Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bienvenue a Rwanda!


After a 20 hour flight and 7 shots (the vaccination kind, not alcohol) I am in Butare, Rwanda.

The past days have been a blur of meeting ambassadors, government ministers, and Peace Corps staff. Apparently its really big deal that Peace Corps is returning to Rwanda after 15 years of absence due to the war, and everyone seems really excited to have us here.


The little Ive seen of Rwanda so far is absolutely and stunningly BEAUTIFUL. There is no way to describe it but I’ll try. They call it the “land of a thousand hills” (le pays de milles collines) and there couldn’t be a better name. On the drive from the capital to Butare, we were all silently staring out the window and just soaking it in: the land is thick with every imaginable color of green, so fertile and lush and gorgeous I couldn’t believe it. Banana trees, avocado trees, everything-little villages are sprinkled around and you really kind of cant believe what you’re looking at. Ill try to link my flickr account so you guys can see pics.


The convent where we are staying for the next 3 months of training has electricity and running water, kind of. Its basically bucket baths with trapped rain water and you are fortunate if you get to flush the toilette. Every time I turn the  light switch on in my room I cross my fingers it will work. Our trainers tell us we are getting spoiled and reality will hit us when we arrive at our work sites, which are extremely rural (picture me carrying a water jug on my head for miles-haha) So this whole internet cafĂ© luxury will be short-lived L


Learning Kinyarwanda has proved to be 1,000 times more difficult than I anticipated. Simply saying  “American” is “ndi umunyamerikakazi” and “village” is “ubudugudu.” How I will survive alone in a rural town is beyond me at this point, but it’s a full immersion program for training, no English allowed, so hopefully that will help.


On a different note, it is amazing to be in a country that has only recently survived such brutal violence. I am really hoping to learn more about the genocide, but it is very taboo to discuss it.


Anyway, all for now J Amahoro, Nkunda, nkaba Komera (peace love and strength)




  1. unreal.....cannot believe you are there. be careful xoxoxoxo

  2. emma! i am so excited for you. i think i felt the same way about costa rica that you do about rwanda, about how there are infinite dimensions when you look through all that greenery. how are the people? have you had positive experiences with Rwandans? I can't wait to hear more!

  3. I can't wait to hear more Em. I LOVE U!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sounds amazing...cant wait for the next blog post...

  5. I'm soooo glad you got there safely. I miss you so much already man! Good luck learning the language - I did some research on the country and you're right, the future does look pretty bright over there. Know that even though your friends and family are on the other side of the world, we're still following you every step of the way. Miss and love you smelly spoo poo.

  6. Emma -- this sounds absolutely incredible! It must be cool being what sounds like the first set of Peace Corps volunteers returning to Rwanda. I can't wait to hear more about your adventure... take care and be safe!

  7. That all sounds awesome Emma! I can't believe you are actually over there and I'm still having trouble saying "American"! I know you said in your first email you can accept packages so what kind of things would you like us to send? I know IN-N-OUT is at the top of the list but I just don't think it would be so fresh when it gets there =(

    But seriously, for those of us that want to help you out what do you need or want?

    Can't wait to read your next update!