A young boy came to the office yesterday accompanied by an elder teenager asking for donation. The boy presented his academic result trying to convince us his effort. Both of them are deaf and mute… I gave EUR2.50, so did my colleague. Probably he would visit other offices in the same building asking for the same.
The amount is small, but EUR5 is equivalent to 3 full day wages of a casual labour in Rwanda. Life is difficult here I strongly sensed. It is much more vulnerable for persons like them to survive in this country where unemployment stands high. Many jobless people are seen gathering in particular places hoping for a mercy of job offer to meet their daily needs.
Guessed I had food poisoning. Since after dinner the day before, stomach was over stuffed. Lost my appetite completely yesterday, only had 2 slices of bread for the whole day. Back home from office, the pain intensified, the intestines were spraining with gust of vomiting (but nothing was thrown out). Battled for a few hours, crawling in and out from the toilet, almost collapsed at one point… today, I consumed only 1 slice of bread and a few pieces of biscuit.
Every last Saturday of the month is fixed as the nationwide cleaning day, normally from morning till noon. People are encouraged to participate in this communal activity though not compulsory. I have not contributed any effort so far.
Our client had a fantastic thought and organized an Umuganda today to help a school expansion construction. All the contractors were “invited” (“summoned”) to participate this special occasion. We, a crowd of approx. 200 persons gathered at 7am at their office, but departed an hour later… Every participant prepared their own tools – shovel, hoe, digger. No one organized the works at site but we carried out the works spontaneously where necessary. We were digging and plowing the soil, transferring heap of stones. I had not touched the shovel for more than 10 years, this “hard” work exhausted me after ½ hr. The thought of a casual labour’s daily salary of EUR 1.80 flashed over my mind… tough life for them!!
The atmosphere was light, we made some harmless stupid jokes. It provided me a platform to meet new friends and acquaintances. A videocam recorded the hard effort of the Ministers and VIP, though they joined us much later.
At 11am, the activities stopped and we were directed to a restaurant. Ministers gave some short speeches. An anthem of Umuganda was sung (nice song). No food was prepared but just a bottle of soft drink.
I really appreciate the effort they are contributing on their land.
Colleague said 6 East African countries – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Congo and Rwanda are planning to form an EU-like union. The import duties among the countries would be waived, single currency to be introduced, residents could cross border freely etc. I really doubt this is a good idea at present stage. The political stability remains doubtful, considering Kenya’s and Uganda’s recent unrest. Forming such an union requires relatively well organized governmental structures and regulations, and strict obedient to mutually agreed accord.
Comparing to its neighbours, Rwanda has much lower criminal rates, better organized and cleaner government. The effort of the incumbent rulers to establish a financial hub of the continent is shaping up in great pace, with Switzerland as a successful model. The limitations of this landlocked cum mountainous country do not permit large scale of industries establishment. It is a great advantage when Rwandan could enjoy a much lower import duties.
I’m still having doubt if this idea would bring a better future to this country in short run. Some said international organizations like UN are gradually shifting their regional office to Rwanda due to its more stable politics and social status.
Pretty busy lately… but I enjoyed it. Am trying hard to organize all info in order. Now is the most crucial moment to strengthen the project background, would be essential for later stage. I know my time and capability is limited, but the 2 local assistants employed had not reached my expectation after 3 months, couldn’t really hand over responsibility to them. Today the new secretary (a man, though I prefer a lady for this position) has reported to work, hope he wouldn’t disappoint me.
A colleague has just left the site, part of his works are taken over by me. Sometimes I did like the “stress”, it forced me to react swiftly and more decisively. It’s kind of satisfaction when I look back later the volume of works I have completed and achieved. When the works get routine, I would feel bored again.