In 19994 and 1996 I completed two assignments in Rwanda. The first was a six-month period on the shores of Lake Kivu where one million souls were returning from Eastern Congo. Two years later, tens of thousands, in a second wave were returning home. I was there for a new period of forty-one days. What follows is an entry from my chronical of those days. (View more of the Rwanda Diary stories here)
It was 1994…
The phone call came to my real estate desk in the afternoon. Doug was the East African Director of World Renew, a faith-based Non-Governmental organization, living in Kenya. I was full time in real estate; selling, purchasing and managing rentals, while helping to manage a RE/MAX office in East Lansing. “Would I consider volunteering in a food security crisis that was overcoming Rwanda.” This was post-genocide. As we talked my heart was thumping against my chest. I was ready. It had been almost ten years since I had been in Africa.
I completed two assignments in Rwanda. The first was a six-month period on the shores of Lake Kivu where one million souls were returning from Eastern Congo. Two years later, tens of thousands, in a second wave were returning home. I was there for a new period of forty-one days. What follows is a chronical of those days.
Monday, January sixth
Every adventure begins and ends with a flight…and pain. I am six foot seven. I sat right in front of the bulkhead between an American lady going to Italy and two Dutch ladies. I did not move from the seat for 7.5 hours after two meals and numerous naps. My arthritis is gone. I am permanently numb, stiff, and will never walk or stand correctly again.
At the transfer desk in Amsterdam I was informed I would miss my connecting flight. My travel agent had done a poor job of giving me enough connection time, only 55 minutes, and then we were twenty minutes late in arriving. Partly my fault in not insuring I had enough time. My luggage went to Brussels on a later flight. Stuck without luggage and without a flight to Kigali.
I stayed at the Dorint Hotel near Schiphol Airport. Nice, clean, comfortable, nothing super sharp but more than adequate. I got the run around saying it was not the LKM’s fault and responsibility to put me up. I kept saying, “Your answer is unacceptable!” They insisted I go back to my travel agent. Nevertheless, persistence paid off. I am here and have not paid for anything yet. Now, to get to Rwanda. “Good Night!”