Monday, January thirteenth.
As I write I have a 40-year-old-man with a six-foot tree branch wiping out the spiders and cobwebs off the ceilings and walls. Works perfectly. I took a shower this morning, no hot water although the house is plumbed for it. It will take stoking up a wood burning boiler. As I stepped out of the shower I noticed the water was turning brown, then darker, and finally it looked like coffee. I let it run. Twenty minutes later it cleared up. I will give it a couple of days and then take a drink. Hopefully, I will be home before Montezuma’s revenge hits.
I am itching to be in the villages and getting my hands on some real work. I am hanging around home until the phone service is hooked up. The house is wired but not had service for three years. I drove to RwandTel to pick up the technician. In less than twenty minutes I had service until I discovered that it will not get me out of the areas. For long distance, why else would I want a phone, I had to write an official letter, hand deliver it to the Telcom office for an endorsement, then with 10,000 Rwandan Francs to the local bank for a deposit. Sounds like a lot of money but RF310 is equal to one USA dollar. After all that, we had phone service except it sounds like hens scratching the ground.
OSHDA would be shocked. The local blacksmith does not have any protective eye gear nor even a pair of working pliers. The power is hot-wired illegally off a neighbor’s power box. The wire is stripped so other bare wires can be attached to run other power tools. Fascinating, creative, and innovative. The poverty within town is appalling. Children are playing soccer with rolled up plastic bags tied with twine for a soccer ball. Still, I saw no overt hunger but no one is overweight. And this is Gitarama, one of the larger, more prosperous towns. Wait until next week.
Tuesday, January fourteenth.
Another attempt at phoning home. The line was clear but no one picked up. Not sure why. I am sure they were home because it was 2:00 A.M. their time. Tonight, the line was dead.
Five minutes after leaving Gitarama the diesel engine started to clatter. Sounds like a lifter went bad. I tried to limp into Kigali, 48 kilometers away. Fifteen miles later, going up a steep incline, it gave out. I locked, parked, and left it. I walked a couple hundred yards to an open market and caught public transport in a jam packed sweaty filled mini-van. It is pedal to the metal, alternately, the accelerator then the brake, and full on prayer as we entered on particularly sharp curve. Thirty minutes later at the cost of sixty-five cents, I was in town. Later in the afternoon, Keith and I went out with the Land Cruiser and pulled it in.
Wednesday, January fifteenth.
Today was the first day we went to villages and started networking with local government officials as to the real need of returning refugees and displaced persons. Then we drove over to Kibuye where we worked two years previously. The Chinese have taken the hotel over and have the contract for a new road which the World Bank is financing. I met Ruche. Her English name is Ruth but it comes out Ruche. She is a widow. Her husband was killed. She has four children. She will do the house cleaning and maybe some food preparation.