Happenings by Janet

Muraho,

Well, the weather is still beautiful (even if a bit too hot for my liking).   There are men along our road digging a ditch with shovels and pickaxes.  I asked what it was for and I was told it is for internet fiber optic wires.  Labor is inexpensive and abundant, so you see manual labor being performed everywhere.  The “official” unemployment rate is 3%, but I have also heard it is closer to 80- 90% in reality!  I still can’t get over the men carrying rocks, buckets of cement, and bags of gravel on their heads. Or for that matter the huge baskets of fruit, potatoes, etc. that the women carry.  Ouch!

Also, the amount of things that are carried on bicycles is ridiculously crazy as well!  It is impolite to take photos of people, but boy I wish I could!  Trying to get Drew to seek a few photos!  Can see the advantage of the iPhones with their picture taking app.  I think once we are back home it is time for an upgrade for me.

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The baby crane is growing and now looks a little out of proportion!  The parents are very attentive and take good care of it.  I read up a little and learned that while the eggs are incubating, the father sits on the nest during the day and the female incubates the eggs at night.  The young start to get plumage at 2-4 months, they stay with the parents 8-10 months, have adult plumage at 18 months, are fully mature at 2-3 years, and their lifespan is 20-40 years!

Last week there were heavy rains in the north, with landslides that destroyed houses and killed people (60+/-).  Very sad.  Soil erosion is a big problem here due to the farming up all the hillsides.  In addition, the rivers swelled and washed out roads and flooded bridges, so that for a few days travel was limited, since there is only one major paved road to each area of the country.  The 2.5 hour drive to Musanze was 4.5 since the way around the paved road was all dirt roads.

Ross is an unofficial College Graduate and has moved back to our place now that his program is over, much to Luke’s delight!  As soon as UNH receives his grades from his Rwanda program, they will release his diploma.  In the meantime he is volunteering at http://www.fhpuenterprise.org/programmes/pfhrwanda20/ Football for Hope.  He teaches English, coaches football, is helping to produce a promotional video, among other things!

Luke has finished his service project, building a playhouse for Kinamba Project (or Meg Foundation http://www.kinambaproject.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2 ) The boys (Luke, Leo, and Travis) will be delivering it in early June.  His school has a 20 hour service requirement per year.

And regarding service, Rwanda is a country in rebuilding mode.  It has been 22 years since the genocide, at which time most of the country consisted of villages and the infrastructure of the one city, Kigali was almost completely destroyed by the retreating forces.  They have come a long way.  Kigali is a thriving, growing city.  There is every charitable project you can imagine here from Heifer International and Give a Cow (the UK’s equivalent) to CARE.  Everything from agriculture to literacy help.  There are projects supported by countries from the US to Nigeria to Slovenia!  I am always seeing interesting project headquarters around the city.

One of the most fascinating energy projects is KivuWatt, which is generating electricity from the methane they are extracting form Lake Kivu.  They have 2 plants now up and running.  We saw the Kirongi operation when we went there.  The country wants to be self-sufficient in all areas, quite a challenge for a very tiny, highly populated, land-locked country!

How Rwanda Turned a Toxic Menace Into a Source of Power

That’s it for now!  Murabeho!

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