I arrived safely in Kigali Friday night after about 24 hours bouncing between airports and airplanes. I checked into my hotel and promptly began Skyping until the travel-induced exhaustion from the past day kicked in and I fell soundly asleep.
Around 9am, I woke to the sounds of people working outside. This was the last Saturday of the month, Umuganda, a national day of community service. This can include building projects, agricultural and environmental work, or anything that will benefit the local or national community. On Saturday, I saw that my neighbors were cleaning up the streets and maintaining the landscaping and gardens of nearby properties. Umuganda is about having stake in the success of one’s community by coming together to achieve a common goal. Since its official launch as a national program 7 years ago, it has contributed an estimated value of $60 million to the nation’s development. I find the idea really interesting and I am looking forward to learning more about it, and hopefully getting in the mix myself.
The rest of my days have been spent testing out the local restaurants, catching World Cup matches, navigating the moto traffic as a pedestrian, viewing rental properties for the rest of my stay, and constantly adjusting my network settings in a futile attempt to improve my internet connectivity (The internet is actually better than expected! But that doesn’t stop me from trying). Oh, and work! I am about halfway through my second day with CHAI. I am looking forward to more information about my specific project details and expectations, but have kept busy learning more about HRH in general, and about some of the other work CHAI is doing in Rwanda.
This Friday is Independence Day in Rwanda, as well as the US, so I will be interested to see what our celebrations have in common (other than date), and how they differ.
Feel free to send your questions and comments my way! I’ll report back later!