Tuesday, 24 July 2007


From here in Rwanda we are hearing stories of the terrible floods back at home and I've just seen the weather forecasts for the UK.

On our orphanage building project we also have a water problem. It is the dry season and it hasn't rained since early June. Three days ago the local water standpipe ran out and now we are having to bring in water from a well 2km away - remember this is in the capital city. Making cement and concrete is very challenging. Two of our volunteers went to collect water from the well this afternoon and were immediately surrounded by a large crowd - they had never seen white people doing everyday work like this.

The project is going very well. After an 11 hour day today we have now nearly completed the restoration of the old classrooms and the roof is going on the new one. Yesterday I helped the children to put hand prints along the wall of their school. These children have never held a paint brush. We had great fun - though washing 80 pairs of hands in an inch of water was a skill! Today David Cameron came to join us, worked hard and then added his hand print.

We have been making letter building blocks for the children. When I showed these to the teachers they were delighted. With so few teaching aids really simple things like this will make a difference. Some of the original genocide orphans came back on their day off work today and helped - there is a very strong feeling of voluntary and community work in this country.

At dinner last night we had a debrief from each of the 20 projects that are going on with our group. Everything from GPs working in isolated rural villages and lawyers helping to rebuild the legal system to cricket and football training to microfinance to IT and marketing classes. I feel very honoured to be here.

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