Gorgeous clouds over Kigali the other day.
This one looks like there's a snow-capped mountain growing out of it.
As promised, more quiche pictures. I bought a new pot to bake in. Seems to work well, though it's a little larger, so I'm still getting the hang of timing.
Bought a proper flan tin, non-stick. Makes a difference.
Also had a go at making banana bread. Wasn't bad - very moist - but the bottom cooked much faster than the top.
Will definitely be doing that again.
Even had some guests turn up. I heard my doorbell go. When I opened the gate, this is what I found.
I think they got the wrong house. Foghorn Leghorn lives two doors down.
Anyway - what a week! And I'm not even halfway through yet!
On Sunday I interviewed a new house helper. I now have three. Damascene, my helper since I returned to Rwanda in 2014, is still in service now and then, but he lives quite a way out, so it costs me in transport. I have Emmanuel, who is a local security guard by day but a great gardener on weekends. They both speak Kinyarwanda with very little English, and I'm the opposite, so communication can be a challenge, and sometimes you just really want things done a certain way. Like, for instance, I want to colour coordinate the cleaning cloths so that I never accidentally end up using the toilet cloth to do my dishes. I'd also like people to put things back after cleaning. When Emmanuel does it, he spends one day cleaning and I spend three days trying to find where he's put everything. Then there's the timing issue. People like to show that they are working. When Damascene cleans, he can be at it for five to six hours. It's very hard to explain that the money is the same, however long it takes, and personally I'm happy to have it done quickly and everyone can relax.
So, I put out an andvert for an English-speaking cleaner. In the advert I asked people to SMS or WhatsApp in the first instance, partly because I didn't want calls at all times of the day and night, partly because I wanted to check their English, but mostly because I wanted to see who could follow instructions.
It was a little awful. I had a couple of begging messages 'please, I really, really need this job' (a lot of people out of work at the moment), and one who was a qualified Agronomist who couldn't find anything else!
One lady was streets ahead, though. Her English was good, she was professional in her approach. So I invited her over. She turned up exactly when she said she would, and was really lovely. I'm going to try her out next week.
Monday was a bit of a disaster. I woke up to find that my fridge had died in the night. There was a swimming pool where my kitchen used to be. I tried to clean it up using the brand new mop I'd bought from Nakumatt. One wipe and...
Typical. It's wholly depressing to know that what people pay ten quid for here, you could get better quality in a pound shop in the UK.
Then I attempted to do my washing. The washing line snapped twice! Plus I suffered third degree burns in the sunshine. I usually enjoy doing my washing, but that was a bit of a chore. Still feeling sore for it. In the dry season I do my washing in the evenings and leave it out overnight, but during the wet season you have to take any hours you can get between thunder storms.
Finally, my water filter started leaking.
I decided to try changing the fuse on the fridge to see whether that made a difference. Never underestimate the power of a pointy-ended butter knife. Lefty loosy, righty tighty.
I had to hop a moto into town to the electrical shop. After the events of the day I was worried I might end up in a moto crash or, at the very least, it would get a puncture and I'd have to push it up the hill into Kigali.
But, no. Life puncheth and it giveth. The man at the store gave me two fuses for free, saying 'they are just small things.' He parted with a world-stopping smile which left me blushing from head to toe.
Unfortunately, that didn't solve the problem. I think it's the compressor.
Today, the fumigator came to sort out the cockroach problem I've had in the bathroom since getting back from the UK. The stuff they use is like board marker or creosote. It's probably dreadful for you, but I just want to inhale deeply.
Whilst his friend was nuking roaches, I told him about the broken fridge.
He's giving me £40 for it, which is more than twice what I paid for the fumigation. I thought I would have to pay someone to come and take it away, so to get paid for it - win!
Then I had to go appliance shopping.
It began with feeling pissed off at Nakumatt. I was there to buy a fridge, and they were pissing me about over four quid's worth of mop refund. It took three members of staff almost half an hour to issue a credit receipt after I declined their offer of replacing the crappy mop with another crappy mop.
Fool me once...
Still, with the £4.50 from that, the £40 from the old fridge, and the 15% discount on the model I wanted, I wasn't feeling too hard done by.
Plus, the delivery guys were excellent. Helpful, friendly, and able to carry really heavy appliances.
This is my brand new silvery fridge-freezer, next to the old vintage model. See how it catches the light?
I feel bad getting rid of the old one, but it was already old when I bought it, and it's done me well for two years. Plus, this one is supposed to be a lot more energy efficient - it's got an A rating (whatever that means). Plus it's nice and tall, so I don't have to squat down every time I need the milk.
Then I went a little crazy. I still had money left over from last year's contracts, so I splashed out on a washing machine!
I've secretly wanted one of these for a while. Also, there's going to be three people in the house in May, and it seems rather unfair to ask my new helper to handwash that amount of clothes. Plus it takes the issue of washing other people's dirty underwear off the table (and dirty underwear should never be on the table in the first place).
I'm really excited. It even has a dryer function!
Plus, the lady in the shop told me I can fill it with a bucket. I can't hook it up to a water supply, but the old guard hut does have electricity, so I've put it in there. I can fill it up manually and drain it back into the bucket.
The washer has a one-year warranty, and the fridge a two-year one. These sort of things always retain a resale value in the expat community. More than that, I think it will just improve my quality of life. No more trying to fit in washing around the rainclouds, or worrying about abusing staff.
So, let's see what the rest of the week brings, because, with all of this running around, it hasn't left me much time for writing.
Tomorrow I'm off to meet a potential mentee. There appears to be a real demand for creative writing, I just need to figure out how to tap that.
Then LB's back in town and we're going out Thursday. He's flying back to the UK soon and I feel strangely deflated at that prospect. I socialise very rarely at the moment, but happily drop everything I'm doing to go for a drink with him. Think I need to sit down and talk to myself about that.
After an inauspicious start to the week, all is happy and well in Kigali.