georgebrose2008

July 14, 2008 Kigali

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Sunday I  completed the two day training with the university students and today began the first day of a five day session with mediators and conflict res. workers from the Quakers here in Kigali. We have a nice debut with a revision session, sort of a question and answer session regarding the work they have been doing. It lasted all day and I'm only about halfway through their questions. Mostly I send them into discussing the problem themselves and add a few comments at the end. I think they need a lot of affirmation that they are doing the right thing. At the end of these courses some of them will meet at a regional meeting to discuss what adaptations they might need to make to fit the Rwandan, Burundian and Congolese cultures. Then a multi-lingual training manual will be made.

I think I mentioned that yesterday I was supposed to meet with a friend I had made last year, but he had to cancel. Instead, he came out to the training site this morning to greet me and spoke to the group I was with, hoping that perhaps his government department of community development could connect and cooperate with the Quakers in the future. If this were to occur, it would really be an act of synchronicity in the universe.

The current course is made up of employees of the Peace Center, pastors, the director of the center, a teacher of the schoo for street children, Gaston, whose wife Joyce is doing the translating. She is a beautiful woman in brilliant African dress, speaks wonderful English and just does a superb job of helping us all communicate. I teach in English and the hosts speak in Kinyarwandan. We mix a bit of French in as well when Joyce infrequently searches for a word. She is Rwandan, but she grew up in Uganda where English was the language of school instruction. No all of the participants speak French. I will try soon to send pictures of some of the people I see every day.

I finally have news that Marie and grandaughter Anne Frederique arrived safely in Montreal. They almost missed the train in Windsor, but that is behind them. So I can relax a bit.

Still dray and dusty, but not so hot today. Apparently there was two days of good rain last week, but no sign of it now. There is a lot of smog in Kigali from charcoal stoves and diesel combustion. Even the house where I say has a charcoal smell as there are several braziers burning in the kitchen. The big difference though is the absence of running water, and there are hundres of Guna Din's in our neighborhood delivering water to homes. Last year it ran from the taps once a week, but not this year. I'm not sure how extensive this condition is throughout Kigali, but it certainly makes one appreciative of the presence of clean water coming from a tap. All our water is boiled and flat tasting. In the bathroom there are two 15 gallon plastic cans of water. The workers fill these as needed. The biggest use is to flush the toilet, then cooking and dishwahing, clothes washing and finally self washing. I can do a complete bath now with about a half gallon of water and shave and brush my teeth as well. All that water also goes into the toilet afterwards. Sorry if this bores or disgusts you, but this is how people live. And we have it better than most here. The carriers get about 10 cents for a five-gallon can. The water is free from a standpipe in our neighborhood. I don't know how far it is between pipes. I haven't seen another one. Kids carry for their families, but there are some adults who are making a living doing this. They can get four five-gallon cans in a wheelbarrow or carry one in each hand and one on their head.

Got to sign off now as my hour is almost gone.

George


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