Kagera 6


Absalom arrived early and stayed for tea and toast before accompanying me to the office to do some photocopying. Fareth is back from his brother’s whose son died last week. He was very concerned as his brother was very depressed. He said that things were a little better.  Slight worry that there was no more water in the tank outside, but luckily it came on  after breakfast so we should be alright!

We had a good morning teaching, including some reinforcement of last week’s work and a test. When we got back Absalom was fitting our new shower which we paid him for. We spent the afternoon marking while Tim and Esther went into town to do a little shopping. I tried to photograph some birds in the garden, but without a great deal of success.

Joctan and Philipo arrived about 5.00 p.m. to collect their work books. As they were meant to collect them at 4.00 p.m. I joked that they were finding telling the time difficult. They replied very seriously that they had had some work to do – possibly on the College’s shamba. Some other visitors had also arrived, Joan, Asante and their friend Jackie were brought to visit us by Devota who teaches at the local kindergarten – Patmos Day Care Centre. She is a qualified English teacher and has also a trained as a nurse if I understood her correctly. She would like to have an opportunity to practise her English as she is worried that she might forget what she has learnt. I suggested that if she would like to come around in the afternoons or at week-ends and we were in and had the time we would practise with her. Christine talked to the girls who already have a good grasp of English vocabulary.

They left, and we headed off to Absalom’s house. It is a very smart house with a large lounge and seats for about 14 people. We met Ethel, his wife, whom we had briefly met before, and sat and chatted. Then peanuts were put out, grown on Absalom’s shamba, and very good they were too! Then Absalom said he wanted us to try something. He went away and came back with a plastic bottle of fairly clear liquid. He poured it into glasses and we sipped our first taste of banana juice. It was delicious! It is made simply by mashing very ripe bananas and straining the liquid out through a sieve and adding water. The result is sweet and refreshing with a hint of banana but it is not overpowering. Ethel then made us tea – black with a strong flavour of fresh ginger – again delicious. We left after about an hour and on the way the way out we visited Absalom’s milk cows – two fine beasts and a calf. One of the cows is pregnant having been put to the bull some weeks ago. If it is a bull calf, Absalom will rear it for a while then kill it for beef.DSC_0339

We wandered home and then Christine and I went to view the sunset over Burundi. It was magnificent!


On our return, Tim offered to concoct a jackfruit, shallot and garlic curry. It was delicious and we all enjoyed it with some vegetable rice. While Tim was cooking it some of my students arrived to collect their marked work. When we told them Tim was cooking they fell about and thought we were making a joke. Christine told them that I cook at home and they thought that was unbelievable. It is still quite a sexist society!


It was positively cold again last night with a strong wind. Huddled under our blankets and a counterpane we managed to stay warm but only just. I wish I had taken Anji’s advice and brought long pyjamas! A fleece would not go amiss in the evenings and early mornings. We shall no longer laugh when Thomas talks about needing a strong jumper!

We got up at seven and I enjoyed the first warm shower under the new shower fitting. Everyone else refused to try it, Tim citing Thomas Merton an eminent theologian who was electrocuted under a shower. Luckily I have very little theology so I felt quite safe. Towards the end of my brief shower it turned cold and it seems to have packed up all together! £15 down the drain I suspect.

Christine was convinced that communion in the chapel was at 8.00 a.m., but the College timetable said 8.30. At about 8.10 Absalom arrived asking if we wanted to come along as the service had just started. This caught Tim by surprise as he was still in bed, but somehow we managed to get there by 8.15 and we were glad we did as the choir sang and danced beautifully. It was cold in the chapel but they lit the fire within us. There is something very wonderful about hearing such beautiful singing in the clear light of early morning. We took communion and then came outside for the final prayer, before hurrying back to breakfast and some hot coffee.

Today we tackled food, drink and going to the pub. This proved somewhat difficult as drinking is a strict no-no amongst Christians here so our glass or two of wine at the week-end was definitely frowned upon. Going to a pub was right out of order. We agreed that this was a cultural difference we would both have to accept!

This afternoon we marked and prepared after lunch and then Christine and I went for a walk onto the old airstrip and above the Murgwanza Secondary School perched on the ridge with stunning views. Once home we had a visit from Obediah and Job, Rev. Samson’s son, who is off to Dar in a fortnight’s time. They stayed for tea and a chat, Obediah hoping that we might form a school link with a secondary school at which he is a governor. Christine was very interested and Obediah will pass on the Head’s details at some point over the next two weeks. Tim and Esther have gone to Rose and John’s house for a meal – apparently we will be invited at a later date. Tomorrow Tim and Esther leave us and we will miss them. So, tonight it is dinner a deux, the first of many no doubt!

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