Muraho (hello) all,
On Friday, our fourth day in country, the water team started organizing the water information and doing some research in order to figure out what questions to ask the community and the sector engineer who has been helping them with their project.
Innocent, the welder, surprised the team on Thursday night by revealing that the cart had been welded, so the cart team set off to Safintra Friday morning to pick up the cart and bring it to Sunpreme, the machine shop where the wheel clamps and battery box were being fabricated.
After returning for lunch at Centre Christus, the whole team headed out to the market, where many of our members placed orders for custom clothing made of local Kitenge fabric from Liliosa, the EWB team’s go-to vendor.
The team had a great pizza dinner at Sole Luna, and then went to bed in anticipation of an early start for Umaganda Day, Rwanda’s monthly day of service.
For Umaganda Day, we headed out to Nyange at 6:30 am. After a bit of a drive, we arrived to find work on the trench for the water piping already well underway. We greeted the community, and immediately headed down into the valley to get to work. There were an estimated 200 people there, and we dug 417 feet of trench in just under an hour and a half. It was an incredible display of effective community organizing and the team left tired, but feeling fulfilled and privileged to have witnessed and participated in such an amazing event.
The sector leader, a woman named Gaudance, invited us to have lunch with her, along with the representatives of the military and police forces for the Nyange sector. At lunch, we learned more about Gaudance, who discussed her effort to lead by example, as shown by her pursuit of a PhD despite the obstacles she faces as a widow and mother.
Following lunch, we returned to Kigali, where Father Innocent took us to Question Coffee, a women-run coffee shop that trains female farmers on coffee agronomy techniques and business practices, increasing their yield and their incomes. While we were there, we were caught in a huge thunderstorm on Question Coffee’s covered outdoor patio. We had a great vantage point to see lightning and hear the thunder.
After a brief rain delay, the team returned to Centre Christus for a nap and dinner before the majority of the team left for Game 3 of the Rwandan Basketball National Championship. One of the teams is staying with us at Centre Christus, and we went to cheer them on to win their second game of the 7 game series.
This morning, the team started off strong with a morning of research and problem definition for the water project. We had lunch at a dance club called Fuschia, which had a very weird vibe in the middle of the day on a Sunday, but the food was good and it was a short walk from Centre Christus. Following lunch, we met with a young man named Eric, a mechanical engineer we met at the market who is looking to support his rural community. We introduced him to Father Innocent, and then left to do some work on the electrical components of the motorized cart.
We have pushed back the date when we will head out to community in order to accomodate delays on the cart project, so tomorrow we plan to continue our water project research and work on assembling the cart at Sunpreme. On Tuesday, we will head to Don Bosco and begin our work in the community.
A new vlog has been posted here! Stay tuned for more updates via vlog or email.
Murakoze (Thank you),
The EWB Travel team