Small towns are the same all over the world.
Returning to Rwanda:
I over loaded my suitcases coming back from the USA, thus when I was going through check in I had to get rid of books and magazines due to weight restrictions. Thank goodness they don’t restrict back packs as I had three computers in it. Two were for my new friends in Huye.
Huye is a small town with interesting people from university setting. There are six thousand students but there is only on campus housing for the women and any extra dorm space is given to genocide victims.
At church I meet, Min-ho, a South Korean a dental student, who is now my maven regarding all things Rwandan. Afterwards, we walked around town. He showed me where to buy meat at the local market. He said to pay no more than 300 rwf for motor cycle taxis, covered which bus to take -Horizon buses- even which side of the bus to sit on to stay out of the sun when going to Kigali. While we were walking around Huye, we ran into Blaise, who the logistics manager from the plant.
Later in the week, at the local coffee café, I met Dan, from Dallas, who knows Min-ho. His father has a ministry that works with the university students. He is going to be in Huye until December 10th. I see him around town and at the coffee café all the time as I have become a regular due to the lack of internet at work.
The minister from church is at the coffee shop daily. He helped me find a place to buy a bike and being a leader in town we stopped every 20 meters to say greet someone he knew. The best part is he found out what other people paid for their mountain bikes so I knew what to expect to pay.
Richard, the plant manager, found the house for me to rent. I also was able to get a house mate. Renato Menezes is from San Palo Brazil so we got to be house mates for two weeks. I taught him how to cook. He taught me about Brazil. He found reading about his culture represented in “Understanding Global Cultures – Metaphorical Journey through 29 nations, clusters of Nations, Continents, and Diversity, interesting. He is volunteering by looking at the costs of the plant as his experience is with Bain Capital. I love their motto _There is always a way… When there was no data for the market share of Guinness beer in South Africa a Bain consultant picked various bars to collect the beer caps and mail them to him. He then counted up the beer caps to figure out the market share.
When we go to work, we bring a bag so we can swing by the market for our daily shopping along with getting a free French lesson during the negotiatons. Renato and I practiced French with each other and I am helping him with his English.
At lunch, we found out where the students eat. Medical, Dental and Pharmacy students all eat together at the UMUCYO restaurant. They have big pots of rice, potatoes, yams, cooked green beans and black beans, cooked spinach and red sauce in which is self service. All for 500 rwf (~75 cents) vs. 2000 rwf for a salad at the Barthos next to the university. The most important thing is that it is fast i.e. in and out in less than 30 minutes verse 90 minutes at most restaurants. Another plus is the soda is the 300 rwf vs. 500 rwf at the coffee shop, but the coffee shop has the WIFI. Even the students that we ate with knew Min-ho as they have classes together.
Since at work we did not have internet, Alex helped us out by letting us use his TIGO modem so we could buy air time every day. Alex was recently promoted to a manager position at the Barthos, so I gave him all my management books and Fortune magazines that I had brought back from the USA.
At work we have instituted daily 9 am meetings and added an accountability board. Employees are wearing the safety glasses that I ordered from Amazon and which was also in my luggage. I have been coaching the plant manager about the importance of the shadow of the leader. If he does not wear his safety glasses, then the employees will not wear theirs. He and the QC manager have done a good job of being a role models for their employees.
We completed the Internal audit for the QA\ QC department and just finished the audit of Production. The goal is the get the QC laboratory ready for WHO prequalification. There SOPs to put in place, practices to be changed, and documentation control to be instituted. Needless to say we are working vigorously to close gaps so the laboratory can be prequalification by WHO.