Monday, May 13, 2013

A fourth "mzungu"

Since we had such an eventful weekend, we had quite the low-key day today. In the morning, Jamie taught a case focussing on the organizational structure of a university in Kenya, and the problems one of its satellite campuses was facing. It was an interesting case, but from the level of contribution today, it was evident that the students are much more comfortable with quantitative analysis.

After class, we were greeted by our house assistant once again, who seemed even faster this time, with the washing of the floors and all of our laundry. After changing out of our formal work wear, we made our way to the upstairs canteen to eat lunch with some young professors who have become our good friends. They were keen to hear our stories from the weekend, but I'm fairly certain the parts about the bat pee and baby vomit made them lose their appetites ever so slightly.

The appetites here, by the way, are incredibly large! People at the buffets load up their plates in a sort of pile, referred to as a volcano. They do not believe in second helpings, so everyone loads up their small plates, and manages to finish every last grain of rice. We learned that this is due to the fact that for many of the students, lunch is their only meal in the day, and they therefore must load up on carbs, through the sheer amount of food they consume mid-day. Overall though, this culture does place an emphasis on lunch as the biggest meal of the day, rather than dinner as we're used to back home. This is simply because having a large dinner is not ideal for digestion before bed!

After lunch, two assistants from the facilities management team came by our house, to set up space for three extra beds. Alex, our student director of the case teaching program from Ivey, as well as our Professor, Dr. Nicole, and her niece will all be joining us this week. They only brought one bed for Alex today, but rearranged my room to be able to fit two extra beds, and dropped off the linens for all three. Alex arrived just a few minutes later, and we were thrilled to see him! We sat for a while just catching up, sharing our experiences in the classroom and outside, and hearing about all of his adventures at the two other campuses he's visited thus far, in Ghana and Ethiopia. Already the group dynamic has changed, and it will be interesting to see how it changes further when Prof. Nicole and her niece arrive on Wednesday. Having six people in our small house will definitely be an adventure!

In the evening, the four of us went downtown to pick up more supplies for the week. We then went to dinner at a cafe that has a famous grilled chicken-avocado sandwich that Alex has been craving since he was last in Kigali, over a year ago. Unfortunately though, 10 minutes after ordering, we were told that they were out of chicken. We had already received our drinks, so we stuck around and ordered alternate menu items, but again, five minutes later we were told they were out of certain key ingredients. By the time our food eventually arrived, we were starving, and probably could've eaten volcanoes, Rwandan style. Instead, we had a la carte items which were thankfully delicious. We will definitely be confirming that they have chicken next time, before we sit down!

At night we re-stocked our kitchen, and worked on our preparations for the upcoming teaching days. We're staying up super late tonight, to stream the hockey game at 1am. We all support different teams in the NHL, but I'm a Leafs fan, and the boys don't want Boston to win, so we're ALL cheering on the Leafs in game seven tonight!

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