The daily routine

May 21 2013

After a couple of weeks back in Africa, we are settling in to a daily routine which had been forgotten. The day starts before dawn, usually because of an early bedtime the night before as there isn't a lot to do in the dark evenings. Here in Rwamagana, the Imam at the mosque down the road helps get things moving at 4am with his call to prayers over a very effective loudspeaker.

Accommodation is comfortable but modest. A good strategy for getting going in the morning is to work out whether there is electricity (to charge the phone) and running water (useful but not essential for morning ablutions). The rainy season is about finished and the dry season just begun with the last rain falling two weeks ago. Each day is becoming noticeably hotter than the previous and locals are forecasting no more rain until October. The predictable result is that mains water is rationed (to no obvious schedule) and the excitement of getting out of bed each morning is finding out whether the morning routine will be a cold shower or a splash in a bucket.

Rwandans tend to get up and get going in the morning without breakfast. A bowl of porridge isn't a practical option on the equator so once we are up and about we have taken to walking down the road to a little shop which sells hot milk and bananas. Chapatis are sometimes on the counter as well.

Having fuelled up we head out onto the road for whatever is on the day's agenda. This morning we paid a visit to a local church to ask about conditions for widows and orphans in the town. Everywhere in Rwanda has them and the Evangelical Restoration Church is no exception. Victor, the office administrator, is happy to tell us about the work the church does and the needs of the locals. The model is a familiar one: school fees are paid for children when there is money available, and help is given to widows to set up businesses.

After some more visits to two local schools, we head homeward to avoid the accumulating heat. The later part of the day is usually taken up by administration tasks in the (relative) cool of the house. Depending on whether we have seen the houseboy on our travels, we either eat in or head out for goat-on-a-stick at a local bar.

Life in this part of the world passes at an easy pace and trying to plan more than a day ahead can frequently end up in disappointment. This tour is only a few weeks long, so all we can do is take each day as it comes and get done what we can. If that includes a shower in the morning, it has been a good day.