Saturday, January 26, 2013

An open letter to Megatrade International Inc.:

January 27, 2013 
2727 Westwood Drive
Nashville TN 37204 

On January 18, 2013 I purchased your 14 oz travel coffee mug (Mega Steel Flask) from Nakumatt City Centre in Kigali Rwanda.

This is the listing for said product on your website:

I paid 3000 RF for this product, which is about 2% of my monthly pay at the village for orphaned and vulnerable youth where I work.

Below is a photo of the product and my receipt:

I was very much looking forward to the use of this product to bring delicious Rwandan coffee with me from my house to my office in an attempt to bring some normalcy to a career and life change that involves living in an institution with 500 needy kids, taking only cold showers, and being confronted by spiders at every turn.

I have been deeply, deeply disappointed with your product.

The mug leaks from the twist top seal between the mug and lid when one tries to drink from the mug, spilling piping hot Rwandan coffee on said user and also staining clothing and office floors.  (Clothing, by the way, that must be washed by hand, in a bucket.)  Many attempts have been made to tighten or reseal the lid to no avail.

Additionally, a leak formed during the initial use, between the plastic lining and the steel outer container that fills with coffee and cannot be extracted by emptying the mug or any amount of violent shaking.  I fear this coffee between the two layers will mold or become unsanitary.

At purchase, the mug was accompanies by a pink insert with detailed instructions for use in 4 languages.  I assure you that these instructions have been followed to the letter.  

Precaution #5 warns the user never to use the product in the microwave, oven, dishwasher, or stove top burner.  As I am not within 100 miles of any of these modern conveniences this has certainly not been a problem.

Precaution #6 states simply:
"Whatever question you may have about our products, please contact us at

Hence this communication.

Your website extolls the virtues of this product including "- Spill-resistant flip top drinking lid."
In my experience, the product is not spill resistant, but rather spill inducing.

Harms suffered by me as a result of this product include mild burns on the mouth and chin, stained clothing, shame and despondence.

Please send a replacement or upgraded product to:
Courtney Kelly
c/o ASYV
PO Box 7299
Kigali, Rwanda

I have already had a lengthy and unproductive conversation with the customer service representative at Nakumatt who insist they take no responsibility in the sale of this faulty product.

Thanks for your response.

Best Regards,
Courtney Kelly

the canteen is not for me

So there's a thing here in the village called the "canteen".  On Wednesdays and Fridays the canteen is open from 3:00-5:00 PM to sell Coke and Fanta, amandazi, yoghurt, gum and some other odds and ends to any students that have pocket money. ("Pocket Money" is something of a mystery and a source of conflict in my family.  As you can imagine, availability of this substance varies widely, causes some envy, and unfortunately, some theft.)  The canteen is a "club" run by the kids that gives them the opportunity to have some business experience, running the store, conducting transactions.

Upon learning about this, my new found warm Coke obsession/addiction fired and I decided to go by the Canteen for a fix at the announced time.  This did not go as planned.

First of all, there are 500 kids in the village. Turns out, all of them want something from the canteen.  There was a long line.  For the entire two hour period.

Also, by 'line" I mean impenetrable clump of children in no discernible order.  I circled like a vulture at 3:20, 4:00, and 4:30 and was each time deterred by the size of the hoard.  On my last swoop, at 4:50, there were only a few students still in front of the window.  (The set up is like a pool snack bar, with the kids running the canteen inside a structure and the kids making purchases swarming around a window outside.)  I decided to go up to the window.

While I was standing there, kids kept streaming up and pushing in front of me.  As there is not a line for service, just a mass of people, chaos reigns for who is served next.  My choices are to push up to the front, just to hold my ground, or watch hopelessly.  I made eye contact repeatedly for about 10 minutes with the kids filling orders, to no avail.

I was just not willing to push my way up to the front.  And, as a result, I was not getting my Coke.  Initially this was quite frustrating.  I felt very German: "Make a queue.  Wait your turn.  This is common courtesy. " But as I stood there I realized, I've had a lot of Cokes.  I'll have a lot more Cokes.  This is probably the only establishment IN THE WORLD where these kids have more political and social capital than I do, and the only place in the world where they'd be served and have their needs met before me, and I'm really glad they have a place of their own.

In other news, today Mucaka Mucaka was at 5:15 AM and in total darkness.  After that I harvested potatoes with the girls from my family for a few hours and then ASYV hosted a friendly football (soccer) game which we won 3-1!  Here's a few pics from the game:

half time strategy session

 game time, huh!

And finally, RIP to my second Apple power adapter since I got here! I already had to buy a new laptop charger at about $100 6 days after I arrived.  Yesterday, my iPhone charger also died, with no warning or explanation.  The writing on the product might say Input 100-240V but in practice the 220 here in Rwanda seems to short them right out.  If 'spondence goes dark, indefinitely, that is probably why.

In Memoriam:

Yes or No: Tough Decision

Sometimes you have to make tough decisions at work.  That's what it means to be a grown up.  You evaluate all the information you have on hand, draw on your experience and sooner or later you just have to make a call.  That's why they pay you the big bucks. 


Tell me: Yes or No?

(This is a pop up I see a lot on the computers at the Student Resource Center where I work. Yes seems to do the trick.)

Monsters, the creation of

So, the PO Box mail contest resulted in a three way tie!  Huge thanks to the Stouts for their very impressive Christmas card (the narrows, African Safari & Burma) sent Jan. 2, David & Janet Elder for their very adorable Christmas card (Evan, Hayley & Lauren) sent Dec. 17 and Dennis, for the fun postcard sent Jan. 10.  It was great to get mail so far from home and to confirm the (at least somewhat successful) capabilities of the mail service here.  I went to the post office box in Kigali this past weekend (1/19), so there's no telling how long they were waiting for me.  I'll check the box again in 2 weeks.  Fun!

I spent last weekend in Kigali.  It was great to take hot showers (hot, but full of giant roach sitings), but impossible to find any internet and I also couldn't find anyplace showing the division championship games.  I have subsequently learned that the Harbowl is pending and I am very excited. I'll be trying to find the game in two weeks, though I expect it to air around 2 AM Monday morning here, which will take some of the fun out of it.  Colin Technobowl vs. Ray Lewis.  I love it.  Should be a fun game.

Kigali was fun.  I took motos all around town and am starting to get some sense of direction, though I hate bartering for the price of a moto.  I went to a big market and ate out at good Indian food, Mexican food and Chinese food restaurants.  I bought some things for the house in the village like a travel coffee mug I had been wanting to take coffee to work and also some sponges. Thrilling!

While shopping in Nakumatt, I found these Kenyan underpants that cut straight to the chase and do not suger coat it for you:

Later, wandering around behind the Bank of Kigali, I found a place that takes all manner of sports bet and another place that sells Nikes, so I think I'm going to be just fine here:

I also went to a cool market at Nyabugogo and saw this towering pile of beautiful peppers:

Internet continues to be quite limited, both in Kigali and in the village.  I write offline and then paste in e-mails when it looks like there is a little bandwidth.  That's okay for blog posts, but makes my work, researching possible university and internship options for these students nearly impossible.  Things at work are moving at an snails pace, an arthritic, fat snail.

On the other hand, things in my family seem to be going pretty well.  I'll also be running a 'club' that meets once a week called a tutoring club, but i'm not sure at this point what that entails.  As always, do stay tuned.

I started running some track workouts twice a week and that should be a good way to try and establish some normalcy and burn off some of the frustration of work in the village.

Tip for the day. Do NOT. Do NOT for any reason google "jungle rot."

Forgive me if I've already been over this, but my name here is "Kodney".  Courtney, suffice it to say, is not a common Rwandan name.  Rs are hard in Kinyarwanda (maybe more on that in another post).  So when I tell anyone here my name, they look at me funny and after several tries say "Kodney".  (Incidentally, I think Sweet Baby Kate used to call me "Torney" about 12 years ago.) I happily respond to Kondey, it's no problem.  It has been funny to see it in writing in several official documents as well.  It's cool to have a new nickname, though nothing will ever supplant CMFK.  Some of the other cousins call me "Kods" which I think would go over big with my Aussie crowd, or maybe "Kod-o" I just don't know…

It's totally normal to be frightened of the dark tea color of the water my laundry is soaking in, right?  Yes, my clothing was THAT dirty.  The Rwandan soil, at least here at this village, is a beautiful deep red that gets on all my pants and socks, and when the wind blows (all the time) on my arms, neck, face, eyes, teeth and soul.  That soil also clings purty-tight-now to my clothes, which when I do laundry move from filthy, to only just dirty.  It's all relative.

A note on Monsters, the creation of: I'm a little competitive.  I like contests, the more arbitrary the better.  See past Chicken-Nugget-off (Lost!), 5-Guys-Off (Won!), Buffalo-Wing-off (Lost that day and for the next 6 days), Marshmallow-off (Won!), Vending Machine Challenge (We all lost that one.).  When I'm in the doldrums and looking for something to look forward to and something else to focus on, I propose a little contest.  See a pattern above?  These usually end BADLY.  

Well, note to future Kodney: "DON'T PROPOSE A PUSH-UP CONTEST TO A RECENT DISCHARGE OF THE ISRALI ARMY!" Geeze.  Really? So keep in mind, Rwanda is a country that already has some ground to make up for equality of women's sports.  I've challenged a fellow cousin to a three-stage pushup contest (on 2/2, 3/3 and 4/4).  (Mostly, at the time, I proposed it to make myself do some pushups.)  The terms are that he's spotting me 30 for the 2/2 event, but that after that, the absolute margin of victory is the go-forward line.  So, in actual terms, on 2/2 if I do 30 pushups and he does 50, I win by 10, and the line for the 3/3 event is Me +20.5.  (He's too nice a guy and not at all a shark, so he's giving me the half.  For the chatter angle I hope it all turns on that half, I really do.)  

This, Gomer Pyle: Sur-Prise Sur-prise, is turning out lose-lose for me. First of all, my scouts tell me he can do 85, and I can only do 40, so I'll lose the 2/2 event by a comfortable margin (unless I get a visit from Lance Armstrong's medical team in the next couple days).  More importantly, this little contest has spread like wildfire around this village.  His family is excited about it.  My family is excited about it.  The director of Informal Education is excited about it.  So I'll lose in front of a big audience.  What's worse, I'll let down my girls in family 8.  Now on 3/3, let's say the line moves to Me +45, that's great and maybe I've even got a chance to "win"no one in the village will give a clap about that.  [Note: Let's leave all the 'Who should sandbag what in Round 1?' strategy out of this for now, for my own sake, unless you are Romer or Drew Jones and want to reach out to me directly with strategy.]   My girls will just see me do 42, him do 81 and think I lost again. By a TON.  So: There's no backing out now and Dwight Howard and all soccer players are owning that 'faking an injury' strategy, so I'm left with trying to lose with some dignity.  I'll keep you posted.

Editors note on 2/10:
Avi asked me to tell you that he disputes nearly everything above, especially his 'recent discharge' from the Israeli army, which to his point was 6 years ago.  For further clarifications on Avi's point of view, check out his blog, if he ever starts one.

This webpage is not available

I see this all day, every day and also now it haunts me in my dreams::

This webpage is not available
The server at can't be found, because the DNS lookup failed. DNS is the network service that translates a website's name to its Internet address. This error is most often caused by having no connection to the Internet or a misconfigured network. It can also be caused by an unresponsive DNS server or a firewall preventing Google Chrome from accessing the network.
Here are some suggestions:
  • Reload this webpage later.
  • Check your Internet connection. Restart any router, modem, or other network devices you may be using.
  • Check your DNS settings. Contact your network administrator if you're not sure what this means.
  • Try disabling network prediction by following these steps: Go to the Chrome menu > Settings > Show advanced settings... and deselect "Predict network actions to improve page load performance." If this does not resolve the issue, we recommend selecting this option again for improved performance.
  • Add Google Chrome as a permitted program in your firewall's or antivirus software's settings. If it is already a permitted program, try deleting it from the list of permitted programs and adding it again.
  • If you use a proxy server, check your proxy settings or contact your network administrator to make sure the proxy server is working. If you don't believe you should be using a proxy server, adjust your proxy settings: Go to Applications > System Preferences > Network > Advanced > Proxies and deselect any proxies that have been selected.
Error 105 (net::ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED): Unable to resolve the server's DNS address.

I'd like to propose this alternate version, with thanks and apologies to Beetle Bailey:

This #@$**! webpage is not available
The server at THE ENTIRE INTERNET can't be found, because the tiny pipe that brings internet access to ASYV is all choked up.  This error is most often caused by having no connection to the Internet or a misconfigured network. It can also be caused by moving dead smack to the middle of Africa and relying on very limited infrastructure, but assuming you will be able to function as you did at home.  This condition might persist for 5 more seconds or 5 more days.  
Here are some suggestions:
  • Reload this webpage later.  Click reload incessantly.  The harder you click, the more we know you mean it.
  • Try to guess how long the power will be out.
  • Move back to a more developed nation.
  • Check your Internet connection. Glare at the 4 rings of connectivity shining back at you. Restart your kettle and make some more Quality Rwandan Tea.
  • Check your DNS settings. Contact your Deo if you're not sure what this means.  I'm sure the thousandth person telling him the internet is down won't irritate him at all.
  • Try to avoid murderous rage by following these steps: Go to Rubona > Storefront > Purchase warm Coke and amandazi… 
  • If you use a proxy server, check your proxy settings again and again and again like a high school senior checks the mailbox for college acceptance letters.
Error 155 (net::ERR_USER_FRUSTRATED_BEYOND_ALL_TOLERANCE): Unable to resolve the server's DNS address.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

On my 'typical day' so far

Oh, man.  Trying to get anything done with no internet access at all is just about the most frustrating thing in the world.

The internet is coming to me though the tiniest pipe, with 600 other request at the same time.  It's enough to make me nostalgic for those dial up modem sounds from 1999. 

Here's me trying to craft blog post off-line, and then paste it in later when there is more access:

There's been a request for more general info about what my typical day is like.  No Kidding!  If you find out, will you please let me know.  Things around here are generally in a state of flux, due to continually growing and changing to meet the next challenge.  I might have expected one thing, but that was yesterday, and times have changed.  Get with the (new) program.

In actuality, things do seem to be settling down a little now that school has started and the huge graduation event has passed.  We'll see if this is just a lull before the next coming storm, or truly some kind of pattern forming.

I have two main responsibilities in the village (at press time) and they are as follows:

I am a 'cousin' in Family 8.  Family 8 (which will soon be choosing an inspirational hero name) is 16 fifteen to seventeen year-old orphaned and vulnerable girls who just entered their enrichment year here at ASYV, a 'big sister' who will stay with the girls all 4 years, and serves as a chaperone and to provide guidance, and a mama, who runs the house and family and provides all the support a mama should, from instructing the girls on how to mind the house, to caring for sick girls. I also support the family, but I'm only a cousin, a more distant relative and one that won't be with them forever. 

My roles in the family are to support the learning and use of English, to serve as a role model for work on the farm, service in the dining hall, participation in Mukaka Mukaka (morning run), behavior in assemblies and throughout the village.  I'm another person to welcome the girls to ASYV and another adult to give attention and positive support to kids who likely have not had enough of that prior to arriving.

I try to eat lunch and dinner with the family and then after dinner there is an hour of 'family time' back at the house.  Family time is the best part of the day.  It's where the19 members of Family 8 talk about the day, make any necessary announcements (e.g., Mukaka Mukaka will be at 5:30 AM the next three weeks because some kids were late for village time last night), give instructions and resolve any concerns developing in the family (who's day was it to wash the floors? e.g.) and after that can play games, sing songs, and hang out. 

My other, more formal, responsibility is that I'm working for the Career Development department in the Student Resource Center.  Think high school guidance counselor office.  In the Career Development office we work to provide all of the ASYV students with as many tools as possible to succeed on their chosen future path beyond Agahozo, whatever it may be.  This can be university application assistance, ACT/SAT prep, vocational school investigation and application, searching for internships and job applications.

So, on a typical day, I try to balance these two roles as per the schedule in the village. 

How that breaks down lately, is that I skip breakfast with the kids at 6:30 AM (porridge and a dinner roll), go for a much blogged about run at 7:30 or so, get to the Student Resource Center after that to beat the bushes (phones, slow internet) for internships, job placements, scholarships and partnerships that might help the 125 kids that will be graduating and leaving Agahozo this year (and actually a bunch of stragglers from last year too, but there is an alumni team mostly supporting that process.) 

At 2:00 I head up to the dining hall to have lunch with Family 8, (generally rice and beans and potatoes, but sometimes rice and cabbage and potatoes, or rice and beans and cooking bananas, or maybe rice, cassava root and steamed carrots with cauliflower (a favorite of mine).

From 3-8:00 PM, the kids are out of school and in various programs or have free time. During this time, I work in the Student Resource Center with kids as they come by, assisting on a request-by-request basis to review CVs, cover letters, college applications and essays and general career counseling. (E.g. What does a graphic designer do, and what kind of qualifications are required to work in that field?)

At 8:00 PM I go back to the dining hall for dinner with Family 8, (see menu above) and then after dinner we have family time from 9:00-10:00.  I have free time from 10:00 PM on.  Hurrah.

Add to that that new tasks come up all the time that were are seconded for, and also that I will try to sneak away to Rubona (1.3 mile walk away) on market days (Tuesday and Friday) for a warm coke and some fresh fruit.  I've also been told that in the coming weeks I'll become the faculty advisor for a student club, but that clubs only meet on Mondays, so how bad could that be?

On Tuesday, I went to the market and bought this hat for $1000 RF (~$1.50):


Oh yeah, come visit.  If you are thinking of a visit these are the holiday times I can travel:
  • March 31 - April 20
  • July 28 - August 10

I don't have a junket planned for these breaks yet, but I'm thinking Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia are candidates and if I just get crazy, Madagascar could be interesting.   Or maybe just sleep.  Sleep sounds good too.

If you come for dates other than that, I'd love to see you, but I'll be in Rwamagana, which is pretty quiet, except for every other weekend which I can spend in Kigali or perhaps traveling around Rwanda (Volcanos National Park and the Gorillas could be done in a weekend I think).  So let me know if you are on the way and we can coordinate destinations and plans.

Late breaking addition for those of you know the Rod Phares story from Baylor Debate camp between Freshman and Sophomore year of high school:

Tonight at dinner I was sitting with a big sister from another family.  She's a former actress and very poised and dignified.  I felt a sharp stick in my thigh, like a needle stick, and jumped and shouted "ouch!"  I got the pants hemmed recently and thought maybe the seamstress left a needle in, or there was a pointy plastic tag or something.  So I'm hopping around in front of all the kids, trying to feel inside my thigh in my pants when I find it, a biting ant.  Then 6 more bite me and now that I know what it is I'm hopping all around and flailing and shouting more which is apparently the signal for ants to bite at will.  Antics ensued.  The big sister just arched an eyebrow at me, like these big loud Americans act a fool all the time and here she goes again.  Ants 2, Courtney 0.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Notes on Spiders

Rwanda's got em.  And they are not kidding.  Here is a little guy I nicknamed Tom Selleck that has been hanging out in our living room.  I realize that the glue only helps so much to give perspective of size, but I honestly did not want to get any closer to him.

Here is a similarly sized fellow that had been residing in on of my housemates' bedrooms.  They tried to put him outside, but they relieved him of a few of his legs in the process.  He's still hanging around, literally, but his best web spinning days may be behind him.

On Friday morning I woke up and freaked out a little cos there was a spider in my bed.  I flicked him out.  Then moments later, I noticed he came back, so I marveled at his speed and persistence. Then I noticed the spider I had flicked out, was still in the middle of the floor.  This was an additional spider.  This motivated me.  I got out of the bed to shake the sheets and 4 more spiders tumbled out, for a total of 6.  Spider bed!  I'm not sure if anything can be done to reduce this.  I kinda doubt it.  They don't seem to bite, so I guess I'll just have to get accustomed to these things.

Here are some great pics I took in the dining hall, waiting for dinner with some of the girls from my family.  Here are Yvonne and Grace who are like two peas in a pod, always together:

 And here are me and Honorine, and I love that she is laughing in this pic:

 Here is everyone on the first day of school, January 7.  Some of us are happier than others:

Oh here is a random turkey that was trotting around the last time I was in Rubona.  I'm not sure why, but I think of turkeys as wholly American so I was surprised to see him:

Running: I've been running to a nearby radio antenna from the village.  Nike + tells me it is 13K round trip, so about 8 miles. From 2.7K-4.5K on this route, it is just straight up really steeply and I am miserable.  There are always a few little kids who come up and run with me, making the whole process more difficult.  After that though the run is pleasant, and as you would imagine the downhill on the way back quite easy.  I'm going to try and make time for this every day, which will probably work out to 2 or 3 times a week.  It's grueling at points, but there are some lovely views on the path.  This me is at the 11K mark:

Remind me to tell you next time about: "Monsters, the creation of" w/r/t a certain contest I proposed and am certain to lose.

Seems like I picked a doozy of a year to not watch any of the NFL playoffs as both Broncos/Ravens and Falcons/Seahawks games have seemed insane!  At this point I am pulling for an all Harbaugh Superbowl.

Graduation Day

Graduation Day at ASYV was a huge success.  This was the first graduating class from ASYV and one of the biggest events ever planned at the village.  A huge tent was erected on the soccer field to protect guests from rain or sun and 500 chairs were delivered.

I helped with leading the graduates in their procession from the mango tree down to the soccer field.  We had two different rehearsals, one with 7 different attempts to get everyone seated in the right place in the right order.  I also helped with the unloading, arranging, re-arranging and re-re-arranging of said chairs.

The event, which was held Thursday January 10th, was a big production, but everything came off well. The students performed during the ceremony: singing, acting out a sketch, reading a poem, and even real-time live painting a picture.  ASYV students were the MCs for the event.  They all excelled, demonstrating how talented they all are and everyone was very proud.

There were speeches from the village director, the village founder (Anne Heyman), the national Minister of Education, and... President Kagame.

President Kagame's presence was a major honor.  Of course, the attendance of a head of state introduces some additional security concerns.  Kagame's security detail was here three days before the event, searching with what I assume are bomb-sniffing dogs, but are maybe just menacing looking German Shepherds. The security team set up a satellite dish and requested some buildings be cleared out for their operations.  A new road was cleared just for the presidential motorcade.  A new covered parking bay was made with a concrete foundation just one day before graduation.  All of the staff here at ASYV worked pretty much around the clock for the entire week and must have been exhausted at the event.

The entire ceremony was nationally televised live, and then replayed several times.  I went to Rubona, the small town about 1.3 miles away from the village (according to my Nike+) on Saturday to get some pants hemmed and buy some toilet paper (and sip a warm coke) and the small shops that had TVs were all showing the ceremony.  It was an honor throughout the area to have the President in the region.

President Kagame spoke to the graduates about hearing good things about ASYV from a number of avenues, including his wife who visited in 2010 (? maybe 2009?).  He congratulated them on their studies and encouraged them to use their talents to enhance the future of Rwanda.

After the event there was a 'cocktail' (which is the Rwandan word for a take-away meal, I surmise), that was 1000 cardboard boxes of food, each including samosas, fried fish, pizza slices and a meatball.  All of that was prepared by the kitchen staff at ASYV, over the previous 30 hours, all while still making meals for 500 kids and all the staff 3 times a day.  I'm not sure how they did it, but the effort must have been herculean.  There was also warm Coca-Cola and Fanta which signifies a real event here and something I am taking quite a shine to.

Here's the graduates lined up in their nice green robes:

And heres the inaugural ASYV class of 2012 with founder Anne Heyman and President Kagame:

Here are even more great photos of the event.

There were a few hectic moments, like when the director was signing all of the certificates for distribution to the graduates at 9:10 AM.  I thought that the graduation procession started at 9, but it turned out that the event was condensed to better suit President Kagame's schedule and the procession didn't begin until 10:00 AM, so plenty of time to sign 118 documents and get them back in the correct order.  Easy-peasy.

Every detail of the event worked out smoothly.  The staff really thought of everything.  They even rented Mushananas, traditional Rwandan formal wear, for the female 'cousins' so we'd feel more included.  Here's how I looked:

After the huge graduation, anyone would think that had been enough and call it a successful day, but that was only the beginning. Since they had already rented a huge sound system, and because they wanted to congratulate the graduates, the village also hosted a concert in the amphitheater.

There were four different hip-hop acts that performed.  I had an amazing time.  My girls danced the entire time.  It reminded me of going to a Def-Jux concert in that all the acts had the same DJ and producer and great beats laid down.  Of course, I couldn't tell you how they perform as lyricists as, they  all rap in Kinyarwanda, but I can say they had flow.  Jay Polly and Riderman were probably the ones that drove the kids the most wild, but honestly the kids knew the words to every single song at the show and rapped along the entire time. There was so much energy in that amphitheater.  I know the kids were blown away.  I can't remember what my high school (R. L. Turner) did to celebrate my graduation, but I don't think they had the 4 biggest rap acts in the country come perform in the auditorium.  I think I would remember that.

Here's a picture from the concert.  I was pretty impressed with these Alife kicks:

So all in all, it was a great day, and a lot better than this Graduation Day.

Miss you all.  More soon about running and about a little phenomenon I call 'spider bed'.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

So here's a few recent pics.

I see little goats like this on my run and on the way to Rubona, a small town about a mile away from the village.  I think they are cute, but they are not pets, they are dinner.

This small mosque is about a fifteen minute walk from the village towards Rubona.  The population here is largely Christian (Catholic and Protestant, but there are a few muslims. )
I see signs like this on my run and on my walk to Rubona. Probably (nearly) the only good use my taxes have ever been put to.

The much touted Akabanga, for Akabanga Saturday of course, with an egg fresh from the farm here for size reference.  Do not mistake Akabanga for eyedrops.  You will regret it.

Here's the girls from family 8 (most of them) up at the Liquidnet Family High School. They are amazing girls and I am having so much fun getting to know them.

For New Year's Eve there was a major celebration at the dining hall with Traditional Dance performances, Modern Dance performances, songs and speeches.  Here's some girls performing Traditional Dance:

I'll try to get in some of these at some point as I know photos of strangers will only get me so far.  Good luck with 2013.