Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moth Madness

See this huge crazy looking thing that was just chilling on the wall. Yowza! See the freaky looking spots on it that look like eyes and are intended to scare off things that might want to eat it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

School Daze

Check out my O's new school uniforms. Crazy cute aren't they? So he only goes to "school" three half days per week and they don't really require uniforms for his type of school - call it nursery, preschool, creche, whatever. But dang, he comes home from 4 hours at school so stinking dirty. His regular clothes were getting stained, ripped, torn beyond repair. So, thus the uniforms. I had a seamstress come over to the house, take measurements and now getting ready for school is a snap! Uniforms...I'm loving them! So hard to get a decent picture of a 2.5 year old - they never stop moving

Except for when they stare at the camera in a creepy way...

The torture of posing for me to take a picture

Friday, June 24, 2011

Avocado Tree

In our front yard we had an old avocado tree. This tree was about 80 feet high and so old it produced avocado's that didn't taste very good. The problem with the tree is that when an avocado falls from 80 feet up, it's like a small bomb when it drops. One avocado fell and knocked the side mirror off of a truck that was parked under it. When O was outside playing I would make him put on his bike helmet cause I bet you would get a concussion from getting hit on the head with a rogue avocado.

The landlord decided it needed to be cut down and so the process started. No chainsaws, no power tools, no safety equipment or cherry picker type lifts - just good old fashioned hard work. About 10 guys showed up one day and proceeded to chop down the tree with machetes. But get this, they didn't chop the tree all the way down because in Rwanda it's against the law to chop down trees without replacing them. So now we have a toothpick in our front yard - it looks horrible but I guess its better than getting knocked unconscious or losing a mirror.

The work begins - see the rope? That's how they would lower the branches they cut down to the ground.

The first of many branches falls, successfully!

Check out our toothpick

Can you imagine cutting these branches down with a machete?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What a nose!

This is what I picked up from school last Friday. Ouch! He was so excited to tell teacher Maureen that he went swimming that he fell face first down the hill. Running of course! Is it strange the school didn't call me? Do school's call parents for minor bumps and bruises? Just glad there were no broken bones. Knock on wood cause I know they are coming.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Hike

It's really hard to find wide open space in Rwanda. There are people all over - it is one of the most densly packed countries on the continent. A huge change from the Navajo Nation. Our friends, Duncan, Laura, Taylor and Conner know that we love to hike so they invited us for a Father's Day hike up Mount Kigali. We met up at 9am and soon we had found a place to park and we began the uphill climb. Rwanda is known as the land of a thousand hills and this was just one of the hills. A steep single lane road with washed out trenches from the rains and little houses built into the sides of the road. Of course we attracted our fair share of attention and had company the entire hike. I think there was a moment of about 10 minutes when we were all by ourselves. The views from the top were amazing and the ecupalyptus trees smelled so good.
Orion and our posse of kids that followed us almost the entire hike...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Field Trip

I spend most of my work days in the embassy. I have a beautiful office with a great view and its a really nice place to work. That said, it can start to feel a little like an island. Like I am stuck in this little island of "America" and I can't get out. To help with this feeling I have started doing field visits to different places in Rwanda - one half day a week my colleagues and I head out for a half day adventure. Most of the time we visit hospitals, health clinics, private doctors offices, labs...anything that is remotely medically related. Last week I had the chance to visit a place called Gashora Girls Academy. My friend Karin first shared with me a link from the local Seattle news that talked about this initiative. I then asked around the embassy and found out that our USAID partners had a contact out from Washington State. Well, I emailed the guy and on his visit out we got invited out to see what they were doing. Does this have much to do with health, nope. Was it really interesting, yep! They have a crazy cool agricultural component to the school and we got to check out all their crops. They are trying their hand at foods not traditionally grown in Rwanda - heirloom tomatoes, okra, sunflowers. It was a wonderful way to spend the morning.

I had no idea that okra had flowers...

Gi-normous sunflower start

Pineapple in neat rows

Part of the terracing of the land - they dig these big holes to collect rainwater and prevent it from eroding the top layer of soil.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Witches Brew!

Part of my job is making sure my patients are up to date on their vaccines. Have you ever thought about how hard it would be get vaccines to the middle of Africa? It is a tremendous feat let me tell you especially because vaccines have to be kept cold and in fact some have to be kept frozen. YIKES! So most often when we have a shipment of vaccines coming in on an airplane it is after working hours and the vaccines are then dropped off at my house where I can inventory them, unpack them and put them in the fridge. The problem with shipping cold vaccines to Africa is that you wind up with a lot of packing material. You also get your fair share of dry ice. My dad used to do this kinda crazy thing with dry ice and here I find myself doing the same thing...putting pieces of it in O's juice so he can watch it bubble. Do you think it's safe?
O loved his passion juice...