Observations from Rwanda: January 25, 2021

We returned to Rwanda from a Christmas break in Nebraska on January 8. International travel is certainly different and challenging in the era of COVID. We’ve now had around 15-16 COVID tests – we’re starting to lose track. We’ve been blessed to be relatively protected from COVID, living in Rwanda with, until recently, very low infection rates, and in the campus bubble at the Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA) last term and now this term. All who reside in the campus bubble are tested, quarantined, and re-tested before being released in the bubble. The tradeoff is that we don’t leave the bubble, for the most part. Thus we get to know the 130 or so students and staff in the bubble pretty well during the three month term.

Richard Ferguson

Returning RICA students inspect the status of their crops after a month-long break between terms for the holidays. Lake Kilimbi is in the background, as is the temporary fence forming the bubble boundary. January 19, 2021.
A task for several RICA students after being released from quarantine was to catch up on laundry. January 17, 2021.
After spending almost a week confined to their rooms, students were glad for some exercise. January 17, 2021.
RICA’s main lecture facility, Rufunzo Hall, was modified over the break with a glass panel across the front. This facility allows faculty and guest speakers from outside the campus bubble to enter the building and teach in-person, without direct contact with those inside the bubble. January 18, 2021.
Students and staff continue to be diligent about wearing masks, even though they live in a bubble with others who are COVID-free. January 18, 2021.
Land preparation for the next growing season on student farms. January 22, 2021.
The first day of lab in Biology 2, dissecting rabbits. January 19, 2021.
A butterfly near our patio. January 11, 2021.
Mangoes are currently maturing on campus. Consequently vervet monkeys are continually around the mango orchards on student farms, consuming a steady diet of fruit, to the frustration of faculty and students. This is the first of a series of monkeys who posed for portraits on January 23, 2021.
This beach spider lily is planted in the rain garden capturing runoff from our house roof. January 23, 2021.

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