Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Office

Finally my office room is made ready today, 16m2, I like it… I always need a quiet place to work.

New Apartment

Shifted to a new apartment yesterday, finally I could enjoy my own space and absolute privacy. It’s just a mere 67m2 small apartment, but the rent is USD 1400 per mth! This is Kigali. Well, company paid for it.

It’s the smallest unit in the building, at the ground floor, the infrastructure is not class at all and fairly basic. It’s ok… shouldn’t complain.

Look how the toilet bowl was installed. How should I sit on it? With right leg lifting higher, or crossing my right leg over stylishly, or sit facing the bathtub?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Adidas T-Shirt

I know, she tried, and she’s still trying her best to do the job well… but sometimes a little over…

The cleaning lady showed me my Adidas shirt… colour was bleached… I sighed, said, “no problem.” She replied, “thank you.”

What a pity, even though that’s a fake Adidas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Akagera Park, Rwanda

With a colleague and his son, we travelled to Akagera Park yesterday. It was a 2-hr drive from Kigali, border to Tanzania on the east.

We stayed at Akagera Game Lodge, the only hotel situated inside the national park. The official website of this Lodge (last update was in 2008) gave a complete false data of room rates. It was stated USD60 and 80 for a single and double room respectively, instead we were shown the revised rates were USD110 and 150. Ok, fine… we didn’t mind. We checked-in the room, not larger than 3x5m, acceptable clean, but my toilet was partially flooded and a small spider was lying in my bathtub. The only complimentary item – soap, smelled like detergent.

The tourists were countable. The facilities were poorly maintained, the moss-coloured milky opaque pool water was obviously not changed for weeks. Baboons wandered inside the hotel compound, mainly around the restaurant, attracted by the scent of the foods.

We paid the park entrance fees, USD40 for 2 days (or USD30 for 1 day). The park ranger, Charles guided us to the game drive. He said lion has been extinct in this park after 1994 due to unregulated hunting by the farmers to protect their cattle. Unlawful poaching was still happening occasionally. The park was not immense, game (wild animals) was not plentiful. We could get close to the giraffes, impalas within 10m range, but the highly alert zebras, wild hogs and waterbucks fled instantly when our vehicle was approaching.

Hippos and crocs could be seen around the lake and islands. Unfortunately the weather was a little cold, we were told these beasts wouldn’t come ashore for sunbathing, boat trip (USD20 per person) was thus canceled. We saw a few hippos immersing themselves in the lake with their tiny eyes emerging an inch from the water, a few were staring at me when I was standing close to the lake taking photograph.

We drove in the valley this morning and saw a herd of approx. 70 buffaloes drinking at a muddy pond, but a stupid car got too close to them and scared them off back to the bush. Idiot driver!

Elephants could still be seen in this park, but they used to wander far away and hard to be spotted. By chance we saw one… one big pile of fresh elephant shit, but no trace of him.

I never thought of making a safari trip in this mountainous landlocked country. With no high expectation, I enjoyed the trip quite well. Of course the size, variety, organization, quality and value-for-money were no way to compare with my previous Kenya visit.

In general, without the gorillas in the mist, the tourism in Rwanda would be much neglected.

(photos will follow soon)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

“Oui!” or “Ouah!”

Have been working with German company for 15 years… still not able to speak a proper German sentence. 22 mths spent in Philippines, I couldn’t speak Tagalog; 6.5 yrs in Oman and Sudan, I only learned to say “Insyalah”; 2.5 yrs in Bulgaria, my tongue couldn’t roll Bulgarski. Obviously I’m not gifted… (or my secretaries didn’t like to make me clever???)

French is still being widely spoken and used in Rwanda. It is interesting to find the similarities with English, especially some technical terms. By catching the keywords, we could figure out briefly the meaning of an article. This was comparatively harder to understand a German article instead. I heard French is a complicated language. Thinking of picking up a basic French language course, just to prepare myself when someone tells me “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?”, should I reply “Oui!” or “Ouah!”?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kigali Memorial Centre

Visited the Kigali Memorial Centre today, a memorial for 1994 genocide which killed a million. The centre was small but well installed. History of the genocide development was displayed, was quite unexpected to learn that it was programmed by the Belgium ruler then. In fact the genocide had started years earlier until it was pacified by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by the present president in 1994. During this period 2/3 of the populations fled to the neighbouring countries. The majority Hutu tribe set up road blocks in many places, Tutsi was murdered, raped, beaten… Grenades were thrown into the church where women, children and elders were seeking refuge. The notorious radio station broadcasted hatred towards Tutsi meanwhile. UN did not re-act promptly to stop the massacre, they realized too late the severity of this case. The 2nd deployment arrived only after the war was eventually controlled by RPF.

The exhibits comprised of photos and some documentary clips, most of the images were not gory. Thousands of photos contributed by the victims’ family decorated the walls.

Outside the building, there were a few mass graves burying up to 300,000 dead souls. The tidily trimmed garden with blooming roses and wild flowers couldn’t shed off the solemn atmosphere.

Photographing was not allowed inside the building.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


The climate is getting warm lately. The office is facing west and I have to pull the curtains to block the heat, but the air is so stiff!

There is no big river in this mountainous country. The raining season yet to come, and the country is facing water crisis. The pressure was so low that water supply couldn’t reach our house for 4 days. We ordered a full load of water tanker, costs EUR 40! This country is not cheap at all.


Just received from a friend, not new but a good refreshing.
The 1st Affair
A married man was having an affair with his secretary. One day they went to her place and made love all afternoon. Exhausted, they fell asleep and woke up at 8 PM. The man hurriedly dressed and told his lover to take his shoes outside and rub them in the grass and dirt. He put on his shoes and drove home.
'Where have you been?' his wife demanded.
'I can't lie to you,' he replied, 'I'm having an affair with my secretary. We had sex all afternoon.'
She looked down at his shoes and said: 'You lying bastard! You've been playing golf!'

The 2nd Affair
A middle-aged couple had two beautiful daughters but always talked about having a son. They decided to try one last time for the son they always wanted.
The wife got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby boy. The joyful father rushed to the nursery to see his new son. He was horrified at the ugliest child he had ever seen.
He told his wife: 'There's no way I can be the father of this baby. Look at the two beautiful daughters I fathered! Have you been fooling around behind my back?'
The wife smiled sweetly and replied: 'No, not this time!'

The 3rd Affair
A mortician was working late one night. He examined the body of Mr. Schwartz, about to be cremated, and made a startling discovery.. Schwartz had the largest private part he had ever seen!
'I'm sorry Mr. Schwartz,' the mortician commented, 'I can't allow you to be cremated with such an impressive private part. It must be saved for posterity.' So, he removed it, stuffed it into his briefcase, and took it home.
'I have something to show you won't believe,' he said to his wife, opening his briefcase.
'My God!' the wife exclaimed, 'Schwartz is dead!'

The 4th Affair
A woman was in bed with her lover when she heard her husband opening the front door. 'Hurry,' she said, 'stand in the corner.' She rubbed baby oil all over him, then dusted him with talcum powder. 'Don't move until I tell you,' she said. 'Pretend you're a statue.'
'What's this?' the husband inquired as he entered the room.
'Oh it's a statue,' she replied. 'The Smiths bought one and I liked it so I got one for us, too.'
No more was said, not even when they went to bed.
Around 2 AM the husband got up, went to the kitchen and returned with a sandwich and a beer.
'Here,' he said to the statue, have this. I stood like that for two days at the Smiths and nobody offered me a damned thing.'

The 5th Affair
A man walked into a cafe, went to the bar and ordered a beer. 'Certainly, Sir, that'll be one cent.'
'One Cent?' the man exclaimed. He glanced at the menu and asked: 'How much for a nice juicy steak and a bottle of wine?'
'A nickel,' the barman replied. 'A nickel?' exclaimed the man.’
'Where's the guy who owns this place?'’’
The bartender replied: 'Upstairs, with my wife.'
The man asked: 'What's he doing upstairs with your wife?'
The bartender replied: 'The same thing I'm doing to his business down here.'

The 6th Affair
Jake was dying. His wife sat at the bedside. He looked up and said weakly: 'I have something I must confess.'
'There's no need to, 'his wife replied.
'No,' he insisted, 'I want to die in peace.
I slept with your sister, your best friend, her best friend, and your mother!'
'I know,' she replied. 'Now just rest and let the poison work.'

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rwandan Colleagues

Last Friday a come together dinner was organized for our colleagues. The atmosphere turned lively after a few bottles of beer gushing down to the stomach, people no longer sitting rigidly, laughter sprouted here and there. Was a pleasant evening.

Being a “considerably” new comer to this project, it was interesting to observe the relationships among the colleagues, as well as their behaviors and characters.

Most of them are <30 year old, lacking of relevant experience in our field. Probably this is in line with company’s vision to recruit and train more local employees. The idea is good, but not well implemented. The young engineers fresh from the school / university are left idle in the office most of the time, without given appropriate duty, guidance and training.

The talking points had not much about the works, but emphasizing on personal matters. Many were surprised to learn that I am still a bachelor. Of course I would explain the famous “Cow & Milk” philosophy :) many volunteered to introduce their female friends to me… really appreciate their kindness… heh heh…

One said he is going to get married in the next months, and wished to further study. I was curious how could he afford financially? He replied, “God will help me”. I heard this answer not once, and I respected his faith to God. I told him, self effort is more foreseeable and manageable, not sure if he understood what I meant.

After midnight, alcohol had started seizing consciousness of some people. Everyone was in pleasant mood, no aggressive behavior. We checked the bill, someone must be disappointed for our early call to cease their drinking spree.