Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday night, August 11, 2012

Just for the record, I am making peace with my bed net. And I did get two excellent suggestions for how to get up and out of the net at night: wear my headlamp to light everything up or use the light on my phone. Unfortunately, my headlamp is not yet unpacked! And yes, my new phone does have a light on it, so maybe that is my best bet for now.

Today, my big adventure was to complete and fax the request for a wire transfer from my Oak Park bank. I went to the hotel next door (where we go for breakfast) to get some help with the fax. Faxing four pages was quite expensive! Amazing. I asked my banker to e-mail me to make sure it actually got there. I soon heard from her that the fax, indeed, arrived. Sometimes I am still surprised at how our technology works--information going from Kigali to Oak Park! Now, if they will just approve the wire transfer I will have enough money to pay three month's rent this next week! (The rent for my three bedroom house will be $500.00 USD/month. Sure couldn't get that in the U.S.!!)

Most of the folks who got here early with me have now found housing. Many will stay in Kigali; my two MD roommates will move to Butare in the Southwest part of the country. The real difficulty seems to be around transportation. Most seem to be opting for cars, but those in a decent price range are hard to find. In the AM in Kigali, when our HRH people will be trying to get to work, you cannot even imagine what the traffic is like. Maybe I'll try to embed a video of the traffic in my blog. The roads are packed with mini-buses, taxi-motos, lots of people walking, and regular taxis, cars, and trucks. Kigali is a series of hills within hills, so you do a lot of up and down stuff. No one goes anywhere very fast. Many of my colleagues are wondering how they'll ever get to work on time.

Sometimes there are trucks carrying very tall loads: Jeff Williams saw a truck carrying about 12 mattresses of every hue stacked one on top of another. One wonders how they ever got them stacked up so high! And what would happen if they toppled? I saw the same sort of vehicle with plastic chairs stacked up at least six feet high. Come to Rwanda to see the sights! But they are not what you might expect.

My situation in Byumba will be very different. I will only have to walk about 25 feet to my workplace. No car necessary. I can easily ride the bus back and forth to Kigali when I need to go there. Jeff and Brandi Williams have a third bedroom they have already designated as my room for when I visit Kigali. I hope to be able to move on Wed. or Thursday this week. The HRH/CHAI folks will have a van to take me and all my suitcases up to the mountains--great service.

I spent a nice evening tonight with Jeff, Brandi, Garet (their son) and Baby, the dog. Jeff cooked a great supper for us and we talked and talked. I really like Jeff; he is down to earth and someone to whom I feel I can disclose anything. We compared notes on shopping, whether to hire "house helpers" or not (I finally told Jerome today I would like to have a "house person" for just the day time. I do not want anyone to live in my home), and how big all the beds are when we were told that everyone in Rwanda has double beds--we've all had to go out to buy larger sheets than those we brought with us. We discussed who he met while living at the Sports Hotel and who I have met at the apartments. We have each had a very different experience of Kigali even though we were all trying to accomplish the same things.

Tomorrow I will have lunch with Jerome Bushumbusho and his family. It appears that Jerome stays at the school at Byumba during the week and comes to Kigali to his "home" on the weekends. I had mentioned at some point that I would like to see his small daughters, so this will be my chance to meet them and his wife. Jerome said his wife speaks only French, so I will be put to the test. I'm really looking forward to a pleasant time in their home. Jerome is trying mightily to get me to go to church. Not sure we see eye-to-eye on that, but I may have to go sometime to be polite.

None of us have become ill in the past week. Earlier two or three went down with bad G.I. complaints. I know in Mexico they call it "Montezuma's Revenge" Anyone know what they call it in Rwanda???

I am still very tired at the end of every day. I wonder when this will pass? Maybe not at all. I think I will continue to have new experiences every day, and amazing new adventures. If these are what is making me tired, so be it.

Forgot one item. Last night everyone from the project was invited to a restaurant called "Heaven". One of the MDs arranged everything for us. We sat at long tables and had very good food. The highlight of the evening was a group of young dancers. They were all between six and eighteen years. They were earning money for school supplies. They drummed, sang, and did amazing dances. I'm sure this was our first view into what the indigenous people of Rwanda may have done for celebrations, etc.  I had nothing with which to take photos, but one would really only capture it with a video.  Maybe next time.

Many of you are asking for photos. I have not unpacked all my cables yet, so cannot hook the camera up to my computer. Tomorrow I will try photographing with my iPad to see how that works.

I'm getting under my lovely bed net and going to sleep. Bon soir.


  1. I am happy you liked the cell phone light idea. You could also use it for pictures until you get your camera hooked up? AS to $500 month rent that would be expensive for my town here in the US. Ha
    How about a 3wheel bike/scooter? Do they have such things? You go girl!

  2. Carrol, I suspect some measure of your fatigue can be attributed to the elevation. If that is the case, you should notice an improvement in another week or so.
    I enjoy reading your posts! Everything sounds so different and exciting.
    Good luck using the iPad for photos. Last week I was able to record an incoming storm and rainbow over the course of 6 pictures with no problem.
    Take care. Jackee

  3. Ma,

    Some suggestions for naming your local version of Montezuma's Revenge:

    - Welcome to Africa

    - Boil It, Peel It, or You're Gonna Feel It

    - The Byumba Rhumba