Friday, July 24, 2009

Day One

Provigil is a wonderful thing when traveling, I've actually managed to feel reasonably coherent all day despite just a few hours of sleep in the past few days.

Our meeting with the Supreme Court Justice went well, my French was passable (barely), but in the end they found that a staffer there that could go from Kenyarawandan to English was far more effective, having a shared world view with the Justice made communication far easier. She was very supportive of the mission of the project and supportive of the overall goal of making this information available as widely as possible.

The people of Rwanda have been uniformly friendly. From our taxi driver to the grocery store checker, they are all quick to smile and patient even as we know none of their native tongue. French is far more prevalent than I had thought it would be, and English is also quite common, so strangely I find interacting with the locals here far easier than when in Peru or even Mexico.

Kigali is in many ways a spitting image of the other large cities I've been to in developing countries. Full of cars and intense traffic, motorcycles threading by cars (saw one with an eight foot ladder on board today) and people walking about everywhere. The city is home to well over a million people during the day but in the evening a mass exodus ensues as everyone returns home to the surrounding areas. It is hard to know where Kigali ends and where these begin, the city sprawling across the hillside, itself a giant bowl, as far as the eye can see.

I had a minor panic attack this afternoon as the laptop I bought and configured specifically for the project failed to boot, indicating that the hard drive wasn't working. Thankfully, twenty screws later (all via a UtiliKey no less) I found that the drive had just unseated itself and we were back in business.

The rest of the group has been here a week now, I am a late arrival. Most of them are involved in a project working with a youth group called 'Never Again Rwanda' teaching ten students about cinematography. The goal is to help them film and produce their own short over the course of a few weeks. That is a tall order, but Nell and Mark, the two film experts on the team are making solid progress.

From what I have heard from the others, the food situation here has been a bit of a mixed bag. I seem to have lucked out tonight though, as we discovered a fantastic (but swank) Indian restaurant. The food was fantastic and it was a great reward for the rest of the team which has been hard at work for the past week.

Now it is time to try to get my clock working on by Rwandan standards, so off to bed, hopefully to wake refreshed sans chemical enhancement.

1 comment:

  1. Met with Supreme Court Justice - Check
    Fixed hard drive with utility knife - Check
    Discovered new bird song - Check

    Just another day at the office eh?

    Glad to hear all is well!