I'm sure it'll pick up soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I made it!

I'm sure you'll all be happy to know that I survived my two flights and made it to Kigali. I ended up having to watch Michael Jackson's "This Is It" on both fights, so needless to say I've had Thriller stuck in my head since I arrived. There is only one other ORI volunteer here so far, and he is not living in the group housing (he found housing on his own in December and decided to stay). Therefore, to not live alone in Kigali, I am forking over rent to live there for the next 2 weeks until the 3rd ORI volunteer gets here February 1st. Housing here is nice - big rooms, clean, etc. I don't have Internet in the house, so all of my updates will be at work. Today is my "first day" and so far all I've done is checked email and updated this blog. I'll start a more structured routine on Monday. Everyone is really nice in the office, which has been great. This weekend I'm setting out to explore and make some more friends.

It's already raining...so the dry season isn't that dry I guess--apparently climate change has really screwed up Rwandan's season, sooo good thing Copenhagen really accomplished so much. I'm also still incredibly jetlagged, so I had a nice 4am wake up call this morning, and now I'm exhausted again. Hopefully I get used to this time soon. I'll try to post after the weekend!