Such fun O had today. There was a Halloween trick-or-treating outing organized by the CLO. It was in a neighborhood where lots of embassy folks live and we went from house to house. Rwandans who work at the embassy and have kids were invited to attend and it was fun watching them makes masks and learn to say "trick or treat". Orion wasn't very good with the "trick" part but he sure new how to say "treat". Best picture of the day!
Gotta practice with the hat.
He freakin loved wearing it.
See the caution in his eyes - he wasn't sure he wanted to go through the spider webs.
Tootsie Roll stuck in his teeth :)
Getting dressed - not sure who is the best clown.
I suck at real make-up application and let me tell you clown make-up was worse. This was as good as it got and then the moment he touched his face it came off. We ended up wiping it off before we even left the house. After it was on his costume, my pants, the couch...you get the picture.
It wouldn't be Halloween without two things: popcorn balls and an old joke. So the joke goes like this: Question - how come the witch couldn't get pregnant? Answer -cause the Warlock had a hollow-weenie! Thanks MB for scarring me for life with such a cheesy joke. Popcorn balls on the other hand are much better then horrible jokes and the recipe I use is a trusted and true old family secret. They are not really crunchy but kinda chewy. I love them! I was a bit worried about how they would turn out without using my candy thermometer and hot air popcorn popper but fear not my friends...they were a hit!
I thought about trying to take pictures while I was making them like other folks do on their cool looking cooking blogs but I am not that talented and every picture I took turned out horrible. So what you get is the good stuff - making the popcorn balls and eating them!
On Friday afternon I only work half day and then I am done. This last week we had a "newcomers welcome" chili contest at the Ambassador's house so both Eric and I went to pick up O together. On the way out of work I realized I had my camera and thought I would take a few pictures to show you what my Friday afternoon looked like. The side play area of O's school. The classrooms, kitchen, bathrooms are all down the hill in the house to the left
I HEART English! This school prides itself on teaching the children English - which has recently become the official language of Rwanda. I had grand ideals that O would go to this little French school but let me tell you its rough being the parent and not understanding anything - from how much do we have to pay per term to what do you want us to put in his backpack each day. Though Little Bears says they focus on English, I call tell you from experience he is still learning a little French and a little Kinyarwandan.
Street scene on the way to O's school. Typical - except the road has fewer people then most.
Round-a-bouts are big here. They are always planted with interesting shrubbery in differing designs. This one is right out in front of the embassy. The art piece in the middle is painted in the colors of the Rwandan flag.
Matt after a bike ride and a frat house experience
Orion in his "seat of adventure"
Check out that farmland
More impressive farming
Wet and lush landscape
Can you tell I was impressed with this farming style - I probably took 50 pictures of similar views
One of the mountains wearing a hat
I am sitting in the “business office” of a hotel that cost about $100 a night. It is really a wide open tiled floor room with no walls and a super sticky keyboard. Why you might ask am I at a hotel on a Saturday night in Rwanda; that my friend is a story for another night. It is pouring down rain with thunder and impressive lightning. We finally made it outside of Kigali and are in a town called Musanze that is northwest of Kigali about 2 hours on a two-lane windy road straight up a mountain. Three words for you...it is beautiful.
When you think of Africa and the images you have seen in your life...those images do not really capture Rwanda (or at least the parts of Rwanda I have been in). Our ride out of town was puncuated with amazing feats of farming. Really crazy to look almost straight up and see people tilling the land. There is very little use of terracing for planting, just land cleared and crops planted at whatever angle the land happened to be at.
Musanze is the closest town to the Volcanoes National Park - home of the mountain gorillas made famous by Dian Fossey and the movie Gorilla's in the Mist. The park is also part of the Virunga Mountain chain that forms the border between Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. It is close to 6,000 feet in elevation and pretty chilly at night.
We went on this one night jaunt with our friend Matt and 9 other people that we kinda knew. Up in Musanze the Rwandan National Cycling team lives and practices. Matt is an avid biker and knew the coach of this team from years back. It is quite the set-up and really an amazing project. If you are a coffee lover you should definitely check out the coffee they sell as a funraiser to support their projects.
While most of the folks went on a killer bike ride - 4 of us took a crazy car ride that made our car shudder and Eric's hair turn gray. It provided some amazing views and I can not wait to go back to Musanze for a longer visit. Gorilla Trekking anyone?
At my job I work from 0830-1730 everyday and then on Fridays I am off at 1300. Well technically I am never really off but let's leave that for another post. So you can imagine how much I love Fridays. I have always been a Friday girl. There is something so sweet about the anticipation that a weekend holds and to get off at 1300 makes it all the better. Normally it is almost dark by the time I come home - barely enough time to take a quick walk out front with O. Well on Friday while Eric is working, I get to pick O up from school and we get to hang out more together. These are pictures I took while lounging on the grass in the backyard - if you know where we have lived for the past 5 years you will understand why I was lounging on the grass. The grass really is greener.
Even though we are technically in one of the "dry" seasons here, most afternoons it rains. Usually not a downpour - more like a little sprinkling of drops. Well, yesterday when Eric and O were picking me up it started to rain and the skies seemed more ominious then usual. We passed a coworker on the path and she said that the insects flying through the air were termites and that they mean it is really going to rain. I actually had not even noticed them flying in the air - there were a couple here and there but as we began the ride home they suddenly seemed to multiply. When we got home the deluge began and holy crap there were flying termites everywhere. Who even knows that termites fly...? All of our windows in the house are screened but you can imagine that some of the screens are a little crooked - I have never given it much thought until flying termites started flying in through the 1/4 inch gap in the screen. YIKES! Eric killed one on my head with a towel and it still feels like something is crawling on me. Once all the windows were closed they would just crash into the window trying to make there way to the light. This morning look what I found on all the outside window sills! They are the flying termite wings...I don't know how they loose their wings without dying. Maybe if you crash into a window 500 times they fall off? There were no dead termite bodies. Where did the termites go? We live in a concrete and stone house so hopefully they attacked someone elses house.
I have never really had an office before and now I do. It is on the ground floor of the embassy, right down the hall from the cashier and the community liason office and not too far from the cafeteria. I love having a little office to call my own. I can't wait until our stuff gets here so that I can hang up some things to make it seem more like my space. I have all of these flowers outside my window - I am pretty sure they are bird of paradise flowers. Whatever they are they are super cool looking.