This is Africa.
This was the first lesson we got from Professor Click as we began preparing for CAP Rwanda and it rings more and more true every day. “This is Africa” means that plans rarely hold, things run late, and schedules are guidelines, not deadlines, and it may be the biggest cultural obstacle we’ve faced.
It means that sometimes you spend four hours on a bus and a hike across a river, in your business clothes. It means that sometimes the first meeting runs an hour late so the second meeting runs two hours late and you get home three hours later than you ever thought you would. It means that it feels like your project changes every day as new data trickles in and, two days before its all due, the whole scope shifts right out from under you. It means you’re going to have some great stories, but it won’t be easy getting there.
We’ve been lucky enough to cross this country from Lake Kivu in the west to Akagera National Park in the east and we’ve learned a lot along the way. We’ve learned patience and to roll with the punches and that if you can stick out a marathon meeting that takes you up a mountain and into pig pens, you’ll be rewarded with free hot chili sauce.
There is of course always a silver lining, and the silver lining in Rwanda is Rwanda itself. This country is one of the single most beautiful places I have ever seen, from end to end. The bus drive may be four hours, but each turn is more breathtaking than the last and you know in your heart that pictures will never do it justice.
We’ve got a few days left in country and so much more to see and do but now it’s time to hunker down and get some real work done. Presentations are in two days and we’re fighting for every second we can get. And so, dear reader, I leave you here. See you stateside!