As you will know by now, we have been working for Kopakama and have had many adventures. But what you might not know is what we do in our spare time… So, we thought it would be a good idea for you to understand what R&R (Rwanda and Recreation) we have participated in. (Before you ask, it isn’t drinking beer or going to a nightclub whenever we get the chance!)
Draughts, Dama & Cards
For us volunteers we don’t have access to Xboxs or PlayStations, instead we have traditional Rwandan games, our favourite being Draughts. Here is a brief instruction manual on how to play
Overview: Draughts is a game where two players use bottle tops to take each other out.
Rules: Tops can only be taken diagonally and with a space between the top, otherwise it cannot be taken. The winner is the one who can take the most bottle tops first.
Despite the ICVs having a good track record against the UKVs; the UKVs are substantially gaining ground on the ability of the ICVs.
Thankfully all volunteers are very competitive when it comes to playing cards; such games have included Snap, Sevens, Spoons and the Joker game. The tension, thrills and spills of our games have produced many memorable victories and defeats for those involved.
Exercise & A Little Dance Competition
Every morning volunteers who are willing and able, walk up to Kopakama to participate in 30 minutes of rigorous and tiring exercise. This has been a great opportunity to burn all of the carbohydrates that we have been eating here and trust me there has been a lot, and it is an additional opportunity to get out the stress!
If there is one thing that Rwandans and Britons both love, it is dancing. However, to stir things up the UK volunteers thought it would be a great idea to introduce the ICVs to some classic film music. For instance, Dirty Dancing, Grease and Saturday night fever. All volunteers were required to mix-up into pairs and put their all into trying not to break a leg. Whilst I may not be auditioning for the Westend Dirty Dancing, it was nevertheless a good way to show off my brilliant moves.
There is nothing like a bit of escapism to break up the work that we have been doing. Films that we have watched have included frightening horror films such as Split (2017), moving biographies such as The Intouchables (2011), thrilling action films like The Great Wall (2016) and heart-breaking romance in Beautiful Creatures (2013). The films have been a brilliant break up from the work we have been doing and if you have any suggestions put them in the comments below :) we are running out of ideas!
The BIG Wedding
The benefit of living in a tightly knit community is that everyone knows each other very well. Lizzie, Devota and Grace’s family member Helen enjoyed her wedding on the 27th August 2017.
We attended the civil and church service. The civil service involved the wedded couple (Helen and Jean Claude) coming to Kopakama and enjoying a lovely meal (which we had the honour of serving!) Afterwards there was a church service to commemorate their love. It was a very lovely day and our team were very glad to be witness to a ceremony that not only represents the culture of the country but also the love that the two individuals share.
Washing has been one of the biggest tasks for many of the UK volunteers. In Rwanda, the access to washing machines is minimal. Therefore, volunteers have no choice but to wash all of their clothes by hand. Whilst the process may sound difficult to us, our counterparts make it look easy. If your washing machine ever breaks, here’s a handy guide to washing your clothes…
Step 1) Take an everyday shirt. Simply dunk the shirt into a bucket full of water
Step 2) Then using soap, rub the neck, sleeves, waist and any other dirty areas
Step 3) When it’s nice and soapy, grab two parts of the shirt and rub together to get rid of the dirt
Step 4) To finish it off, plunge the shirt into another bucket of water before ringing it out to dry
It usually takes us 2 hours to wash 7 days of clothing. Whilst it may not be the most enjoyable activity in the world, it is certainly a necessary job and has been a worthwhile experience that the we have learnt a lot from.
I hope that this has given you a sound insight into what we get up to in our spare time. As I am sure you are now aware, this experience is more than the volunteering work. It is a chance to make new friends and bond over activities - reflecting the very best of our cultural norms. There is no doubt this is an experience will stay with us forever. Although I can safely save I will be back to using a washing machine, when I get back home!
Thanks for reading, until next time!