A VERY WESTERN PROBLEM! Journal of a Westerner in Rwanda

My journal of living in real Rwandan life

I am currently sat in the mid-dark of the small home of Manzi Juvenal in a small village on the outskirts of Kigali city. The bulb has blown because yesterday we were out of power all day in the village from the previous days storm. As we speak there is another thunder storm and the rain bashing down on the tin roof is deafening but also soothing, like being out in the caravan on a British summers day. This morning I was hoping to sit out and enjoy the sunshine and get a bit of a tan but unfortunately, I had to go and visit the local medical centre for an infection in an unspeakable place!


I have just finished dinner of boiled green bananas and small fish in a tomato sauce, cooked outside on the one gas stove.

"There's a little fishy on my little dishy"

I imagine it takes some planning but they seem to have truly mastered it and the food is always hot. The storms and the power cuts do not beat them.


Cooking by candlelight. Nothing stops Rwandans in their tracks!

As long as you have a gas bottle you have food, and even when you don’t you just build a fire. Back to my roots of girl guide camping!




When I first discussed with Manzi about coming to stay at his home he told me the facilities he had. I was a little concerned but as long as I had a flushing toilet I would be fine.


But when I arrived the bathroom facilities were just outside cubicles; one a pedestal in which to place a bowl of water and a bar of soap, the other a well constructed and clean hole in the floor!


The Bath/Shower room!

The toilet...with resident cockroach!



How on earth was I going to cope with this, especially knowing how much I usually need to use the bathroom in the night. Arriving in the middle of the night I did not have time to really adapt to the environment and so I laid wondering if I should have stayed in the comfort of a hotel. But I slept well and felt comfortable enough and in the morning I truly relished bathing out in nature. Listening to the crazy chickens next door, the birds beautiful chirps, the warmth of the air but coolness of the water. Suddenly it all felt ok.


The bathroom facilities


But for a couple of days I had to keep checking in with my reaction. I hate watching these reality programmes where celebrities push themselves into new territories only to complain about ever