Friday, 20 July 2007

Learning from Rwanda

I believe I have learnt more about the realities of living in an emerging country in the past 3 days than I did in 14 years working on emerging market projects as a banker in the City of London.

Yesterday we ran out of paint at our pre-school project so I went with Eugene to get some. Buying a pot of paint took 1 1/2 hours.. then you have to go to another shop to buy a brush and another for white spirit or parafin. These sort of logistics challenges are faced every day - even in the capital city of a country like Rwanda where actually the economy is improving.

On a more practical level I have been taught plastering skills African style by some of our local workers and Kudogo, one of the orphans still living at Girubuntu, has spent the past 3 days glued to my MP colleagues who are teaching him carpentry.

The children have finished their exams - yes even the 5 year olds - and have had a couple of days off. We will all be working really hard over the weekend to get the classrooms ready for them on Monday morning.

p.s. I've been trying to upload some pictures but there is no Broadband here and the pc keeps crashing. Nicola, who came here to teach music, as found herself teaching excel and word every day to 40 pupils in their late teens and twenties. The class shares two ancient computers. She made them some cardboard keyboards last night - they are over the moon! What a different world.

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