Sunday, 26 January 2020

Hard to Swallow

Picture from this article.


I very rarely have a major political waffle on here, but I'm about to.

This one's about the Chinese coronavirus. I recently unfriended someone after the sheer vitriol on their feed about it.

There's been some articles circulating that the market it came from was selling a lot of different animal products in unhygienic circumstances. Part of the story was about cooking certain animals alive, including bats, which is where the virus might have spread from. And, yes, this does bother me. Animal cruelty is something I'm very much against.

However...

The issue I had was the sheer level of hate speech towards 'them', meaning the Chinese population in general, and suggesting they deserved this virus because of what they eat. Whereas I don't agree with the preparation methods, it was incredibly divisive language and a few things that ran throught my mind were...

  1. Ebola is also thought to originate from bat or gorilla meat. However, when the Ebola outbreak hit Sierra Leone and DRC, it was largely referred to as bushmeat and I didn't see many people saying 'disgusting Africans, they deserve it.' There was definitely a more sympathetic tone.
  2. People who frequent markets to eat local food often don't have a Sainsbury's next door and, if they do, probably couldn't afford it. Local markets are a source of cheap daily sustenance for most of the world's population.
  3. Most of the world's population who buy from local markets haven't had a high level of education. Food hygiene and virus transmission probably aren't on their radar. If someone does something because they don't know it's a bad idea, is the correct response: well, you deserve it?
  4. Generalisation is the death of reason. To say that 'all' of 'them' (the entire Chinese population) do something or eat the same food is strange. It's also an observation that people do something, not a constructive solution. 
  5. Diet is often something hugely culturally ingrained. Every culture eats something that another culture finds disgusting. I have a hard time eating zingalo in Rwanda, which is a delicacy made from cow intestine. Aborigines eat live witchetty grubs. Bushmeat is a staple part of millions of people's diet and has been for generations. Saying 'eww, that's disgusting,' isn't really helpful when trying to change mindsets. If it took centuries to evolve, a few irate westerners screaming racial insults online isn't going to have an impact, it just shows that some people's mindsets are as disgusting as they find other people's food to be.

You don't agree with something, fine. But what do you hope to achieve by shouting slurs and outrage? You need a conversation.

Conversations are changing dietary habits in many economically developed countries with an awareness of plant-based diets and eating less meat. But it happens slowly. It happens through education on how mass farming affects the environment, on health implications, and when demand for alternative foods makes them convenient to source and brings the market price down to a level that more people can afford. As for food hygiene, it's taken centuries for western countries to introduce health safety standards. We used to put chalk in bread and hang meat up outside butchers' shops like markets still do in many countries. It didn't happen overnight. Animal rights certainly didn't, it's still a completely new concept in many countries.

The idea that people eating traditional food for a price they can afford deserve to die because of that is very strange thinking, and more than a little disturbing. It shows an extreme lack of compassion. They may think it's justified because 'these people' don't always show compassion in the way they prepare food, but it neglects any reflection on socio-economic circumstances, access to clean water and cold chains, or education.

Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Breathing


Ho hum. 

So, some news.

Went to see my beauty therapist the other day. Tea, home-made snacks and henna.

 


I mentioned before that she makes her own henna which she grows in her garden. She's just moved house so it's been transplanted, but starting to grow again. I'd never actually seen a real life henna plant before.



Takes a lot of preparation and several hours to apply. Her son is also an amazing tattoo artist.

The date with glitter guy didn't materialise and I'm good with that as something else happened. 

There was a text. Then there was a phone conversation.

You can guess who with.

I swore to be calm, collected, to listen rather than speak...

So, I shouted at him for about half an hour. 

We both offloaded, then we laughed, and by the end of it we were talking.

What can I say?

He's got a course to go on, but then he says he's getting on a plane back here. I'm ridiculously happy, but cautious. I was worried I wouldn't be able to let go of the anger, but I have. I understand what happened, though it's still a bit sore. I've been watching a lot of Esther Perel and paying attention. My friends and family have also been utterly amazing. I am eternally lucky to be surrounded by such good people. The missing outweighs the hurt by a hundred to one at the moment. Just need to make it a few more weeks and we can start again. I'm in a really good place right now and work is still full on, so plenty of distractions.

Plus some good things came out of having some time to myself. I've made a couple of new friends. Going for drinks on Friday with crazy lady and went for a fancy lunch today with a guy who is really nice. We're doing it again next week.

Seafood Ink Ravioli

Also still doing research for my novel. Listening to a lot of books on ancient Sumer whilst eating pizza and watching the pretty lights at Kigali Convention Centre.

 

Talking of pretty lights, my dad posted these incredible pictures of Gloucester Cathedral who put on a light display in support of asylum seekers.
 
 

Wish I could have seen it, but did end up at a nice craft market in the pedestrian area of Kigali the other day.


So, everything is much better than it was. 

I was also sent to a specialist to figure out what the infection was all about - and everything came back clear. Apparently it's normal for local clinics to return false positives due to external contamination, whereas Rwanda Biomedical Centre then tests them and finds nothing. Seems the antibiotics worked the first time round and I probably didn't need to take the rest, but I've been nuked for just about everything. It was really nice to finally get the all clear and I am feeling normal again.

Also just taken out a three-month pool pass at the local sports centre. I went swimming with S before Christmas and forgot how much I love it, so it's a step towards a healthier lifestyle. Just hoping the second-hand swimming costume I picked up at the market holds together. I live in fear.

Meeting a guy tomorrow who might be volunteering on the piano project, which would be amazing. I've had no time at all due to work, so it would be unbelievable to get some help with that. We'll see if he runs away screaming when he sees what's involved.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

Electric Avenue


How cool is this?

Got on a moto the other day and was sitting there thinking, hmm, there's something different about this.

Turned out it was one of Kigali's brand-spanking-new electric motos!

There's been a lot of talk recently about air quality in Rwanda. It's not great. But as part of the green initiative, we're now getting a load of e-motos. They're so quiet and really smooth. I'm not sure about the acceleration, because my driver kept hitting the brakes, but now and then it really seemed to go. The only giveaway that they're e-motos and not the gas guzzling type are these big silver boxes on the front. I was well impressed. And just think, no more exhaust burns.




It's been a mental week.

I signed a contract with one of the ministries to teach report writing. It's an experiment, so I need to write my own report on how successful it's been. Doing two sessions a week until the end of February. Very excited to meet the group.

January is a monster month. I've been stuck to the screen with one donor report after another. Should be over by tomorrow, then I can have some fun.

I had a tearful moment with my neighbour the other day. He and his wife came round to say Happy New Year, as we hadn't seen each other for a while. We did a present exchange and I was truly emotional as I wasn't expecting this. They brought me a big, glittery box with a gorgeous poncho. It's seriously cute. I'm wearing it as I type.


 

The only laugh was that the fluffy bit was poking out the holes when I unwrapped it and for one awful moment I thought they'd brought me another cat!

In the ongoing segment Health News, I almost lost my cool the other day. Went back to see whether the latest round of antibiotics had worked. It had partly worked, but I still have an infection. So, they sent me off to a specialist who informed me I needed to go to a lab to have a test done. He said the test would be able to determine which type of antibiotic would kill the infection. The logical thought being, could you not have done that in the first place? If there's a test that tells you which antibiotic will kill this infection, why have I been taking pot luck for the past couple of months?

I'm sure they have good reasons, it's just doctors here aren't always great at putting things in layman's terms. They can tell you percentages and test scores, but have a hard time explaining what that physically means for your body in language you'll understand. Still, I get the results on Friday, so fingers crossed we'll have this sussed soon.

Though the doctor did confirm my suspicion that a hefty dose of malaria can weaken your immune system for a while afterwards. It's not my imagination and it's not uncommon. Two doctors have  recommended I drink a lot of lemon juice. Apparently this is good for the immune system. What have I got to lose?

I'll get on it as soon as I finish this. Perry has apparently come to Kigali.



A bit sweet, but quite refreshing with a ton of ice on a hot day. 

This is a slightly tipsy post. Just got back from a very fun night. A friend invited me for dinner. A lot of people know my situation, so I think she felt I needed cheering up. It was a lot of fun. Her house is incredible, with a whole view of the city. I took a picture of my drink because it's the most sophisticated thing I've drunk in a long time. G&T with cucumber and rosemary.


Did a bit of tattoo appreciation. She's a vet and has the most gorgeous ink.


And her friend had this one. It's a protein that spells out: eat, drink, sleep, repeat.


She made stunning Indonesian food. Full of coconut, rice and yummy things. I could smell it halfway down the street before I arrived.  Washed down with plenty of alcohol.

Pretty Wine Lighting
Being a vet, there was plenty of pet love going on.

  

That lady with the cat - I haven't seen her in a couple of years, but she is a legend. I owe her and my vet friend so much. I don't know if you remember back in 2017 when the horrific incident happened with my kittens, but this lady above helped me storm the compound to save one of them. Sen wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for her. She's a star. And my vet friend not only saved Sen's life once, but also stitched her up when she had the mother of all hernias. There's so much love for animals amongst these guys. They are really invested in WAG, the animal rescue in Rwanda. Please, if you can, donate to them. They do amazing work.




It was such a lovely night, and caught up with a crazy lady I met at the Fulu Miziki concert. She's incredible and very much fun. We had a good laugh. 


The only thing is, I was the second oldest person at the party. I heard one guy say, "The thing about almost being thirty is..." and almost choked on my drink.  

I got into a conversation with that guy later. He was interesting. He had a theory that the reason most of us are in the country is because we're commitment phobes. We travel because of former heartache and we don't commit to anyone because we're all just passing through. We cling to the idea of transience. I see where he's coming from, and it was interesting to hear it put that bluntly. He said 'Either the people we're with leave or we do.' 

I never did relationships. I took so much convincing it was unreal. Then I was convinced and that guy left. So, yes. I see. That doesn't make it easier, but I see. 

Half the people I talked to were on their way out. Either because they'd had a job offer elsewhere or because their job here had fallen through. They were fun though. I had a good night.

Kigali at Night

Problem was, I met an Indian guy who was a Modi supporter and that kicked off the whole, 'I wonder what S would have thought of this,' narrative in my brain. I was an inch away from texting him, but my friend talked me out of it. 

I got a text message from him the other day.

Heart stopped.

Hit open.

It was a generic change-of-number mass mail out.

That was the death of hope.

I'm okay now. I realised how dumb I was being, clinging to that idea that he maybe missed me. It's like a tooth extraction, you should just get it over with quickly. Life is very short and there are lots of fun things to do. No point putting that on hold. 

I was home, still debating this, when glitter guy called. 12:30 at night. I told him 'You're only calling because you're horny.' He said, 'It's not like that.' I said 'I remember being your age, you're always horny.'

Did I mention he's very young?

I'm not sure I've got the patience for this but, against my better judgement, we're going for a drink on Friday. Maybe a band on Saturday if I haven't come to my senses. 

Honestly, I can see exactly what this is, but I don't really have anything else to do with myself right now. Like lemon juice, what exactly do I have to lose? 

Sitting here listening to the Secret World Live album. Part of my formative years. 

I can imagine the moment
Breaking out through the silence
All the things that we both might say
And the heart it will not be denied
'til we're both on the same damn side
All the barriers blown away


*

And all the time the distance grows between you and me. I do not understand.

Let's lie in this dreamer's dream. Come on, come talk to me.

(You know it's bad - and late -when you start quoting song lyrics.)

It's so difficult. I fall so hard when I eventually do, and it's annoying because people are rarely worth it. So, why not fall and have a little fun. 

I still remember when I first arrived back here. Was a little heartbroken and threw myself into the crazy life with some amazing people.



Given my age, how many more times do I get to do that? This is honestly the first time I've ever thought, 'crap, I'm aging.'

So, I've booked myself into the beauty parlour: threading, facial and henna. Got a date for the weekend. Might as well make the most of it. I'm pretty good at picking myself up off the floor. 

And, if all else fails, I could always kiss this frog in my garden.



Going to go get some sleep and think about it. Or not - thinking is overrated. I reckon we all have at least two sides. The serious one that does adulting, and the child that just wants to cut loose. So many friends who have left and I wish were here to do crazy with me, but if I have to do it on my own, I'm ready. 

Looking forward to the weekend. 

Sleepy time.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Glitterbug



What an amazing night!

It started out so differently. I was supposed to meet a friend at a concert, only she cancelled just after I got out the shower. This sent me into a bit of a slump, because I suddenly realised that all the people I love have left the country, and most aren't coming back. The exception is Jo, but she's got her daughter so can't just drop things for a night out.

It's a constant hazard of being a long-term expat. You meet a lot of people, then you lose them over time if you're not the one to leave first. This has always been the case, but the past year has been a little bit worse than usual. A mass exodus. It usually feels like there's an overlap between friends coming and friends going, but lately it's been one-way traffic.

So, I was feeling pretty glum. I posted this on a forum for expats. It's an international group where people living outside their home countries can gripe and complain about the things that get them down. This can be cultural differences, bureaucracy, language barriers - whatever. It's a supportive group that 'respects the grump.' A place to let off steam to people who understand what it's like and won't judge you or tell you to get over it or 'go back home.'

One guy replied in Kigali, saying he'd given up making new friends in 2016 for that reason. Making solid friendships takes time and conversation, which takes effort. This can be draining if the people you make the effort with go on to leave in the next few weeks or months. I met an American tourist the other night who said, 'Every time I talk to someone, they ask me how long I'm staying.' That's why. It's not that people don't want to be friendly, but they're wondering how much of themselves to share. Constantly repeating your coming out (to the country) story gets tiring. Most people coming to Kigali are only passing through. There's a very high turnaround of new faces, which is why the old, familiar ones are so important. Other long-termers become a cornerstone of your daily life. You don't lose the friendship when they leave, but you can't just call them up for a drink or pop round to their house like you used to.

The guy who replied agreed to come keep me company at the concert, and when I got there I bumped into a couple of other friends. Kigali really is a village. Before long we were chatting away about really existential stuff. It came down to three of us: a Rwandan woman, a Pakistani gentleman and a British woman. Sounds like the start of a joke, right? But that is something I love about living here. You meet people from just about every background and culture, and can talk freely and ask questions. Often, in the UK, I feel there's an extreme pressure to be 'respectful of people's culture' to the extent where many people are too afraid to ask questions for fear of upsetting someone. We're all curious about each other, we all have biases, presumptions and preconceptions, and most of us have a healthy curiosity about the world. So it was a fun conversation and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

The band were absolutely stunning. Fulu Miziki - Kinshasa's answer to glam rock.





Their costumes and most of their instruments are made from recycled materials.




They had some serious energy and we were up front dancing away. It was definitely one of the most original acts I've ever seen in Kigali and everyone loved it. There were loads of people wandering around with face glitter and fairy lights wrapped around them.

I'd been up since five in the morning. I decided to self-medicate with praziquantel, which is a treatment for bilharzia. I don't think I had it, but it's notoriously tough to test for, wasn't an impossibility, and after talking to a couple of friends who'd had it, I thought it was worth just taking the pills for safety's sake. They only cost 2,000 francs (£1.70/$2). The only thing is that you have to take four of them at six-hour intervals, which meant waking up at 5 a.m. to take the last dose. They can also make you feel tired when mixed with alcohol, so I was a cheap date. Three small Mutzig and I was done.

After the concert, we headed down the hill to an after party at someone's house. It ended up being pretty packed and the night was getting cold, so the plan was to head to Envy for brochettes. I needed the loo before we went, but discovered there was only one bathroom and about ten people queueing. 

It was in the queue that I met this guy with the most amazing glitter across his face. Blue and gold, with stars on his nose. 

When I finally got through the bathroom, I saw him outside standing by himself, so went to invite him to come and sit with us. Only, whilst I was doing that, a couple of other people helped themselves to our chairs. 

I was completely knackered by then, and cold, and hungry, and ready to go home. So I said goodbye to my friends and started for the gate. Only, glitter guy insisted on walking me to find a moto. I was thinking 'thanks, but please don't' - but he was very insistent. 

There were no motos, so we had a cigarette and started talking. 

He surprised me. A Nigerian student in a Barmah hat, self-proclaimed 'Bohemian' and well read. We talked books for about twenty minutes. I asked him my three questions. I think I've mentioned this before? It might sound arrogant, but when I'm drunk and tired and not sure if I can be bothered to talk to somebody, I ask three questions: 1. What do you think of abortion, 2. How do you feel about gay people, and 3. What happens after we die? Obviously, everyone's entitled to their opinion, but it's nice to know what that opinion is quickly, so you can figure out if it's worth getting to know them better. It's also interesting to see if they ask you your opinion in return. I've made some really good friends by cutting to the chase in this way, and avoided a few major personality clashes. I guess you could say I don't go in for small talk much.

He answered the questions and, when he asked for my number, I didn't say no.

He wanted to know what I was doing today but work is crazy until the end of next week and I have a lot to catch up on. 

Partly that, and partly I need a moment.

I wasn't expecting this, and I'm not sure I'm ready for it. Everything still feels a bit raw. But S isn't coming back, I'm sure he's moved on, so maybe it's not a bad thing. I just wanted a minute to think about it, because it would be like finally admitting that there's no way back from this. If he's still interested by next weekend, once all my work is done, maybe we'll have a drink. He did make me smile.

It was just a really nice night. The music was amazing. I realised that even though my close friends have gone, I'm not exactly alone in the city. I can go to pretty much any event and know people. It's still a fun place to live. And, regardless of whether I see the glitter guy again, it was really nice to be noticed and I enjoyed the conversation. It was a confidence boost, and I needed that.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

2020 Begins

Photo by Jaap Hoekzema
Fireworks Over Kigali Convention Centre


Well, 2020 is here.

It was a really rough start to the year. S dropped off some stuff on his way to the airport New Year's Eve. There was a moment when I thought he was right on the verge of staying, but he didn't. I did all the dumb-assed things, like leaving the gate unlocked in case he changed his mind. But a couple of hours after take-off, I had to accept it. I climbed into bed around 9:30, grateful to close my eyes. A friend had asked if I wanted to join her at a posh hotel, but I just wanted to curl up. The fireworks woke me at midnight and someone posted some amazing pictures the next day on a community forum.

Woke up New Year's Day. It was awful. Never had a New Year like it, and never intend to again. Problem is, there's a huge pressure to leave one year behind and start afresh on New Year's Day, but it isn't that easy. I still feel like I've carried part of last year over with me. Can't seem to shake the sadness.

I'm doing better now that work's started again. It's really full-on catching up with everything over the break. January is a time for serious amounts of donor reporting, so I've been stuck to the screen. I also went to visit a health centre in Rwamagana. They'd been doing dance therapy with genocide survivors and had a room full of pilates balls. It was like an adult ball pool - I just wanted to dive right in. 



Talking of health centres, things are still stumbling along with me. Swapped amoxi for cipro, then cipro for a combination of doxy and norflox. I've had one infection or another since the malaria. Although the malaria's definitely gone, my immune system just doesn't seem to be kicking things like it used to.

Every now and then I go back to the clinic to pee in a cup and get my blood sucked. They send me home with a fresh set of pills. This round left me feeling pretty woozy, which kind of added to the 'fuck new year' vibe.

Breakfast

Gentle as Ever

As well as throwing myself into work, I've also drawn a huge amount of inspiration from my cousins, Billy and Sali.

Sali's just released a new track, Draculeic Chancers, and every video she does blows me away. Check out Howl at the Moon and Cwch Bach Coch.



And Billy has just danced Romeo for the Royal Ballet. Website here and you can catch it on BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks.

Red Bull Interview





I am really lucky in that so many of my family are so talented and artistic. We all create in completely different ways, but it pulls me forward to see what they're doing. Writing helps bring me balance, but when you're hurting it's hard to find your feet sometimes. When that happens you need to fill yourself with other people's art in order to regain your spark. 

I have been doing a bit of editing and have started working out the story for another novel, with the help of my mum, as the timeline is a nightmare and my maths ain't so good. There's a nice place at Kigali Heights that does good ice-cream so I treat myself if I get some writing done.

Lot of Corrections to Make


Another Kigali stalwart is leaving soon. He helped found the first Rwandan rock night and runs a well-known bar in town. He's a musician, so donated a microphone to me. Was going to attempt an audiobook at some point, but might be a way off. In the meantime, he loaded me up with beer and helped lift my spirits. It was my first night out of 2020 and I needed it. Just a shame he's going. 

We were having a laugh about what you take and what you leave when you pack to go somewhere compared with what you pack when you leave somewhere. You try to stuff everything into your suitcase when you're going somewhere, then try to give everything away when you leave. For some reason, everyone gives me their kettle when they go. I now have four. 

Still, I haven't got rid of everything S left me. He put it all in this amazing cardboard box, and my cats adore it. It's their favourite thing in the world right now. If only it could feed them, they'd probably rehome me.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Heartache

I don't even know how to start.

Can't wait to see the back of 2019. There's been some nice memories, such as my parents visiting and hanging out with Harris, but overall it's been an awful year.

My heart is hurting.

Things are over with S.

As a last 'fuck you,' his company booked him tickets home to India on New Year's Eve - and he took them.

He had an interview lined up, and a house he wants to rent out, but I thought we'd deal with that in the new year. He felt otherwise. The night before, we'd been talking about spending new year in Kigali or maybe going to see his friends in Uganda, but then he came home and said he was leaving.

I wonder if his company did that deliberately, like so many other things they've done to make life miserable. But he could have said no. It seems strange to leave a company because they're controlling your life only to allow them to control the most important part of your life on the day you leave.

To top it off, I was in bed sick. He told me whilst I was huddled up in a duvet taking my temperature, which - as you know from previous health posts - means I reacted with all the emotional control of a toddler.

We had an argument. He left.

My friend Jo came to collect me and took me to the hospital. She sat with me for an hour, translating from French and showing her young daughter all the procedures such as taking blood pressure and blood samples. The rapid test for malaria came back negative, thankfully, but I have some sort of bacterial infection that's gone to my kidney. The doctor told me to sit on a table and pressed my tummy, asking if it hurt. "No," I replied.

Then he asked me to sit up. He thumped one side of my back.

"Did that hurt?"

"No."

"Okay, does this hurt?"

He thumped the other side and I almost passed out.

Lots of tests. I really didn't understand the figures, but one was supposed to be between 0-6 and I scored 48, another you're supposed to be between 60-70% and I was 89.8%. I'm back on antibiotics, so can't even drink over New Year. Perfect end to a perfect year.

I spent the night at Jo's and she drove me back to Kigali this afternoon. Right up until we left I was hoping his car might pull into the drive or he might text to say he'd changed his mind, but life's not a movie.

I was just so looking forward to 2020. There were so many things I wanted us to do and places I wanted to go, but the combination of his job, my health, and the geographic distance between us was just too much for a new relationship. That's what Kigali was supposed to be about - seeing whether we could live together and wanted to take this further. I guess I have the answer, but it hurts.

Jo and her daughter were amazing. I owe them so much. They also provided kitten therapy. Two babies born behind her house. Cuddling kittens always helps.

 
 


Coming home has been really tough. The chairs are still on the porch where our friends were sitting when we left, the bed's unmade and the place is full of dead flowers. Need to do some tidying up, but think I'll spend the next couple of days examining the underside of my duvet.

Everything hurts, body and soul.

Might still go to Uganda with a friend for New Year, the thought of spending it alone is pretty bleak. Just looking forward to the 31st being over because up until that point you're still thinking about things, but once it's done, it's done.

Going to look after myself, get through the meds, get plenty of sleep, watch endless soppy films and cuddle my cats. 

Here's to 2020.

I'll post again when I have something happier to write about.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Merry Christmas


After my board meeting on Sunday, I went with my fella up to Gisenyi so we could spend Christmas together. We had a fun lunch with his friends in Kigali first, including a large quantity of pink gin. *hic* 

Had a nice couple of days with friends in Gisenyi, fish at Tam Tam and  drinks at Serena, where we had apple pie and ice cream on Christmas Day, despite ear-splitting children's entertainment by the pool.


Not the most relaxing atmosphere at Serena, but we decamped to Inzu Lodge for more drinks and a game of igisoro. It was wonderfully peaceful there and a nice view.





Quiet day celebrating S quitting his job at the tea plantation. He'd worked for the same company for years, then they went bust last year and the gardens in Rwanda were taken over by another company who set about dismantling the community that had built up over the years and generally making people's lives unpleasant. When S went back to India for a holiday earlier in the year, the company moved a random stranger into his house with no consultation, even though there were two other empty houses right next door and he explained how this put a strain on our personal life. They did a load of other petty things too, and just generally acted like arseholes. It seemed they were angling for constructive dismissal so they didn't need to pay severance. Under those circumstances you have two choices: stick it out as life gets progressively more unpleasant or accept that's the way they're going to behave and leave. 

He'd been thinking about it for a while and I think it was completely the right decision. Within minutes of putting in his resignation he was receiving loads of calls from friends and colleagues. A couple actually drove over an hour to come take him for drinks. It was really touching and showed how much people like him and will miss him.

The plan is for me to go back to Kigali with our friend Jo tomorrow to give him time to finish packing, then he's moving down to Kigali with me for some well earned R&R. There's maybe an opportunity on the horizon and we have a couple of friends handing out his CV, but just desperately looking forward to spending some actual time together. We got together in July, so five months, but he was out of the country for one of those. The distance between Gisenyi and Kigali, and his regiment working hours, meant we haven't spent that much time together in reality. I just can't wait to fix that. It'll be hard for sure. There's always two stages to resigning from a job - the thrill of freedom and the panic of 'what next?' but who cares, we can work that out together. For once, we have time.