Starting to feel settled down … after one month!
The pace at work is getting more sustainable and better fit my personality and ways of working. I had the opportunity to start the shop floor visits of the two main warehouses (receiving and distribution) and two District Pharmacies (DPs) in Kigali, Nyarugenge and Gasabo. DPs are the first customers of the distribution network. This was great as I start to better understand relationships between customer and supplier, therefore the whole organization of the Supply Chain. Next steps will be to visit DPs along the seven other distribution routes serving the country’s DPs (within the 4 provinces ie Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern), as well as some Health Centers and Hospitals. Focusing only on the overall Supply Chain, one key aspect we will look at is how to minimize and hopefully eliminate the “nice” bullwhip effect which today inflates demand therefore stocks and overall cost, mainly around HIV related products. I am looking forward to dive into the complexity of the network in order to find efficient solutions together with the teams. I am today very grateful to all the teams I have been working with so far. They are hard workers, proud of what they do, working to find a way to always deliver to their customers and, I can tell you, very far to have the working conditions we are so use to and take for granted.
I finally got my permanent visa which is the equivalent of a working permit. I think this made a whole difference in my mind on how to feel integrated. I waited for two and a half weeks, without my passport on hands, just a photocopy everywhere I went … not always a good feeling being French in Rwanda.
Continuing to discover the life in Kigali, from local to expat, I like to vary my activities. So from election party night organized in a very nice American restaurant last Tuesday to the local Kimironko market, I have experienced one of the paradoxes of Africa. Election night was among Americans, foreigners and upper class Rwandan, very luxurious environment, big screen for live broadcast, waiting for the name of the more powerful man on Earth. From 6pm on Tuesday to 9am on Wednesday, I have to say the crowd was quite excited. It was fun.
Sunday morning I decided to go to Kimironko market, one of the several markets in Kigali, recommended by locals. Still driving to find a parking spot around the market, I had two young men around my car to see if I could hire one of them to carry my bag while shopping. They almost broke my bag when I got out of the car! They all look for the job, even though they charge you around 500 RwFr which is not even 1USD. Faustin who was the first one, got the job for 1h, time to shop my vegetables and fruits. He was very nice and even helped me negotiate. The rule is negotiation for everything you buy, even though sometimes it sounds ridiculous to negotiate one avocado costing about 80 cents! But if you don’t, they take advantage of you as a foreigner, and I definitely noticed it. By the way, I did not see a lot of foreigners in the market, maybe because of what we would call hygiene. Either you dive into their culture for one hour and buy, or you leave. And when you leave, you are still approached by beggars. I did not dare to take pictures as it was not recommended by friends.
Last week, I learned how to play Igisonro. It is a Rwandan strategic game where you need to win the beads of your opponent before he does yours. A friend from South Africa bought the game and after not being really sure of the rules, we asked the server of the local restaurant where we were having diner to teach us. We played for about two hours. It was a lot of fun. The server won me in 5 min in the first round. As I do not like to loose and I like strategic game, I won the second round … in more than 5min. I was quite proud of myself. And I did not let my friend win against me, not even one round. I plan to buy the game and teach my family during our game nights at home!
A contemporary dance festival was organized in Kigali last week, with companies from East Africa, UK and US, in celebration of Differences and Cultivating Peace. The performance I went to was fantastic. The first dance was called “Darfur”, telling the story of how a genocide can break a family. It was amazing how the dancers were able to share these strong feelings of anger and sadness. It was beautiful. The second dance called “Frontier” expressed the walls that we build among ourselves to avoid sharing and discovering other people, other cultures. It was poetic and strong. It was a great evening.