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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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.