Wednesday, 28 March 2012

End of placement

Hi all,
It's coming to the end of my placement. It's quite sad to think about leaving. I've had an absolutely amazing time here. Here are some photos from the past couple of weeks.

Learning traditional Rwandese dancing on St. Patrick's day.

A teacher is using materials to teach the days of the week.

Teaching the street children Shoe the Donkey on St. Patrick's day.
Shoe the Donkey at the St.Patrick's day party. I managed to find shamrock fabric for my dress!

My new friend Felix the Rabbit. He is part of a class project.  He will travel with me on the rest of my journey home. Then I will post him back to his friend, Jesse in the USA.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Me holding the guard's baby - Hirwa Angelo. Hirwa means lucky.

Brigid's wedding

On a visit to my friend Hilarie.
 Looking through the family photo album.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Quick update from Ngororero

Hi all!
I hope all is well in Ireland. Things are good here. Time is flying by. I have only one month of work left.  I’m trying to finish up my projects before I leave.  I am really looking forward to moving home but I know I’ll be very sad to leave my adopted home of Ngororero.  I have made so many friends here that I am sure it won’t be long before I visit Rwanda Nziza (beautiful Rwanda) again. 
I have set up a second library with a mixture of Kinyarwandan books and English books. Thanks a million to everyone who sent me packages.  The kids love the books especially the pop-up books and dictionaries!  They are really enjoying having library time. Even the teachers are enjoying the books and are borrowing them from the library.  It is lovely to see reading time.  It is very quiet but there is a whispering sound as all the children are quietly reading to themselves.  Over time I’m sure they’ll learn to read silently.
This week, I am visiting the UNICEF schools.  UNICEF has bought some teaching materials from Uganda and I’m teaching the teachers how to use them.  It’s been so much fun.  Some have never played with dice before so they’re having a great time.  Dominoes are a big favourite.
St. Mary’s Primary School in Trim has been doing fantastic work raising money to buy solar panels for local schools.  Well done to you all. Between their contribution and other donations there is enough money to buy 4 more solar panels! I’m so excited.  It means that a total of 5 schools will have electricity thanks to contributions from Ireland.  At GS Ngurugunzu (where they received a solar panel last summer) they are using the electricity so the children can study in the evenings.  Also members of the local community can charge their mobile phones.  This facility saves them from having to walk miles to the nearest source of electricity. The neighbouring church can now have music at the Sunday service and the headmaster can charge his laptop.  It’s been fantastic.  One of the other schools has a plan to set up a barbershop when they get electricity so they can cut the kids hair!
The other big news is that one of the volunteers that I arrived with has gotten married.  I attended the wedding.  It was a beautiful day.  Many of the volunteers wore traditional dress.  I will add a photo if the internet connection is good.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Happy New Year

Hi all,
Happy New Year! I’m sorry for the delay in updating my blog but it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. I’ve been travelling a lot for work.  It’s lovely to be back in Rwanda.  Everyone was delighted to welcome me back and the house was thankfully ok.  There had been a bit of a flood in the living room but Saustin (my guard) and I managed to wash the muddy floor quite easily so it wasn’t a big deal.  The weather is fabulous here at the moment.  It’s really nice to see some sunshine after the past couple of dark months in Ireland.
Things are good here.  Last week I started my library project in Nyampingira primary school.  It was a wonderful experience.  Another volunteer and I made the long trip to Sovu for 3 days.  We stayed with the priests.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the priests have electricity and running water.  The children loved the books.  A special thanks to everyone who posted me books.  Now, I am working with 4 UNICEF schools in order to organise teacher resource centres in them. 
Last weekend, I was in Kigali for the VSO welcome dinner.  I met the new volunteers.  It turns out one of them volunteered in Ghana with an Irish girl I know.  It was really nice to meet her and all of the others.  We had a lovely evening which included an attempt at traditional Rwandese dancing by the volunteers.  It was great craic.
One of the new volunteers will be arriving in Ngororero this week.   She will work as a disability volunteer here.  She will be my new housemate so I’m trying to get the house ready for her arrival.  It seems I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff since my arrival and now I’m trying to fit the contents of 2 cupboards into one!

Friday, 9 September 2011

More photos

Lions at Tsavo East National Park, Kenya
A well deserved break at the top of Mount Kabuye. (Thanks for the shirt, Mam!)
View from Mount Kabuye

My summer in Rwanda

The rainy season has started here again.  It reminds me of home although since it is back to school time, I imagine it’s quite warm at home. It’s been an eventful summer so I have neglected my blog.  I have a lot to write about. 
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for their kind birthday wishes.  I received beautiful cards (some handmade by the senders) and lovely presents.  Thank you all so much it is always lovely to hear from my friends and family at home.  I had a great birthday in Ngororero with great friends.  I introduced some of my Rwandese friends to pizza and Irish dancing.  We had a great evening together.
I’ve been blessed with visitors since the start of July.  My friends Kate and Michelle came to visit from the UK and Ireland.  Kate just left yesterday.   I was delighted to be able to show them my adopted country and my new friends.  They both had a brilliant time and were sad to leave beautiful Rwanda.  We visited schools together and Kate even helped me figure out some new tricks on Excel.  It very was sad to say goodbye to them but I am happy that my Rwandan adventure is continuing.
I had a great time while the girls were here.  The highlight for me was the mural of the world map.  It was a great experience.  We had lots of help from the pupils, teachers and other volunteers.  For many of the children it was the first time that they had an opportunity to paint.  We all learned lots about geography and the children had lots of opportunities to practice their English with all of the visitors.  It is something I would definitely love to do again in the future.  I brought Kate to visit it last week and she was very impressed and discovered a few countries to add to her must visit list. 
During the summer Kate, Michelle and I also visited Kenya and saw lots of the tourist sites in Rwanda.  We went on safari which was a first for all of us.  We were very lucky because we saw two lions.  There were lots of elephants, giraffes and zebras.  We had a brilliant day and the sense of adventure increased when the engine of our car went on fire!  Luckily we made it home safely!  Also, we went snorkelling in the Indian Ocean.  It was amazing.
The highlight of my travels around Rwanda this summer was visiting Nyungwe forest.  Kate and I went there to see the Colobus monkeys.  It was the first time that I visited a tropical rainforest.  The views were beautiful.  I will try to add photos when the internet connection is better.  At the moment it is very slow.
Next weekend, the new bunch of volunteers will arrive.  This time last year it was me!  The time has passed so quickly and it is funny to think that we are the veterans that they will look to for advice.  I have learned so much in the past year that it will be nice to be able to pass on some tips to the new volunteers.
The good news at the moment is that I have successfully applied for a grant to create a library at one of my most rural schools.  The school has a high dropout rate for girls so we’re hoping that by giving them responsibility for the library it will act as a motivator for them to come to school.  It any of you would like to be involved you can send a book in very simple English to me at Pauline Quinn, BP 207, Gitarama, RWANDA.  If you like you can write a dedication on the inside with your name and country.  You could even include a photo f yourself if you like.  Thanks in advance for your help.  I’ll post photos of the library when it’s up and running.
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in December. Top of my list is a visit to St. Mary’s P.S. that kindly sponsored the paint for the world map mural. 
Note: I wrote this last week but only managed to post it now.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Hi all,
Sorry for the delay.  The internet has been really bad in Ngororero.  I am in Kigali at the moment because all of the Irish community here have been invited to dinner with the Irish Ambassador to Uganda tonight. I've a blogpost all typed on my computer in Ngororero so I'll post that as soon as possible.
Things are going well. I'm working on a library project at the moment.  I applied for a grant and got about 500euros to start a library in in one of my rural schools.  If you'd like to get involved you can send a book in very simple English to Pauline Quinn, BP207, Gitarama, RWANDA.
I'll leave it at that with a promise to post again really soon.
Best wishes,