Saturday, 23 May 2015

Flower Power & Chocolate Mousse

Had a fabulous night last night. Went to Jo's for one of her famed pizza parties. Arrived early and took some pictures of her incredible garden. Usually at this time of year my dad is busy taking pictures of all the nice flowers in his garden, so I thought I'd prove that there is a spring in Rwanda, too.

As it started to get dark, guests arrived and gathered by the pizza oven. I helped Nicole (cocktail shaker extraordinaire) to make chocolate mousse from avocados I'd brought from my garden. Easiest recipes ever:

  • Avocados
  • Small bananas
  • Sugar or honey
  • Cocoa powder

The proportions we used were about six avocados, three small lady finger bananas, one tablespoon of cocoa powder per avocado and enough sweetener to sweeten. Pop in a blender, or use a blending stick, and - when it tastes really good - pop it in glasses in the fridge for half an hour.

I had no idea you could do this with avocado. It tasted amazing.

Jo has an incredible panoramic view of Kigali, which is so pretty at night with the lights across the hills. Her garden looks magical with the fairy lights, and she put tea lights in small brown paper bags to make paper lanterns.

We were joined by so many good friends, and one - Amanda - who I hadn't seen in seven years. She was visiting from Tanzania. 

After stoking up on three vodka cocktails, three G&Ts and a mug of white wine, Amanda and I decided to take a walk before heading home. Only, we started catching up on seven years and before we knew it, we'd walked almost the whole way home from Gikondo to Kacyiru! We left at around 10:30 and reached Simba (via Sonatube and a crazy back-alley maze) at around 1:30am. The shop's open 24/7 so we flumped into a chair, refuelled on water, and demolished an entire pack of mango biscuits.

This morning I couldn't walk. I do so little exercise, and I'd been wearing ballet pumps. Have blisters and sore legs. But it was such good fun. What a wonderful, random night. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Best. Day. EVER.

Yesterday my landlord came over and installed a hot shower! Well, it's more sort of lukewarm, and we're entering the dry season, so there isn't always water - but it's a proper, heated shower goddammit! It is such a relief to be able to wash standing up. If anybody needs me, I'll be in the bathroom singing into my hairbrush.

So... interesting times. 

I'll make a separate post on how all this came about, but I ended up at IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia) in Kigali today.

LL (remember her? Several posts back) was giving a speech, and I went along for moral support. I'm now an official member of their NGO. Got to sit at the delegates' table and introduce myself in Kinya. 

Life Gets Better Together

Join the Action, Support LGBT Fight
for Visibility, Respect and Equality

I still get a little lump in my throat when I see things like that poster saying 'Join the fight for LGBT visibility' and remember that I'm sitting in Rwanda, with Uganda our northern neighbour. Like Gisenyi to Goma, it's amazing how close two places can be, yet worlds apart. So proud to live in a progressive African country that said no to anti-homosexuality laws.

It was an interesting mix. 99% Rwandans, with three HDI interns (Health Development Initiative - sponsoring the event) and a representative from the Swedish Embassy with his wife.

The Swedish guy seemed nice. His heart was definitely in the right place. But perhaps not the best opener:

We are so proud to be working with people with different sexual attitudes... I don't know what to call you?

Perhaps you could start your work with LGBT people by asking what they'd prefer to be called?

It was an interesting day. There was a documentary, which was in Kinya and French, so I didn't understand most of it. Some singing, some dancing, a play, and of course LL's speech, quoting Out of the Box:

I believe that being out of the closet helps to think out of the box, you are not constrained by the same imperative to fit the norm and that can be very creative... There will always be those who are homophobic or xenophobic but they will become the "other" and people like us... will become the benchmark for something better.

I was proud of her.

After the event there was food and free beer, but we'd been out drinking until 4am and I was still suffering the mother of all hangovers, so I had one bottle and came home.

As a total random aside, I tried - in part - to overcome that hangover with lunch at the library with Jo, Pyt and Nicole. Falafel wrap and a big slug of tree tomato for the vitamin hit. I've written before about the library and not having been too impressed with the café. It's just been taken over by Shokola and something called Innovation Village.

It. Is. Gorgeous.

Totally transformed from a space that had bored waiters and a crackling radio to a swanky IKEA showroom with work stations, open space, books and chocolate brownies. Job well done.

Rooftop Café


Nice meeting space. Only issue I think is disability access as it's at the top of five flights of stairs and I'm not sure whether there's a lift or disabled toilets.

Very impressive, though. Think I might move my Monday office there.