Life Update – Relocated (again)

Bonjour readers, how’s things?

Yes, for anyone who noticed, it has indeed been a little while. There have been changes afoot over here, as February marked the end of my year in Kigali. It was really sad to leave beautiful Rwanda; I’d made such a happy life there and met such wonderful people. But I got to enjoy two whirlwind weeks back in Europe, full of catchups with friends and family, before heading to my home for the next year – Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic.

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So far Bangui has exceeded expectations (largely formed via Google searches… not recommended) by a mile. The town centre is small but bustling and vibrant. Places to eat are simple but with tasty food and friendly atmospheres. There’s a 33m pool right by the river which is an unexpected bonus. And of course the work is great. I’m working on a service that helps families find and contact lost loved ones. It is an absolute privilege and I love it.

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(This guy was chilling in our garden yesterday like it was nbd)

So yeah, so far so good, with the major exception that I was parted from my beloved Janome for almost two months (weep)! I packed her up in a trunk in Kigali back in February and sent her ahead. Customs and bureaucracy and whatnot conspired to keep us apart but finally the trunk was delivered to my new home and I got to ceremoniously unpack.

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(this was me unpacking the Janome… and Marmite)

I brought a very limited range of clothes to CAR. I knew that there was the possibility of having to leave quickly and I didn’t want to bring anything I was sentimentally attached to… Unfortunately given that most of what I wear was made either by me or my Granny, this didn’t leave a whole lot. I arrived with a few pairs of cotton trousers and linen shirts (all RTW – thanks uniqlo), plus two handmade skirts and one handmade dress. Needless to say the rotation felt monotonous within the first week, especially in contrast to the beauuuutiful outfits worn every day by my Central African colleagues. Those are some classy styling ladies.

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I brought a few pieces of fabric out with me, including this amazing Michael Miller flamingo borderprint which I managed to get on a sneaky speedvisit to the Village Haberdashery between London catchups. It is destined to be a dress for a friend’s wedding in June. Obviously I also need to make time soon to find some local fabric sellers. I’ve seen some wild and fabulous prints around town (commemorative Pope visit dress anyone?) and I want in on that action.

Siobhan xx

Changes (& Instasnaps)

Hello!

It’s been quite a long time since my last post. Four months in fact. Oops!! In fairness there’s been change afoot on the real-life/work front: I am now a proud resident of Kigali, Rwanda!

It was a change that I knew was coming, but ended up happening in rather a more whirlwind manner than anticipated. Essentially, I finished my old contract in Geneva on a Friday in February and the following Tuesday was sitting on a plane to Rwanda. Boom.

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This is not now nor has ever been a blog about work, but suffice it to say that this move pretty much represents all my professional dreams come true. I get to continue working for an organization I love, but in a role with much more direct people-contact. So far it is everything I hoped for and I love it.

Kigali meanwhile is a ridiculously lovely place to live. For anyone who doesn’t know, Rwanda is a little landlocked country tucked between Tanzania, Burundi and DRC. It is stunningly and endlessly beautiful. Rolling green luscious hills in all directions. On top of that the infrastructure is amazing (think perfectly paved roads all over the country) and Kigali itself is this fascinating hub of new enterprise, with startup coffee shops and dance studios and great restaurants. All-in-all I feel extremely lucky to be living here.

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I’ve no intention of stopping sewing, but since getting out here I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I want to continue this blog; whether it feels appropriate. As much as I LOVE following the blogs of other sewists (I really do) there is something undeniably narcissistic about blogging photos of yourself, which I was suddenly very conscious of. So I was tussling with that.

I decided in the end that I will keep blogging. Maybe just once a month. I struggle to keep a diary and am not great at correspondence, and this blog goes a little way to ticking both of those boxes. But at the same time, I’ll try and mix it up a bit. A few photos of my makes, but also some showcasing of the fabulous creativity of the Kigali sewing scene. From fabric shops and stalls to tailors and designers, to sewing co-ops. There’s lots to share, and that way hopefully it won’t feel quite so ME ME ME!!

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I hope that makes sense and that you’ll keep reading the blog. My sewing machine is currently in a trunk somewhere between Geneva and Kigali, so I’ll let you know when it arrives.

Siobhan xx